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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Paranoia on the Upswing

In October, Mother Jones reported on the creation of a popular, massive multiplayer game, in which conservatives launch a revolution in reaction to an attempt by the Obama government to merge the United States with Mexico and Canada to form a North American Union:

In the game’s scenario, 20 million armed American “patriots” begin seizing local and federal government offices. These are the same people whose earlier Tea Party protests had been ignored and dismissed by the mainstream media. Now, they post bounties for government employees. There’s fighting in every state.

The makers call the game, “2011 — Obama’s Coup Fails” but they are careful to describe the project as an act of satire and fiction.
Unfortunately, far too many Republicans believe the coup already happened:

PPP’s newest national survey finds that a 52% majority of GOP voters nationally think that ACORN stole the Presidential election for Barack Obama last year, with only 27% granting that he won it legitimately […] Belief in the ACORN conspiracy theory is even higher among GOP partisans than the birther one, which only 42% of Republicans expressed agreement with on our national survey in September.

Writing at TAPPED, Adam Serwer has the perhaps the sanest bit of analysis one can offer about this trend:

The 2008 electorate was the most diverse ever–for some people, that is disenfranchisement by definition, since that means America is being increasingly populated by people who aren’t “real Americans.” Even if ACORN didn’t steal the election, those people did, and so whether ACORN literally stole the election matters about as much as literal “death panels”. It’s “true enough.” Hoffman workers in NY-23 mistook one of their own African-American volunteers for a member of ACORN, which wasn’t even active in the district.
None of this new far right mythology actually has to make sense. As long as the frayed pieces of the puzzle can be assembled in a manner that allows this part of the right to preserve in their minds the idea that they are the authentic representation of what it means to be American, any explanation will do.

The central problem, of course, with this entire line of thinking is that it might motivate some unsettled individual to take matters into his own hands.
Another popular trend among the conservative fringe? The slogan: “Pray for Obama—Psalm 109:8” That particular psalm reads, “Let his days be few; and let another take his office.” Some have launched a small industry selling t-shirts and bumper stickers which display the message. And of course, this comes just six weeks after Facebook had to take down a poll which asked members if they wanted to see President Obama assassinated.
Even if this upswing of anger against the government doesn’t put his life in danger, it runs the risk of calling into question the legitimacy of Barack Obama’s presidency. It bolsters the arguments of those who believe that the liberty of ‘real Americans’ is somehow threatened by his presence in the White House.
That’s an idea we must work to reject. It isn’t just offensive; it’s dangerous.

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