I spent the day watching the trial and reading 4chan, 8Kun, Gab, and other places. I wanted to know how this trial was playing in places where the insurrection was planned. Yes, I knew this well before the excellent presentation on this matter by House Managers. I even warned people before the 6th that we would see violence. So it was not surprising at all when it happened.

I wanted to see how the people in these places reacted to the trial.

There were a few common threads to the reaction. The first is that this trial is illegitimate. Proof, the president of the Senate is presiding, not the Supreme Court Justice. Yes, we know, this is a former president, not a sitting president. But for these people, this is good evidence that it is not a real trial.

If this sounds familiar, it should. This is exactly the argument many in the RNC have made. They have not gone as far as attacking the president of the Senate, but they tried to question its legitimacy the first day. Incidentally, this argument has been percolating at 4Chan since the impeachment. So it’s not something members of the Senate picked up by watching CNN or reading the New York Times. It’s been a feedback loop with this very theme with Breitbart and Fox News. It is almost like a dog chasing its tail.

But there was one particular point that resounded to me. This was that there would be even fewer votes in the Senate to convict. It started as the security tapes started to run. They thought it was a ridiculous argument. Even as they showed how close the insurrectionist came to several of their chosen targets.

Yes, there was also the fear that the Democrats were presenting such a strong case that Donald Trump would finally see some justice. And I know those people will be wrong because Republican Senators are not interested in anything but raw power. But at least some raised that question.

This talking point, which was ridiculous, bothered me, not because it wasn’t possible. We know how craven some Republicans are. It's just that somehow I expected this same statement to be made later in the day. This proved to me what I suspected, and others have observed. Senator Lindsey Graham made the exact same point that same night on Twitter.

This is what he posted on Twitter later that night and gave interviews on:

Lindsey Graham
@LindseyGrahamSC

The ‘Not Guilty’ vote is growing after today.

I think most Republicans found the presentation by the House Managers offensive and absurd.

I read variations of this all day in places that most people avoid with good reason. So I must ask. What is going on? How deep is the feedback loop between the monster the GOP created and the GOP? Mind you, if the insurrectionists had reached the Senator, I am convinced he would be dead.

Evidence for this is clear all over the map. Not just the postings in places like this where to this day they call members of the House and Senate part of the Deep State. They also think that these people, elected by we the people, have betrayed them.

Then there is his rushing for a plane with security at an airport, with people screaming at him. They called him a traitor. That should have been a what the hell moment, but apparently, he is beyond that.

So no, I do not believe that if the crowd reached Graham, they would have spared him. For that matter, I don’t think Josh Hawley or Ted Cruz would have fared better. And we now know what some of us suspected. The intent of the crowd, or at least some in the crowd, was to kill as many members of Congress as possible, no distinction about the party. We know from FBI affidavits, where one clearly said they wanted to get Congress in an enclosed space and gas them.

So this is as clear of murderous intent as you can get.

We have had circumstantial evidence throughout the Trump administration of this feedback loop. We also know that insurrection as a goal is not new:

While Cruz was one of the most vocal Texas allies in Trump’s call to overturn the presidential election results, he was far from alone. Republican leaders in Texas have fanned the flames of insurrection for years, adopting the kind of rhetoric and political stunts that cater to the most extreme elements of the state’s conservative base, peddling racism, xenophobia, bigotry, and delusional conspiracy theories.

In 2015, during his first year as governor, Greg Abbott established a penchant for catering to the most marginal fringes of his party’s base. In response to conspiracy theories that President Barack Obama was using a U.S. military exercise called Jade Helm 15 as cover for a federal takeover of several states, including Texas, Abbott mobilized the State Guard to monitor the situation. In doing so, Abbott gave credence to a conspiracy that hardly anyone took seriously, elevating it into a national affair–and Texas, once again, into a laughingstock.

The Jade Helm conspiracy also took form first in places like 4chan and at the time 8Chan. It moved to Breitbart and others in the far-right ecosystem, and finally to Fox. But the dynamic here was within hours.

We as a nation definitely need to face this. We have forces that want a revolution, they seek civil war, and they do not want to live with the rest of us. We are the enemy. Some Republicans have fueled this for a long time, and some of them are sitting in judgment right now.

This is the conversation that we all need to have. Because the election and now swearing-in of President Joe Biden has not stopped this. If anything, those spaces are far angrier and louder than they were before January 6.

I know people don’t want to hear it.

And as I did ask the Senator on his feed, because it is also relevant. Is he a regular poster at 4Chan? Is he Q? At this point I am positive at least some in his staff, if not the Senator himself, read the site to gauge the response of the base, the real base, of the Republican Party. I expect no answer. But we should all be aware of where they are getting their material from.

Let me explain something about Q.

Q started as a joke, based not on a Department of Energy clearance level, though there is some of that. It was a joke on Q, the Continuum, in Star Trek. Q could be anyone. It was a LARP and moved to /POL, where it was weaponized. So yes, Graham could be one of the many Qs. I doubt he is, but I am certain he or his staff read the site now. And to be brutally honest, at least one-third of the Republicans in the House and Senate likely do as well. They consider this radicalized group to be the true base of the party.

Hey, Marjorie Taylor Greene is even more toxic on Telegram than she is on Twitter. So there is that. And they are slowly moving to spaces like GAB and Telegram, the lot of them.

Historian by training. Former day to day reporter. Sometimes a geek who enjoys a good miniatures game.

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