If a violent riot intended to keep a president in power weren’t enough, there have been plenty of other instances since Jan. 6 offering evidence of Republicans’ historic anti-democratic assault on the country.
On Sunday, Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., added to the list of examples when he tweeted a video calling on “American Christians” to “stand against tyranny” and join a battle for “God’s inherent truths that predate any version of government.” The video featured remarks he made last month at the North Carolina Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Salt & Light Conference.
Cawthorn is a Trump loyalist who has repeatedly targeted Democrats with violent language. He spoke at the Jan. 6 pro-Trump rally shortly before some attendees attacked the U.S. Capitol. At that event, he falsely claimed that Democrats were engaged in “fraud” to win the 2020 election. In August, he said there would be “bloodshed” over any future elections that Republicans claim were rigged.
Cawthorn’s dangerous rhetoric signals the urgency of a party that is misaligned with the will of most Americans — and willing to court autocrats such as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Last month, the Hungarian state news agency reported that the American Conservative Union’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference would be held in Budapest next year.
The Republican Party, having lost the popular vote over the last four presidential elections, has embraced outright authoritarianism to achieve the conservative society of its dreams.
And we should take seriously the risk that it and its followers can pose.
A survey conducted last year by YouGov found that a majority of Republicans believe “the traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it.” And nearly 4 in 10 Republicans support taking violent action against elected leaders who “fail” to defend the country, according to a poll published this year by the Survey Center on American Life.
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