Who Really Supports Law and Order
Traditionally, Republicans have been seen as the “law and order” party. Trump especially is fond of accusing Democrats and his political enemies of seeking to ruin America by eroding the rule of law and inciting political violence. The truth is that opposition to law and order and threats of political violence are more likely to come from the right than the left.
Trump himself—and those Republican leaders who follow his lead—is largely to blame for this shift. Republican voters are responding to his constant attacks on the opposition and claims of corruption. Look no further than the 2020 election, when Trump supporters forced a voting machine executive into hiding through abuse and threats on social media, while a full third of surveyed election workers claimed to feel unsafe amidst threats made against them.
Just a few weeks ago, the FBI raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in execution of a legal warrant to search for classified materials being illegally held by the former president. The federal agents found and collected several boxes of materials that were “highly sensitive.” But Trump defended himself with incendiary comments invoking siege, and Republicans piled on to accuse the Justice Department of being weaponized against Trump. Once again, their Republican audience responded: references to civil war spiked on social media, along with calls for violence against law enforcement. Some did more than call—a self-identified Trump supporter attacked an FBI office in Ohio with firearms in August, after posting about his desire for revenge for the Mar-a-Lago search on social media.
Rising political violence is an almost inevitable outcome of proliferating disinformation and Republican subtle and explicit calls of corruption. Innocent election administrators and now law enforcement agents are being threatened for doing their jobs. The FBI agents at Mar-a-Lago were acting with permission from a duly appointed judge, who felt there was probable cause to issue a search warrant. If someone is reasonably suspected of breaking the law, shouldn’t they be investigated appropriately? Republicans cannot claim to be the “law and order” party if they only support the rule of law when it suits them.
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