A liberal group is being criticized for its imagery of a target on Governor Scott Walker and state Senator Leah Vukmir. The image on a Citizen Action of Wisconsin podcast shows a target with an arrow or spear over Walker and Vukmir with the message: “open political season.” Walker is seeking re-election, Vukmir is a candidate for the U.S. Senate.
Democrats and liberals have been highly critical of similar imagery in the past, such as in 2010 when a map released by Sarah Palin’s PAC was blamed by the media and the left after Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords was shot by Jared Lee Loughner at a constituent event in Arizona. However, the correlation proved to be nothing more than speculation on the left as the Washington Post wrote that Loughner had been focused on Gifford since 2007. It was unclear if Loughner was even aware of the map at the time. The Washington Post also reported that Loughner had no clear political views, although that did not stop media outlets from blaming Palin’s map and conservative culture. The media also initially misrepresented Palin’s map as having crosshairs over images of candidates when it was actually over a map of their districts.
In 2017, when James Hodgkinson targeted Republican members of a congressional baseball team, Newsweek reported that many claimed the attack was inspired in part by Trump and his “rise and rhetoric has “emboldened” people on the right to attack those on the left and commit hate crimes.” However Newsweek reported the attacker was a Democrat who had volunteered on the Bernie Sander campaign and even wrote a letter to the editor of the Belleville News-Democrat saying, “We need to vote all Republicans out of Congress.”
Alec Zimmerman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin blasted CAW for use of the image:
“Liberal groups are always ready to blame violence on conservatives, and it’s outrageous that this far-left group would turn around and do this when Gov. Walker and Wisconsin Republicans have repeatedly faced death threats for standing on principle. The anger and hatred of the left is on full display, but Wisconsin Republicans are ready to counter it and keep fighting for bold reform.”
The Walker campaign also issued a statement:
“We would have thought that extreme liberal organizations would have learned from the overreach and death threats Republicans faced in the past. The governor will remain focused on moving our state forward to help Wisconsin win the 21st century.”
The Vukmir campaign also commented:
“The unhinged left loves to be outraged. They’re outraged Gov. Walker and Leah have successfully turned Wisconsin around. They’re outraged President Trump won. And they’re certainly going to be outraged when Leah beats Sen. Baldwin in the fall.” — Jess Ward, campaign manager