The Republican Party is being urged to purge itself of its extremist base. The attack last Friday on Democratic speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s husband may have been shocking, but it was not an aberration, an expert historian has warned.
Matthew Dallek, a George Washington University historian, warned that the assault on Paul Pelosi is linked to the wider erosion of democratic norms in the United States. This includes the acceptance of extremism by conservatives and the Republican Party.
Experts are warning that until political leaders purge extremist voices from their parties, violence will continue to repeat itself.
“Until the acceptance of fringe ideas and extremist language and individuals becomes politically costly, and until a set of cultural democratic norms – including the peaceful transfer of power and a healthy tolerance for ideological differences – are restored, we can expect those inspiring political warfare to gain rhetorical strength,” Dallek warned.
The Republican Party has made many changes over the years, but the biggest is that it is now tolerating and integrating conspiracy theories and extremism into its governing coalition, historians and experts found.
This has actively reversed the stances of the party’s previous leaders who may have courted voters who held these views but did not include them in any kind of space on their platform.
“We may be entering an even uglier phase in which assaults on lawmakers and their families become routine, and the ‘apostles’ of violence and bigotry gain power,” Dallek said.
Another historian, Joshua Zeitz, published a similar warning about the trajectory of American political violence. He compared the current period to the 1850s, when the U.S. faced a wave of bombings and threats.
Former president Donald Trump turned up on conservative personality Chris Stigall’s podcast today to spread conspiracy theories about the attack on Paul Pelosi.
He was not alone in spreading conspiracy theories about the attack.
“Bail him out and then go ask him some questions,” conservative radio and YouTube host Charlie Kirk said of Pelosi’s alleged assailant David DePape. He added that whatever “amazing patriot” did so would become a “midterm hero.”
In a Sunday appearance on the network, Fox News contributor David Webb implied unknown motives behind the attack but cited no evidence. “Look for what’s missing and what doesn’t add up,” he said.
Then there’s Elon Musk, the world’s richest man and, as of Thursday, the owner of Twitter. After Hillary Clinton condemned the attack in a tweet, Musk replied to her, saying “There is a tiny possibility there might be more to this story than meets the eye.”
He later deleted his own comment.
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