The deplorables are real. The deplorables are dangerous.
Because I have written critically about Trump, I have received innumerable death threats, sometimes just general invocations that I should die, sometimes more specific threats that I should be shot or “lynched,” as one Trump fan wrote. I have been called “kike,” “Jew” and “anti-American Zionist,” even though I’m Episcopalian with a Jewish father (as if that makes a difference). I have received video cartoons that look like they are from Nazi Germany of hook-nosed men dressed in Jewish garb rubbing their hands greedily over piles of money. I have been told to go back where I came from, whatever that means. I have been called “fag,” “pedo,” and once—in an email that made no sense—“nigger-lover.” One Trump fan mentioned he knew which schools my children attended, and correctly named them. Topping it off, some Trump fans have even gone after one of my sons online, although he knew enough to immediately block them.
My family has been through this before—it is sometimes a consequence of writing about controversial topics—but this is the first time we have discussed whether I should continue investigating an issue. All of them agreed I should stay on this story— since Trump won’t release much information about himself, digging up everything that can be found before the election is important for the country. But why is this even a discussion? We do not live in a third-world nation where journalists who report unpleasant realities are in danger. While I believe that most of these threats—except for Mike’s—are from internet blowhards, why does my family even have to wonder about this? And why am I convinced that, just by writing this article, Mike will get lots of new Twitter followers and praise from profoundly evil people?
I am far from the only journalist exposed to the bottom-feeders among Trump supporters who traffic in violence, threats, racism and anti-Semitism. In a tweet, Charles Blow, an African-American columnist for The New York Times who has been harshly critical of Trump both in the newspaper and on television, told me he is bombarded with racist fury through email. Katie Tur of NBC reported in an article in Marie Claire that she had to be escorted out of a Trump rally in December by Secret Service to protect her from raging Trump supporters who had sicced on her by their candidate. She was also the primary subject of a death threat two weeks later on Twitter.
“MAYBE A FEW JOURNALISTS DO NEED TO BE WHACKED,” the tweet from someone with the handle GuyScott33 read. “MAYBE THEN THEYD STOP BEI[N]G BIASED HACKS. KILL EM ALL STARTING W/ KATY TUR.”
There are more. According to The Daily Beast, Bethany Mandel, a conservative essayist who has written about her opposition to Trump, had been so violently attacked on social media that she felt compelled to purchase a gun for protection. Jeffrey Goldberg, national correspondent for The Atlantic, received an email telling him he would be sent to “a camp” when Trump wins. After she published an article in GQ about Melania Trump, Julia Ioffe, a Jewish journalist, received death threats by phone and email, and tweets showing vile images such as an anti-Semitic caricature of a Jewish man on his knees being shot in the back of the head; she filed a police report. Jonathan Weisman, deputy Washington editor of The New York Times, tweeted a link to a Washington Post opinion piece that was harshly critical of the Trump phenomenon. The vicious attacks on Weisman, who is Jewish, came quickly.
“Get used to it you fucking kike,’’ tweeted one of the deplorables who goes by the handle “deplorable basket weave.” “You people will be made to pay for the violence and fraud you've committed against us.”
There is more in the article, much more, and I encourage all of you read it.
Of course we here at IM have already seen this before, in fact it's a little like deja vu.
However back then it was Sarah Palin supporters, and they were threatening to shoot yours truly in the face at the school where I was working at the time.
I, like many others back then, also received threatening emails, in all caps of course, threatening my life and calling me every name in the book. (My favorite remains one which called me a "Faggot Nazi Nigger" a combination of insults so bizarrely incongruous that it almost hurts your head to read it.)
So yes we, including the President, have identified the link between Sarah Palin and GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.
And what we are learning is that the crazed fringe that were awakened during the 2008 campaign, and who helped found the incredibly disruptive and destructive Tea Party movement, have now circled their inflamed wagons around this new agent of anarchy.
And as his campaign starts to slowly disintegrate are now lashing out much as they did in 2008 and 2009 when the media, and certain bloggers, pointed out the deep flaws in a certain ignorant half term governor from the wilds of Wasilla.
The only question remaining is what happens to them once the Trump campaign flames long before ever reaching the doors of the White House?
That is a question that I am not sure I want answered.