Hopefully, as a country, we’ll return to a time in our politics when violent language is shocking and rare. But this year, when the man at the top of the Republican ticket has repeatedly encouraged his supporters to revolt if he loses, isn’t likely to be that time.
On Wednesday, former GOP Congressman Joe Walsh, a right-wing extremist who now hosts a talk radio show, followed his nominee’s lead and told urged his Twitter followers to grab their guns on Nov. 9 if Hillary Clinton is elected.
On November 8th, I’m voting for Trump.
On November 9th, if Trump loses, I’m grabbing my musket.
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) October 26, 2016
This type of language from someone who used to be – and thankfully no longer is – a member of the United States Congress is abhorrent, but it’s also to be expected in the Trump era of American politics.
After all, not long ago Trump himself instructed his supporters to revolt if Clinton decides to fulfill her constitutional duty and nominate Supreme Court judges.
“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” the Republican nominee said. “Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know.”
More recently, Trump said that he’d like to see what happens if Clinton’s bodyguards were disarmed.
“I think her bodyguards should drop all weapons. Disarm immediately,” he said. “Take their guns away, let’s see what happens to her.”
Not only does Walsh’s rhetoric align perfectly with what Trump has suggested at various points throughout this campaign, but it’s also a continuation of dangerous language that the former Republican congressman seems to enjoy using.
Earlier in the year, when five police officers were gunned down in Dallas, Walsh blamed President Obama, tweeting: “This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you.”
Before Trump hit the scene, this type of rhetoric existed, but it often only came from the most extreme elements in either party. Now it has the encouragement of a major party presidential nominee.
On Nov. 9, we shouldn’t hope that people take up arms to protest the results of the election. We should hope that when Trump loses, he’ll take a lot of this dangerous rhetoric with him.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.