Hearing that a volunteer for former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders last week tried to murder Americans near Washington, D.C., for the simple crime of being a Republican — why should that surprise, given the past year?

Why is this not largely the natural consequence of the proudly self-styled “Resistance”? – mocking the 2016 Election’s verdict, deeming a new president not just wrong but evil, and cheering those who hold a faux bloody severed head of Donald Trump and who play Julius Caesar as a fictive Trump on a New York stage, killing him with knives.

This space has suggested how easily such violence of thought and speech can nurture violent deed. On June 14, it did. That morning, James Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois, apparently living in his van outside Washington since March, drove to a suburban Alexandria, Virginia, baseball field, where Republican members of Congress were practicing for the next night’s annual charity GOP-Democratic Congressional game.

To confirm their affiliation, Hodgkinson asked bystanders, “Are these players Democrat or Republican?” Reassured, he began firing assault rifle bullets, bringing House Majority Whip Steve Scalise “within imminent risk of death,” said his trauma doctor, and still in critical condition. Also injured were four others, including two Capitol Hill police officers — like Trump, cops another “Resistance” bête-noire — without whom, as witnesses said, each Republican member there might have died.

In the past, the Hard Left whenever possible has blamed the Right for violence done to a public person or institution, the national press licking, on cue. When Timothy McVeigh blew up an Oklahoma City Federal building in 1995, President Clinton blamed talk radio, sans proof.

When Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in 2011, the not-yet-named “Resistance” absurdly blamed Sarah Palin for the crime of an “apolitical psychotic,” psychiatrist-turned-columnist Charles Krauthammer termed Jared Lee Loughner. The New York Times had to correct an editorial fantasizing a GOP-violence link.

Most hypocritically, having attempted for two decades to fix blame where none exists — consider Trump and Russia — the Left now wants to avoid blame for a clear link between its venom and a man who drove 800 miles to shoot members of the party that “Resistance” ideology abhors. Especially since Trump’s election, as critic Mark Steyn said, the lurching-to-the-left Democratic Party base has “denormalized and dehumanized” Republicans, deeming its opposition as unworthy to be heard — thus, to a troubled and fanatic mind, unworthy to exist.

“Donald Trump has Destroyed Our Democracy,” James Hodgkinson’s March Facebook post said, encapsulating the “Resistance.” Or was that CNN host Reza Aslan, tweeting that Trump was a “piece of s___”? “It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co,” Hodgkinson, now deceased, had posted. Or was that “Resistance” throngs cheering the play “Julius Caesar” in Central Park, Caesar as a blond-haired Trump being assassinated? “Trump is guilty and should be impeached,” the Illinois shooter said. Maxine Waters couldn’t say it better. Everywhere Hodgkinson turned he saw a Hard Left unhinged.

Even this would-be massacre will not enlighten some. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown bizarrely blames Trump’s “division” for Hodgkinson shooting Republicans. Perhaps Brown should consult Krauthammer’s former field — also try reading more and loathing less. Each presidential election divides. 1948: Harry Truman said the same people who backed Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo endorsed his foe, Thomas Dewey. 1964: Lyndon Johnson ads claimed Barry Goldwater wanted to blow up the world. In 1972, Richard Nixon visited the People’s Republic of China and the Soviet Union to further peace: George McGovern called him Hitler.

Like theirs, Trump’s 2016 campaign was divisive. Yet what distinguishes his from every other, say, post-1900 presidential campaign is the opposition’s post-election bile. Dewey, Nixon in 1960, and Al Gore in 2000, each losing a heartbreaking race, asked their voters to support the victor. By contrast, since last November Far Left vulgarians have made death threats against Trump electors, burned property, beat up dissenters, and made a sham of free speech by assaulting conservative speakers on one campus after another.

The “Resistance” has spent the last seven months refusing to concede the legitimacy of a president who won fair and square — an attitude without modern precedent; literally, un-American. Until its members realize what they have become, they risk having more horrific acts legitimately affixed to them.

Curt Smith is the author of 16 books, his newest “George H.W. Bush: Character at the Core.” He is a former speechwriter to President George H.W. Bush, Associated Press “Best in New York State” radio commentator, and senior lecturer of English at the University of Rochester. He writes twice monthly for Gatehouse Media Newspapers.