At least there's no doubt about the assassin's motivation
The Bernie Sanders supporter who attempted to murder a dozen or so Republican senators and congressmen yesterday at least did us one favor. He left us no possible doubt about his motivation. In a March 12 post on his Facebook page, he wrote, "Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It's Time To Destroy Trump & Co."
Now, it must be admitted that his reasoning isn't actually all that bad. If the president really is a traitor, and if he is literally destroying our democracy, then it's not unreasonable to think violent action might be warranted. So his inference isn't really what's crazy here. It's, rather, the ideas from which he derived it that are the problem.
So where did he get these crazy ideas? Well, let's see. Here's a March 7 Newsweek headline from a piece by President Clinton's secretary of labor, Robert Reich: "Is Trump a Traitor or a Paranoid?" Former MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann, Democratic propagandist Michael Moore, and venerable Democratic wise man Bill Moyers have all explicitly called the president a traitor. Of course, the list of Democrat celebrities and politicians who have accused the president of serving Russian interests without necessarily using the word "traitor" would be very long, indeed. To take one instance, Rachel Maddow has been beating the Russian conspiracy drum incessantly on her MSNBC show for a while now.
With regard to Hodgkinson's second premise, Bill Moyers also ran a piece on his website headlined "Farewell America," in which the president is accused of destroying our democracy. The venerable Atlantic Monthly and Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland have both made the same accusation. And, once again, the list of Democrat celebrities and politicians who have in one way or another explicitly accused the president of destroying American democracy would be long, indeed.
We even know that the assassin held such people in high esteem and paid great attention to their pronouncements. In a series of letters to the editor of the Belleville News-Democrat, he said, "The best book I've read in a while is 'Aftershock' by Robert B. Reich." In another letter, he said, "One of my favorite TV shows is 'The Rachel Maddow Show.'"
So we have at least one thing for which to be grateful. There can be no real debate about where exactly James Hodgkinson got the ideas that made trying to assassinate a dozen Republican politicians seem not totally unreasonable. He got them from perfectly mainstream political and intellectual leaders of the Democratic Party. For the past half-year, they've been cynically trying to undermine President Trump, raise money, and motivate their base by peddling the most extreme fantasies about the president's relations with Russia and his threat to American democracy. Anyone with half a brain knew all along that it was only a matter of time before someone started taking their manipulative nonsense seriously, as well as the horrific results.
We can thank the courageous and timely police response for averting a massacre. But there's no doubt that we can also thank Democratic Party leaders and their media enablers for the attempt. James Hodgkinson has, at least, done us the favor of making that much clear.