Far-right candidates and elected officials have become increasingly comfortable calling for violence.
Last November, Republican congresswoman and prominent conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia told white nationalist podcast host Steve Bannon that, "the only way you get freedom back after you've lost it is with the price of blood." The month after that, Republican Congressman Madison Cawthorn told an undercover reporter that the United States is heading toward "Second Amendment solutions." Far-right candidate for Northampton County executive, Steve Lynch of Pennsylvania, vowed to round up "twenty strong men" to intimidate school board officials into resigning.
One recurring theme in Republicans' calls for violence is a claim that the Second Amendment was written to protect Americans from a tyrannical government, the implication that any action Republicans deem as tyrannical justifies violent actions.
As recently as two weeks ago, Greene yet again floated violence, citing the Second Amendment, saying that, "It's our Second Amendment rights, our right to bear arms, that protects Americans and gives us the ability to defend ourselves from a tyrannical government, and I hate to use this language, but Democrats ... they're doing exactly what our Founders talked about when they gave us the precious rights that we have."
Now, these calls for violence have trickled down to local elections, with comments by GOP state Senate candidate Mike Detmer of Michigan being the latest example.
Promoting fantasies that the 2020 election was stolen, Detmer recently told supporters:
"The Second Amendment isn't there for hunting rights. It's not there for self defense. The Second Amendment is there, the founders put it there, to protect all the others. And it says to the government the people have the right to stop what's going on. ... The ideal thing is to do this peacefully, that's ideal, but the American people at some point in time, if we can't change the tide, which I think we can, need to be prepared to lock and load. So you ask what can we do? Show up armed."
Detmer, who is endorsed by former President Donald Trump, also called on supporters to unplug voting machines if they saw anything suspicious.
He remains unrepentant, relishing the backlash against his comments.
When Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel warned against "the use of firearms to intimidate voters," Detmer responded with "MOLAN LABE!" a favorite slogan of gun rights advocates that loosely translates to "come and take them."
Nessel wasn't the only one to condemn Detmer's rhetoric.
They didn't take kindly to Detmer's double-down either.
It remains to be seen if the GOP will denounce his comments.