In an increasingly violent and hostile American political landscape, the very heart of our democracy is under threat. Just days after a journalist was assaulted by a Republican candidate and a man stabbed three people for defending Muslim bystanders from his hateful abuse, we now learn that a Democratic candidate running against one of the Senate’s top Republicans has been forced to withdraw her candidacy, in large part due to the wave of death threats she received during the course of her candidacy.
Kim Weaver’s candidacy for Representative of Iowa’s 4th District, currently held by bargain-bin George Wallace wannabe Steve King (R-IA), has come to an end.
Her withdrawal was announced this evening in a post on Facebook, and while Weaver admitted her personal health and her mother’s health played a role in her decision to drop out, she pointed to the intimidation campaign that she was forced to endure as a major deciding factor:
Beginning during my 2016 campaign, I have received very alarming acts of intimidation, including death threats. While some may say enduring threats are just a part of running for office, my personal safety has increasingly become a concern.
Weaver’s candidacy was under fire from the very beginning. The vindictive bullies of the Iowa Republican Party decided to punish her for running by cutting $164,000 – 12% of the budget – from the Office of Long-Term Care Ombudsman, where Weaver worked as an employee. A state senator made sure to tell her supervisor, who told her, that the budget cut was her “fault.”
When one considers this kind of vindictiveness coupled with the barrage of death threats she received, a very dark picture is painted. New candidates – especially those from underrepresented demographic groups – are the lifeblood of a democracy. It is absolutely unacceptable that faceless cowards are scaring off potential candidates with threats of violence.
The fact that death threats are now considered an expected consequence of running for office is beyond appalling and is a disturbing sign of the creeping fascism enveloping the United States.