If we can be sure of anything in these seemingly confusing times, other than the proposition that anything Donald Trump says is a lie, it is that, whatever Republicans accuse anyone else of doing, they themselves are doing it.
So, a constant refrain recently has been how violent “the left” is. But the man who sent pipe bombs to several prominent Democrats and various entities Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized is no leftist. The man who said he wants to kill Jews because they help refugees is no leftist. In the United States, at least, virtually all political violence comes from “conservatives.” This is only one way in which political actors in the United States have perverted the meaning of “conservative.”
Psychologists call the act of attributing one’s own bad habits to others “projection.” Roger Ailes was a big fan of accusing one’s opponent of the thing one is guilty of. It’s actually a cute trick, and it works entirely too often. It’s a shame more people haven’t figured out that they do it all the time.
We now have a really outstanding example of “conservative” projection. It’s not exactly a case of projection because the “conservative” accuser is almost certainly not doing exactly what he has accused his opponent of doing, but it’s still a classic case of trying to throw people off the scent by projecting bad behavior onto an opponent.
In Georgia, Brian Kemp is running as the Republican candidate for governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams, who would be the first African American woman governor in the nation’s history if she wins.
Kemp is also the sitting Secretary of State in Georgia, with responsibility for administering the state’s elections, including managing voter registration. It is blindingly obvious that he should not be able to serve in that role while he is also running for a higher office, or any other office, really, but apparently Georgia law allows it. In principle it’s cheating, but Republicans have no compunctions about cheating, since it’s the only way they can win elections, so it’s not slowing Kemp down at all.
He has now produced the allegation, with no evidence at all, that the Democratic Party of Georgia has engaged in unspecified “cyber crimes” that the Secretary of State’s office is investigating. So we have the bizarre situation of a public office, under the control of one candidate in an election “investigating” the Party of his opponent. This is obviously grossly unethical on Kemp’s part. If he has real evidence of possible crimes, he could and should ask some other law enforcement agency to handle any inquiry instead of the office he himself runs.
This is not projection in the strict sense, because it seems obvious that Kemp almost by definition cannot commit “cyber crimes” against his own office, or he can, but that seems highly unlikely, especially when he already stands accused of using the office in ways that benefit him unethically. But in broad terms, he is alleging election meddling against the Democratic Party when he is engaging in election meddling simply by dint of occupying the office while he is also running for another office.