New Mexico shooting suspect reveals Republicans are seeking a violent solution to the denial

Reporting on the arrest of failed GOP candidate Solomon Peña for allegedly staging a conspiracy to shoot the homes of various elected Democrats has consistently highlighted a key detail: his claims of being the “real” winner of the House District 14 race in New Mexico , it’s ridiculous that it’s hard not to laugh. At least since Donald Trump’s big lie about the 2020 election, it’s been assumed that election deniers would at least try to make their claims a little plausible by just screaming “cheating” in relatively close elections. For example, failed Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake continues to declare herself the “true” winner of an election she lost by less than a percentage point last round. Peña, on the other hand, lost his candidacy for the New Mexico House of Representatives in the deep blue city of Albuquerque to Democrat Miguel Garcia by over 47 percentage points and received only 26.4% of the vote.

Before he allegedly paid people to drive stolen cars to shoot at the homes of four Democratic officials, It was reported that Peña hassled various officials and insisted that he was the true winner of the race. Chilling video from the doorbell cam from Former Bernalillo detective Debbie O’Malley, whose house was later the target of a shooting attempt, shows an agitated Peña outside her door and demands a conversation about his delusions.


Want more Amanda Marcotte on politics? Subscribe to their Standing Room Only newsletter.


The default attitude to this is undeniable: This is the natural result of Trump’s big lie. “What we’re seeing now is the results of the way Donald Trump opened the door,” Lindsay Schubiner, director of programs at the Western States Center, told Vox. The conspiracy theories that led to January 6th persist, and with them the political violence that inspires them.

“Conservatives increasingly feel encouraged to convince themselves that it is impossible to honestly reject them or their ideas. Instead, they respond to the word ‘no’ like a stalker ex-boyfriend, as permission to use coercive tactics.”

But in another sense, the root cause of such political violence lies deeper. Peña’s alleged conspiracy is the latest manifestation of a deeper and spreading malady affecting Republicans across the country: a refusal to accept that their political views are simply unpopular. When confronted with evidence that they and their ideas are being rejected rather than reforming them, or at least trying to reformulate their ideas, Republicans often turn to conspiracy theories about sinister forces working against them. In the right imagination, the problem could never be that people heard their ideas and decided they just didn’t like them. Blame is instead placed on “bright” educators or Hollywood manipulators who “brainwash” the masses. The “deep state,” meanwhile, is allegedly stealing elections. And the “globalists” (read: Jews) somehow pull all the strings.

This week, Atlantic’s Kaitlyn Tiffany reported on one of the funnier headaches Tesla CEO Elon Musk invited into his life by buying Twitter to cater to the far-right: conservative users who insist dark forces are exercising their god-given right to plenty suppress more followers. Before Musk’s takeover, conservatives routinely insisted that their failure to make tweets viral must be due to “shadowbanning,” a mostly imaginary practice by social media companies that reduces a tweet’s weight in an algorithm to create a toxic view to hide. Musk promised that he would stop the “shadowbanning” — which is easy enough since it’s not really a thing — but conservative Twitter users, of course, still maintain that their low engagement rates must be due to these alleged shadowbans. Tiffany writes:

Musk recently added “View” counters at the bottom of tweets, presumably with the intention of arming users with data and giving them a better insight into whether others are actually seeing their tweets and just not liking them. This effort appeared Mostly to piss people off: the numbers were smaller than expected, which served as further evidence of shadowbanning.

What else will they do? Admit that most people just don’t like them? They will no more admit that than Trump will admit to losing the 2020 election. Instead, a conspiracy theory is plugged in to explain how unpopular right-wing accounts are actually loved by the masses.


Want more Amanda Marcotte on politics? Subscribe to their Standing Room Only newsletter.


Watching Twitter users like “Catturd” whine that without the “shadow ban” they would get more retweets is funny. Less so is this article from the New York Post about reactionary parents who have become estranged from their children and choose to blame “woke brainwashing” rather than their own bad choices. The Post, a right-wing paper, is utterly gullible to stories of parents trying to hire “deprogrammers” to fix their supposedly brainwashed children.

“While Peña took it to near-lethal levels, the basic premise he operated under is rife on the right.”

“I’ve had fights with some of my girls just because I didn’t want to get a Rainbow Pride Starbucks Cup,” one woman who unconvincingly claims to be “a Democrat and a Liberal” told the Post. One child hasn’t spoken to her in four years and the other in a year, which she attributes not to her actions but to the children being “politically correct.”

Another woman claims her daughter left her “because we’re conservatives and we should all be against men.”

If you’re skeptical about getting the full story from these women, you should be – their children weren’t interviewed. (The Post says they reached out to two but received no response, which likely isn’t a sign of “brainwashing awakened” but rather frustration at an overbearing mother turning a Rupert Murdoch-owned organization against her.) Both Women tacitly admit their daughters are lesbians while insisting that homophobia is not the focus of the fight, leading one to assume that the Starbucks trophy fight wasn’t actually about a Starbucks trophy.

Trump’s narcissism is no longer just his individual psychological damage, but the systematic structure of the GOP.

In fact, the article glowingly quotes self-proclaimed “deprogrammer” Ted Patrick: “You’ve got to get these kids on your own. I kidnapped people from Yale.” The article fails to mention that another word for “snatch” is “kidnap,” or that Patrick and his clients have a long history of legal battles stemming from them using adults against their abducted wills in order to “cure” them of behaviors such as Sexual intercourse or joining more liberal churches than her parents would have liked. He has served time in prison for this crime.


Want more Amanda Marcotte on politics? Subscribe to their Standing Room Only newsletter.


As tempting as it is to write these two off as truly deluded outliers, the truth is that the New York Post published this article because they thought many readers would see sympathetic victims of “Awakening” where the rest of us are narcissistic bullies sees. It shows that while Peña took it to near-lethal levels, the basic premise he operated under is rife on the right. Conservatives are increasingly encouraged to convince themselves that it is impossible to honestly reject them or their ideas. Instead, they respond to the word “no” like a stalker ex-boyfriend, as permission to use coercive tactics.

Of course, people who refuse to take “no” for an answer have always been a problem. But in the Trump era, this toxic behavior is being validated and established as standard Republican practice. Trump’s narcissism is no longer just his individual psychological damage, but the systematic structure of the GOP.

Of course, it’s a comforting myth to believe that your failure to persuade others is not your fault, but shadowy conspiracies. But the danger is that, as the chilling “deprogramming” rhetoric shows, such belief eventually justifies the use of force where persuasion fails. Because of this, Peña’s alleged crimes cannot be dismissed as runaway violence. It is simply the logical conclusion of the increasingly mainstream Republican view that conservatism can never fail, only fail.

Continue reading

Amanda Marcotte on GOP delusions and Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter

Source