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The Violence Will Spike After He Loses

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 05: U.S. President Donald Trump gestures on the Truman Balcony after returning to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on October 05, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trum... WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 05: U.S. President Donald Trump gestures on the Truman Balcony after returning to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on October 05, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump spent three days hospitalized for coronavirus. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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October 9, 2020 9:17 a.m.

President Trump didn’t create rightist paramilitary violence in this country or the far broader revanchist politics of which it is only a part. His political rise grew out of both. It is a symptom, a result, a flourishing. But he has greatly expanded them, legitimized them, allowed them to imagine – quite rationally seeing the last four years – that they can vie for actual power in United States rather than simply commit acts of exemplary violence on the margins. Michigan has long been a hotbed of militia type activity. But President Trump, the national GOP and particularly the Michigan GOP have encouraged and cheered on balaclava-clad gunmen swarming the state capitol, threatening state lawmakers and perpetuating the idea that Governor Whitmer’s emergency public health measures constituted some existential threat to popular liberties.

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