The Age of the MAGA Martyr Is Here

Those of us who warned that violent talk on the MAGA right would lead to violent action have seen our predictions come true, in a slowly unfolding nightmare we seem powerless to stop. The most dangerous moment for the nation up to this point was, of course, the January 6 putsch. A putsch is an unsuccessful coup, but the MAGA-tized Republican Party has successfully shielded Donald Trump, so far, from any consequences for his instigation of this worst of moments in American history, which many of us have further warned would lead inevitably to another attempt, quite possibly successful this time, to overthrow America’s democratic form of government. They also told contradictory lies about the events of that terrible day and did their utmost to block a Congressional investigation into it, to the extent of now threatening consequences for the representatives who did end up joining the January 6 Select Committee.

Now that Trump himself is facing consequences, in the form of an FBI raid on his mansion, the entire MAGA right, including what can only be called the Republican Party establishment, has let loose a torrent of hysterical and violent rhetoric that has already led to bloodshed, as a far-right gunman named Ricky Shiffer attacked an FBI field office in Cincinnati today only to lose his own life.

We have already seen, in the case of the January 6 putsch, MAGA politicians and media figures attempt to turn the single rioter who got herself killed, Ashli Babbitt, into a martyr. The Nazis did this with one of their stormtroopers, who was killed in a street brawl in the 1920s. We cannot be surprised if the MAGAs do the same with Shiffer. It would be far preferable, from the standpoint of maintaining civil peace, for them to perform their usual bad-faith maneuver of disavowing the violence they themselves incited. If instead Trump sings the praises of this thug, the usual bloviating figures are allowed to rant on Fox News about Shiffer being “executed without a trial,” and the likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene shift from calling to defund the FBI to calling to assassinate its agents, then matters are going to escalate very quickly.

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