Eric Greitens in his latest campaign ad, which shows him holding a shotgun and invading a home alongside armed men wearing fatigues.

Screenshot/YouTube/Eric Greitens
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MAGA Senate candidate Eric Greitens wants to “hunt” fellow Republicans

Republicans love running political ads with guns. They love it. They. Love. It.

Yet even by those lofty standards of conservative necrofetishism, Missouri Senate candidate and former Gov. Eric Greitens is really taking things to another level. And from the looks of things, he might not only get someone killed, but that could be the whole point in the first place.

Here is Greitens’s newest Senate ad, which he released on Monday, entitled “Order your RINO Hunting Permit today.” Just, uh ... just take a look, okay?

This is some sincerely psycho stuff! A former governor of the state — who, it needs to be mentioned, resigned in disgrace after he was credibly accused of sexual assault and revenge porn by his former hairdresser — is actively encouraging supporters to “hunt” so-called “Republicans In Name Only” while showing footage of a heavily armed group breaching a home with their guns drawn. What???

Let’s make a few things perfectly clear here: This is an overt call to violence in the form of a political purge that amplifies the same impulse behind the “hang Mike Pence” chants of the Jan. 6 insurrection. And either Greitens is saying that he’ll use his position as senator to sic actual United States troops on his political enemies (fascism, folks!), or he’s saying that he’ll use an unofficial militia force to do the same thing (also fascism!) — which, not coincidentally, has already been happening for a few years now.

Now, Greitens is a skilled, accomplished politician who knows exactly what he’s doing here. Not only is he making an explicit call for political violence, but he’s doing so in a way that is tailor-made to capitalize on the internet’s outrage cycle to maximize shares and views. And herein lies the dilemma with this sort of ad: On one hand, it’s vital to name it for what it is, which is an outright threat of and demand for violence against members of Greitens’s own party (to say nothing of everyone else). But it’s also a dangerous manipulation of the media ecosystem that rewards outrageousness and bombast. Greitens knows all this. In fact, he’s almost certainly counting on it. If and when someone actually takes his latest spot seriously, and really does go out “RINO hunting,” he’ll simply shrug off the inevitable blood on his own hands because, hey, that’s politics in America these days.