But long before the shooting on Wednesday, some of Mr. Sanders’s supporters had earned a belligerent reputation for their criticism of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party and others who they believed disagreed with their ideas. Sanders fans, sometimes referred to derogatorily as “Bernie Bros” or “Bernie Bots,” at times harassed reporters covering Mr. Sanders and flooded social media with angry posts directed at the “corporate media,” a term often used by the senator.
The suspect in the shooting in Virginia put a new spotlight on the rage buried in some corners of the progressive left.
Mr. Hodgkinson filled his Facebook page with photographs of the senator and quotes from his speeches. Mr. Hodgkinson also wrote messages filled with expletives directed at the president, and a post in March said: “Trump is a traitor. Trump has destroyed our democracy. It’s time to destroy Trump & co.”
On Tuesday, Mr. Hodgkinson posted a cartoon on Facebook explaining “How does a bill work?” “That’s an easy one, Billy,” the cartoon reads. “Corporations write the bill and then bribe Congress until it becomes law.”
“That’s Exactly How It Works. ....” Mr. Hodgkinson wrote.
That is not far from Mr. Sanders’s own message. On Saturday, during a conference in Chicago filled with Sanders supporters, he thundered, “Today in the White House, we have perhaps the worst and most dangerous president in the history of our country,” to cheers from thousands. “And we also have, not to be forgotten, extreme right-wing leadership in the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate.”