Dear Domestic Terrorists, Please Spare My Home and Family When You Lose the Election

Sam Turnbaugh, Reporter

Is everyone who’s voting for Donald Trump a racist, gun-toting lunatic? Absolutely not, and don’t try to accuse me of making that suggestion. But are all of the racist gun-toting lunatics voting for Trump. Yes, yes they are.

“The only f****** way this country’s ever going to get turned around is it will be a bloodbath and it will be a nasty, messy motherf*****,” said Patrick Eugene Stein, one of the three white supremacist militiamen arrested in Kansas earlier this month on domestic terror charges after plotting to detonate a truck bomb at an apartment complex housing Somali immigrants in an attempt to start a religious war.

Stein’s self-styled “Crusaders” are just one small part of a sprawling network of far-right militant groups operating in the United States today. These include the sort of militias and “sovereign citizen” groups who participated in the siege of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon back in January. It also encompasses military-style groups like the Michigan Militia Corps and Oath Keepers, as well as armed neo-Nazi groups. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) lists 276 armed, radical militias in the US today. Just eight years ago there only 42.

For decades these extremists have been a worrisome but ultimately unobtrusive presence in this country. While high profile incidents like Waco, McVeigh’s Oklahoma City Bombing, and the Bundy Siege all serve as reminders of the frightening willingness and ability of these groups to carry out terrorist acts (since 2001 attacks by right-wing domestic terrorists have claimed more than twice as many American lives as jihadist violence) they’ve been mostly content to stay out of the limelight.

But in this contentious election, the extreme right has been emboldened as never before, and it appears increasingly likely that they will not respond peacefully to the outcome of the race.

“Remember, we are competing in a rigged election,” claimed Republican candidate Donald Trump as his poll numbers predictably tank in the run-up to what was always an inevitable defeat.

Trump has always been a fan of conspiracies; he was one of the most high-profile peddlers of the Obama birth certificate nonsense that followed the 2008 election. In 2014 he claimed that the CDC was hiding “the truth” about Ebola from the public. He’s bought into the idea that vaccines can cause autism. In the primary election he accused Texas senator Ted Cruz’s father of assassinating John F. Kennedy. After the death of 80 year old Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Trump suggested that he’d been murdered. He’s more recently claimed that the Iraqi offensive to retake Mosul from ISIS is being done to help his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. We can also hardly forget his classic line that global warming is a Chinese hoax.

Unfortunately, his supporters are far more terrifying. One of Trump’s most vocal conservative backers is Texas radio show host Alex Jones. Jones, who claims that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by the Bush Administration, has been dubbed “the most prolific conspiracy theorist in contemporary America” by the SPLC. Jones also believes that the mass shooting at Sandy Hook and the Boston Marathon bombings were staged by the government, that the US government is turning people gay, and that there is a New World Order which is being organized by the Jews.

Terrifyingly enough; people listen to the man. Important people. In 2015, Jones claimed that a US Army training exercise, called Jade Helm, was actually an attempt by the Obama administration to invade Texas.

Yes, Texas. The US state Texas, which is part of the country.

In any case, Jones got the attention of mobs of gun-toting conspiracy theorists who stepped forward to resist the “invasion”; the Governor of Texas Greg Abbott played along, ordering the Texas State Guard to “monitor” the exercise, and Senator Ted Cruz claimed he consulted the Department of Defense, saying: “I understand the reason for concern and uncertainty.”

In December, Trump went on Jones’ radio show, where he told him “I will not let you down.”

This kind of misinformation and simple delusion is dangerous to our nation, and the willingness of radical armed groups to act on these fictitious threats is worrisome in the extreme.

But back to the election rigging claims. I don’t need to worry if Trump’s going to stir up his supporters when he loses – they’re already there:

“On November 9th, if Trump loses, I’m grabbing my musket,” said former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh earlier this month.

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin also seemed to suggest that a civil war would follow a Clinton victory during a speech in September: “The roots of the tree of liberty are watered by what? The blood, of who? The tyrants to be sure, but who else? The patriots. Whose blood will be shed? It may be that of those in this room. It might be that of our children and grandchildren. I have nine children. It breaks my heart to think that it might be their blood that is needed to redeem something, to reclaim something, that we through our apathy and our indifference have given away.”

One quote recorded by a Boston Globe reporter at an Ohio Trump rally in early October reveals that this mindset isn’t uncommon: “If she’s in office, I hope we can start a coup. She should be in prison or shot. That’s how I feel about it. We’re going to have a revolution and take them out of office if that’s what it takes. There’s going to be a lot of bloodshed. But that’s what it’s going to take…I would do whatever I can for my country.”

Now look, there’s no war around the corner. As I said back at the beginning, these people represent a fringe minority, not the bulk of Republican voters. Unfortunately, a significant portion of that political fringe is armed and evidently ready to kill, and that’s something to worry about.

I, for one, wish the FBI the best of luck in its work over the next few months.