Yes! Great post, Jill!
Psychological projection is exactly what's been happening all along. When humans don't know something, we tend to project what we DO know onto that something, or that someone. What we know is what we're taught from the elements in our environments, socially, professionally, and intra-personally (our embodied and interior environments).
If we have little capacity for critical self-reflection (and white boomers are very bad at it), we look to outward environments for clues and answers about our own experience, not trusting ourselves. What's in the environment to find for white conservative boomers--and that's the majority of who we're talking about--is often toxic.
Conservative white boomers' worlds--exterior and interior--are filled with mis- and dis-information, rampant fear and xenophobia, and a lifetime of repressed emotions and thoughts. Now that dysfunctional sludge is polluting the country's social soil, and healthy social soil is fundamental in a healthy democracy (if you're interested, some of the other dysfunctions I found in my research: https://dr-cbg.medium.com/authoritarianism-in-rural-american-cultures-1bcbb0906b1
When the conservative boomer mind goes looking in its files for sense-making information, it draws from the poisonous exterior and interior environments and applies (projects) that bad information and those repressed feelings and thoughts onto whatever the boomer is engaging with. Like you point out, the projections are not healthy. I'd add, they are also destroying the very conditions--healthy social soil--that nourishes (or not) our democracy.