Conservative online trolls target Chuck Grassley

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Sen. Chuck Grassley's seat is considered safe this upcoming election.

  • But that doesn't mean he's safe from conservative internet trolls.

  • In fact, it may actually expose him to more criticism from within his own party, said Matthew Record, a political science professor at Drake University.

State of play: Grassley has always faced an onslaught of criticism from Democrats online, but people within his own party are trolling him for acknowledging President Biden's election win and supporting the president's infrastructure bill.

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  • Even Grassley's innocuous Instagram post about enjoying Dairy Queen is filled with comments claiming he's a traitor.

The backdrop: Grassley comes from a shrinking era of politicians who found electoral support via "pork barrel politics" — bills that produce jobs, money or projects back in their home states.

  • That required bipartisan deals. In today's hyper-polarized world, ideological purity is being policed within parties, especially for safe seats.

  • It's why moderate Senate Republicans like Mitt Romney or the late John McCain have come under attack, while Josh Hawley is gaining prominence.

  • "It's weird because you don't expect people to eat their own," Record observed.

The bottom line (and advice we can all use): "Twitter is not the world," Record said.

  • And don't forget: Online trolls aren't likely to sway polls.

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