In the wake of the apparent attempted bombings of multiple Democrats, the spin by many pro-Republican pundits has been that it is possible and even likely that the packages were sent by Democrats themselves.
This is possible. It is also highly improbable.
I have seen reminders of incidents of Democrats claiming false attacks, often racially motivated, to gain notoriety. While those are absolutely true and despicable, they are also not unique to the Democrats… as the woman who carved a “B” into her cheek and claimed a black Barack Obama supporter had done it could attest. The false allegations are presented, however, as purely a Democrat activity and extrapolated as plausible here.
The reason false attacks are famous is because they are exposed. With the full resources of the government – a government run by the Republicans at the moment – being used to seek out the perpetrators of the attempted bombings, it would be the height of stupidity to send not one but nearly a dozen – possibly more – packages to prominent individuals, particularly if they were not going to explode. That’s a lot of evidence available that can be traced back to people committing felonies with long prison terms attached. If they were going to explode, they risk injuring people… which would extend those prison terms. Exposure of the false attacks would be politically devastating to their party even as the people who initiated them were facing long sentences. And while the potential negatives would be immense, the potential positives would be exposure of Trump as a divisive, inflammatory figure and the Republicans as potentially violent… things that many voters already believe.
To believe that this is a Democrat plot you have to believe that the wealthiest and most influential Democrats would risk decades of prison time and electoral devastation in exchange for almost no concrete benefit. That seems like an idiotic belief.
All of this is predicated on a conspiracy-style situation, though; what about a single actor? Again, most of the same criteria apply. This is at least a little more reasonable; a single person who doesn’t view themselves as particularly important is far more likely to strive for attention and “sacrifice” themselves for their party while simultaneously not being thoughtful enough to consider the long-range results. But the issue of potential danger to the recipients remains, and it’s difficult to see someone who would engage in the type of idol worship required to sacrifice themselves for a political party as willing to risk murdering the most prominent members of that party.
That said, there is one caveat that must be considered: a faction. It’s plausible that someone deep in the “Berner” wing of the Democrats would want to kill a number of the establishment Democrats who they saw as being in the way. The risk still seems ridiculously high for a faction of the party which is gaining influence anyway.
That covers a plot (virtually impossible) a lone pro-Democrat actor (extremely unlikely) and a lone Democrat “splitter” (very unlikely, but the most plausible of the three.)
I have also seen people condemning the press for claiming that Trump has been attacking Democrats. The press is saying this… because he has been attacking Democrats. Not only has he been doing so, he’s been repeatedly cheered for it and the other Republicans are following his lead. He’s praised a Congressman for body-slamming a foreign reporter. Ted Cruz, previously a die-hard Constitutionalist, is now even following his lead and joking that Beto O’Rourke, his Democrat rival, should be locked up for the crime of, apparently, running against him.
There is, as yet, no concrete evidence about who has done this. It is quite plausible that it is a Republican and/or Trump supporter who has decided to stage their own version of the attacks on the Republican House softball team…. and if so, it may very well be because he was incited to do so by rhetoric of hate in the same way as the Pizzagate gunman and the Chik-Fil-A / Family Research Council gunman were. There’s been rhetoric out there, a lot of it, and this is nothing new… it’s been a trait of Trumpism since his offer to cover the bills for people committing assault at his rallies and his insistence on moral equivalency after vehicular murder during a protester clash.
It is also quite plausible that it is a crazed attacker in the style of the Gabby Giffords attacker or the Unabomber. We don’t know. It’s irresponsible to say that we do.
What is irresponsible – a damnable lie – is to claim that the likelihood of either of those two results is anywhere near the likelihood that it is a Democrat plot. The people promoting that position know what they are doing. They are convincing their unwitting supporters to echo a significant improbability in order to give it the appearance of validity.