Yesterday, the FBI and Michigan police announced they'd arrested 13 men as part of a harebrained plot to kidnap the Democratic governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer.
And reviews of the groups' postings and rantings in the run-up to getting caught revealed numerous far-right memes, imagery, and slogans. One of the men arrested, Brandon Caserta, shared memes praising Kyle Rittenhouse and decrying mask-wearing as a government conspiracy, all hallmarks of the swamp of right-wing internet.
Other men had similar iconography both online and in real life. Joseph Morrison's home flew a Confederate flag. The founder of the militia involved in the plot, the Wolverine Watchmen, was spotted wearing a Trump 2020 hat and praised him on social media. Numerous media outlets reviewed hundreds of posts and all came to essentially the same conclusion. These men fit right into the pattern of heavily armed far-righters stoked and called to action by a president saber-rattling them.
But what if... maybe... they weren't?
Given the poor optics of people adjacent to mainstream conservatives wanting to commit treason, many right-wing media sites have instead decided the people who plotted the crimes were... lefty communists? The evidence is thin.
One of the 13 men, Caserta, has a philosophy that appears to run the gamut. While posting QAnon memes, and praising the kid who shot Black Lives Matter protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, he also had an anarchist sign in his house and was anti-police.
Which... well. Let's unpack that. In a normal world, being anti-police would actually be the apotheosis of the conservative movement, which claims to be anti-government overreach and against the state taking away liberties and freedoms, something law enforcement is designed to do. But modern conservatives have draped themselves in culture wars about police support---the argument that being anti-police is a leftist principle is muddy, but alright. Sure. What else you got?
Caserta also criticized Trump, in a video, which was pushed to show Caserta was some sort of left-winger, despite posting memes about killing communists. And of the 13 men arrested, he's the only one who criticized Trump online. Others in the group, though, showered praise on the president.
Conservative media also flagged a part of the plot that involved killing a police officer, which again was meant to show they couldn't be right-wing.
Which, if your plot is to maim and harm the state for infringing on your rights and freedom, killing police would have to be part of that, making these men even more conservative than anyone in the conservative movement could ever be.