The latest shock quote from northwest Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (of “Jewish space laser” fame) is that “Democrats want Republicans dead, and they’ve already started the killings.” She cited two examples: a North Dakota drunk who ran over an 18 year-old after they had a political argument and he feared the kid was calling friends to attack him; and a Michigan resident who shot an 83 year-old female pro-life campaigner after they had a political argument in the resident’s home.
At least Greene cited evidence.
But that evidence is scant and requires huge leaps of logic. There’s no proof the driver and shooter were acting on behalf of the Democratic Party or any faction thereof. There’s no proof the driver and shooter were acting in concert or as part of any wider effort to kill Republicans.
Contrary to Greene, I’d argue that Democrats are more dedicated to the lasting health of Republicans than Republicans themselves. Through a combination of Medicaid expansion and government-subsidized private plans, the Affordable Care Act passed by Obama and augmented by Biden has secured healthcare coverage for an estimated 35 million people who didn’t have it before. You can’t tell me all those people are Democrats.
Even more Republicans would benefit from so-called Obamacare if eleven states governed by the party accepted the federal government’s generous terms for expanding Medicaid, but they continue to refuse. (Swing state Wisconsin has also refused Medicaid expansion.) And let’s not forget that the Republicans nearly killed Obamacare altogether in 2017. More recently, Republicans have discouraged their constituents from vaccinating against Covid-19, defying the recommendations of a Democratic administration and medical science. The result? Scientific American reported in July that “hospitalization and death rates, which are dramatically reduced by vaccines, remain higher in Republican-leaning parts of the country.”
For as long as I can remember, Republicans have campaigned on a fear-driven narrative along the lines of “black people bring crime, immigrants bring disease, and Democrats take their side instead of yours, along with the side of all the cultural, religious, economic, and sexual deviants who sneer at you.” Greene hasn’t changed the message, merely raised it to apocalyptic heights: the Democrats don’t just want to terrorize and humiliate you, they want to kill you.
Which dovetails with the widely-held sense among Trump’s constituents, many of them Christian evangelicals or nationalists conditioned since early youth to prepare for an ultimate battle between good and evil (with them being good, of course), that the cosmic showdown has arrived. Christian nationalists believe the faithful, i.e. they, are biblically ordained to run America. But how can they accomplish that in a democracy where they’re a minority? As the writer David French, himself an evangelical Christian, has noted, the trick is to transform political opponents into mortal enemies, a phenomenon he witnessed as a soldier in Iraq, and then make war on them. Them killing you is perfidious. You killing them is holy.
Greene and her allies are telling us what they plan to do once they’re in charge. Trump himself, at a Christian nationalist conference last June: “The greatest danger to America is not our enemies from the outside, as powerful as they may be. The greatest danger to America is the destruction of our nation from the people from within. And you know the people I’m talking about.” Yes we do. But I don’t think Democrats and left-of-center independents have fully come to grips with it, which is foolish, because there’s not much time to decide how to respond.