the right believes the US is threatened and is mobilizing

The messages are ominous.

“Pick a side, or YOU are next,” conservative talk show host Dan Bongino wrote on the Truth Social media platform in the wake of the 34 convictions for former President Donald Trump.

The answers were even more.

“Then, seriously now,” one user wrote in response to Bongino. “I see no way out of this mess without bloodshed. If you can rig elections and then weaponize the government and the courts against a former president, what other alternative is there? I am almost seventy and would rather die than live in tyranny.”

That’s a common version of how many people on the US right reacted to Trump’s verdict, building on a “mirror world” in which Trump is seen as the selfless martyr of powerful state forces and Joe Biden is the dangerous autocrat who uses the justice system as his owns property. own personal toy and a threat to American democracy.

Calls for revenge, retaliation and violence spread across the right-wing internet as soon as Trump’s guilty verdict came down, all based on the idea that the trial had been a sham designed to disrupt the 2024 election. Some posted online explicitly that it was time for hangings, executions and civil wars.

In this case, Trump was accused of falsifying documents related to a hush money payment to an adult film actor to keep an alleged affair out of the spotlight during the 2016 election — a form of election interference from a man whose platform has largely consists of blaming others for election interference. The verdict was followed by a response from his followers, those who for years chanted to jail Trump’s political opponents, such as Hillary Clinton.

On the left, the mood was downright celebratory, a brief moment of joy that Trump might finally be held accountable for his actions. But there was an undercurrent of concern among some liberals, who saw how these crimes could galvanize support for the former president.

On the right, in the alternate reality created by and for Trump and his supporters, the convictions are a sign of both doom and dogma — evidence that a corrupt faction is running Joe Biden’s administration, but that it can be ousted by Trump’s believers like themselves.

Trump’s allies in Congress want to use the federal government’s coffers to send Biden a message that the verdict crosses a line, saying the jury’s decision has “turned our justice system into a political cudgel.” Some Senate Republicans pledged not to work with Democratic priorities or nominees — essentially politicizing the government as a reward for what they claim is a politicization of the courts.

They repeated a claim that Trump himself has repeatedly brought to the attention of his followers: that his political opponents, namely Biden, pose a threat to democracy, a rebranding of the way Biden and Democrats often cast Trump. For his most ardent followers, the stakes of the 2024 election are existential, the idea that he could lose a cause for intense rhetoric and threats.

And for some, the convictions are yet another reason to take matters into their own hands, at a time when support for the use of violence to achieve political goals is increasing. Investigations show that the charges against Trump have fueled this support.

Some right-wing media and commentators, such as Bongino and the Gateway Pundit, showed on social media inverted flags, a sign of fear and a symbol among Trump supporters who recently made headlines for one flying into the home of US Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito after the attack. revolt.

The terms “banana republic” and “kangaroo court” flew around, as did memes comparing Biden to Nazi or fascist leaders. Telegram channels blazed with messages about how America’s end was being cemented — unless Trump wins again in November.

“If we jail Trump, get rid of Maga, end the Electoral College, ban voter ID, censor free speech, we will save democracy,” says a meme in a QAnon channel on Telegram depicting Biden in a Nazi uniform with a Hitler. Moustache.

Right-wing media heavyweight Tucker Carlson went apocalyptic: “Import the Third World, become the Third World. That’s what we just saw. This won’t stop Trump. He will win the election if he is not killed first. But it does mark the end of the fairest legal system in the world. Anyone who defends this verdict is a danger to you and your family.”

The former president’s supporters also opened their wallets and sent a “record-breaking” $34.8 million in small-dollar donations to Trump’s campaign on Thursday, the Trump campaign claimed.

The huge blow came after Trump declared himself a ‘political prisoner’ (he is not in prison) and declared justice in the US ‘dead’ in a terrible fundraising campaign.

“Their sick and twisted goal is simple: to twist the justice system against me so much that proud supporters like YOU will SPIT when you hear my name,” Trump’s campaign wrote. “BUT THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN! NOW IT’S TIME FOR ME AND YOU TO PUSH IT BACK INTO THEIR CORRUPT FACES!”

The real judgment, Trump wrote in Truth Social, would come on November 5. Messages calling November 5 a new “independence day” and comparing 2024 to 1776 – but a revolution not against the British, but among Americans for control of the country – spread widely.

Disinformation and rumors also spread, with the potential that these rumors could lead to further action by Republicans to avenge Trump.

In one viral claim, people say it’s not clear what crimes Trump even committed (the document falsification charges are detailed in the indictment and have been broken down piece by piece by the media). Another post alleges that the judge gave incorrect instructions to the jury before deliberations, which an Associated Press fact check found to be incorrect.

Suggestions that the conviction was an ‘op’ or a ‘psyop’ – meaning a planned manipulation, a common refrain among the far right when something big happens – also spread.

There was soon talk of what Maga would have to do to stand up for Trump, and how fans of the verdict, and Democrats in general, would regret seeking accountability in court.

“This will be the biggest political backfire in US history,” wrote conservative report Catturd on Truth Social. “I feel a huge seismic shift in the air.”

Kash Patel, a former Trump administration aide and ally, suggested one path forward: Congress should subpoena Merchan’s daughter’s banking records, he said. The daughter became a frequent target during the trial; she worked as a Democratic consultant and has raised money for Democratic politicians. Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance called for a criminal investigation into Merchan, and possibly his daughter, who Vance said “clearly benefited from Merchan’s biased statements.”

Patel also said that prosecutor Alvin Bragg should be subpoenaed for any documents related to meetings with the Biden administration. “In the event that you need jurisdiction – Bragg’s office receives federal funds from the DOJ to ‘administer justice’ – GO FOR IT,” he wrote.

Megyn Kelly said Bragg should be suspended, without giving a reason as to what would justify it.

Some Trump allies tried to bring calm amid the vitriol, saying they knew the verdict would come because the trial was rigged, and that people should stay focused on victory in November.

Steve Bannon, who is himself facing some time in prison for criminal contempt, said immediately after the verdict was handed down that it would “not hurt President Trump at all.”

‘It’s time to collect yourself and say: yes, we saw what happened. We have seen how they run the tables in this crooked process. But you have to say, hey, I’m more determined than ever to make things right.”

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