"Stop the Steal" Republicans Are the New Anarchists

slate.com
5 min read
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In Georgia's runoffs and across the country, the radicals are on the right.
Republicans have a standard recipe for winning elections: They preach law and order, and they smear their opponents as anarchists. That message worked for them in 2020, and it's central to their final push of the year: the campaign to hold Georgia's two U.S. Senate seats, which, in a runoff election on Jan. 5, will determine control of the upper chamber. But President Donald Trump's defeat, and the refusal of his supporters to accept that result, have turned the Republican narrative on its head. The anarchists aren't on the left anymore. They're on the right.

The new anarchists don't smash windows or loot stores. They scream "Stop the Steal." Hundreds of them gathered in Atlanta on Saturday to demand the overthrow of the incoming Joe Biden administration. They claimed that Trump won Georgia (he didn't) and that Democrats, by "stealing in every way you can imagine"—fabricating ballots, impersonating voters, digitally manipulating the tally—had rigged the outcome. (All these fantasies have been debunked.) They threatened to purge the state's "traitor" Republicans—Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger—for refusing to triple-investigate and block certification of the results.

The new anarchists pretend to support law enforcement. But when the law doesn't go their way, they threaten violence. "Victory or death!" the crowd in Atlanta chanted. One speaker at the rally vowed to "fight for Donald Trump until our last dying breath." Another warned, "If they seat an illegitimate government, we'll remove them." A third said Trump would stay in power because "the Deep State doesn't have the military on their side." When police asked the rally's leaders to finish up and end the event—after letting them rant for two hours without a permit—a speaker shouted at the cops: "We backed the blue. Thank you for nothing!"

Trump and his cronies have been sowing lawlessness in Georgia since the beginning of the year.

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