Charles Krauthammer said that the shooting at a congressional baseball practice earlier this week, which left House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and several others injured, is tangible evidence of how angry and partisan our political rhetoric has grown.
The suspect, James Hodgkinson, who was killed by Capitol Hill police, was a Bernie Sanders supporter who expressed hatred of the "1%" and President Donald Trump.
"There's now a style in our politics where the ad hominem is the norm," Krauthammer said, pointing to a since-debunked New York Times editorial that falsely blamed former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) for inciting the shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) in 2011.
"People ought to fight over policy, but once you begin to question the motives, the patriotism of your opponent, you've gone too far," Krauthammer said.
He said the problem is that both Democrats and Republicans speak about politics in "apocalyptic terms."
"If the other guy wins, it's the end of the republic. If the other guy wins, it's the end of the world," Krauthammer lamented.
He said that Hodgkinson clearly bought into that.
"When those are the stakes, when you say, 'Unless we stop Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, the republic will not survive,' then that justifies anything," Krauthammer said. "That's the language, the ideology, the rationale of terrorists."
He concluded that it's up to political leaders to remind their constituents that they are debating policies, and the fate of the world is not hanging in the balance.
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