Impressive poll offers grim insight into burgeoning undemocratic views

Those who buy from ex President TrumpTrump’s lawyer blamed Pence for causing the Capitol attack: Biden administration report announces easing of some tariffs on EU steel, COP26 aluminum takes on climate change at dangerous time MORELies about the 2020 elections and those who watch far-right channels amplifying their rhetoric are increasingly embracing anti-democratic views and even contemplating political violence, according to a new poll.

The survey by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute paints a haunting portrait of a growing segment of the public that is increasingly disconnected from reality as it embraces conspiracy theories about child abduction and stolen elections.

He found a deep divide between those who trust the right-wing media outlets and the rest of the nation, and even between those who trust Fox News and those who trust outlets like One America Network and Newsmax.

The poll found that roughly three in ten Americans, 31 percent, believe the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, including two-thirds of Republicans and a whopping 82 percent of those who trust Fox News more than they do. any other means of communication.

Among those who trust far-right outlets like One America Network and Newsmax, 97 percent say they believe the election, which even Trump’s own election security and cybersecurity officials agreed was the safest ever held in the states United, it was stolen.

One in five Americans believe in the basic tenet of the QAnon conspiracy that “a storm is coming soon,” while one in six believes that the United States government is controlled by a group of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who they run child sex trafficking worldwide. ring.

The same proportion, 18 percent, say they agree with the statement that the United States has gone so far off track that “true American patriots may have to resort to violence to save our country.”

The poll found that 30 percent of Republicans agree that the violence could be justified, compared with 17 percent of independents and 11 percent of Democrats. Those who shop at the far-right media are even more likely to contemplate violence; Among those people, 40 percent agree.

“I am not an alarmist by nature, but these figures worry me deeply. I think we really have to take them seriously as a threat to democracy, ”said Robert Jones, founder and CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute.

The growing acceptance of political violence is manifesting itself in Washington courts and across the country, as rioters from the January 6 insurrection face charges and, increasingly, prison sentences for their role in the chaos. A man who conspired to kidnap the governor of Michigan was sentenced to six years in jail in August. On Thursday, two members of a neo-Nazi group were sentenced to nine years in prison for a plot to attack a rally by gun control supporters in Richmond, Virginia.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has reported in recent years that white supremacists pose a critical threat to the security of the United States.

Jones said the growing proportion of Republicans and arch-conservatives buying into bogus and violent rhetoric are transforming one of America’s two major political parties into a party of racial and religious grievance, one that sees the other sinister invade what it means to be. an American.

Only 29 percent of Republicans say life has mostly changed for the better since the 1950s, before civil rights movements introduced new protections and more rights for minorities, women, and the LGBT community. The proportion of white evangelical Protestants and white Catholics who say life was better 70 years ago, when the average American was earning much less and living less than today, has also plummeted in recent years.

“There’s a kind of nostalgia and nostalgia, the power of the mythical past,” Jones said. “It is an ethno-religious identity, it is a white Christian America and specifically a white Protestant America that people are remembering.”

John Pitney, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College and a former senior Republican National Committee official during George HW Bush’s presidency, said the data reflects a total reinvention of a Republican Party that once aspired to Ronald Reagan’s glittering hill town. .

“In the 1980s, Republicans aspired to be the party of hope and opportunity. Now is the feast of blood and earth. The culture war is front and center, and for many Republicans, it is close to being a literal war, not just a metaphorical one, ”Pitney said. “Republicans are nostalgic for an America that never really existed.”

The poll found that Republican voters are much more likely than Democrats to argue that religious or nativist traits are important to being an American: Nine out of ten Republicans, but only two-thirds of Democrats, say that speaking English is important to a American identity. Nearly two-thirds of Republicans said that both being born in the United States and being a Christian are important to being an American; more than half of Democrats said those traits were not important to American identity.

Eighty percent of Republicans said the United States is in danger of losing its culture and identity, and 98 percent of far-right viewers agreed; only a third of Democrats and half of independents said the same. More than half of Republicans, 56 percent, said things have changed so much in America that they often feel like a stranger in their own country; only 31 percent of Democrats agreed.

More than half of Americans, including 55 percent of independent voters and even 9 percent of Republicans, say the Republican Party today has been taken over as racists, while only 45 percent say the party it is trying to protect the United States from external threats.

Forty-four percent said the Democratic Party had been taken over by the Socialists, a number that has not increased in recent years.

Trump, who based his first campaign on a promise to end the “American carnage” and who rose to the top of the Republican Party in which he remains today by pledging to build a wall on the Mexican border, is not solely responsible for the transformation of Reagan’s Republican Party, experts agreed. Instead, some said Trump took advantage of an environment of fear and anguish that already existed, directed it towards the other sinister and turned himself into a kind of metaphorical bulwark.

“Trump stepped onto a stage that was already prepared. The set was painted, the props were there, it turned out to be considerably effective in wearing those props and strutting on that stage, but it’s not a set of his own, “Jones said. “He metaphorically presented himself as a wall against these changes, and presented himself as the only thing standing between his followers and a changing America.”

The economic anxiety that some point to as the genesis of Trump’s rise certainly exists, though it is angst that crosses racial and demographic lines and predates the pandemic. More than eight in ten Americans said that housing costs and living expenses are rising faster than their income, and four in ten are concerned about their ability to pay for basic goods.

The proportion of African Americans and Hispanic Americans who worry about paying for basic goods, rent, and credit card debt is higher than the proportion of white Americans. But 38 percent of whites said they, too, are concerned about being able to afford basic goods.

At a time when politicians – and Trump, most prominently – pit groups against one another, those anxieties are manifesting in the divisions that are widening today, Jones said.

“Americans are feeling the economic crisis and they are not just seeing it as a result of the pandemic,” Jones said. “That does not help to extinguish the flame of these cultural conflicts, it exacerbates them. If people feel like the pie is too small and it’s a zero-sum game, that’s not a great place for political compromise or finding common ground. “

The PRRI survey was conducted between September 16 and 29 among 2,508 adults over 18 years of age. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points.

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