top of page

What A Wild And Crazy Country We Live In! Too Much Toleration Of Violence

Are We Capable Of Defending Our Country From QAnon?

Reporting for NBC News today, Sahil Kapur noted that when pollsters asked if “MAGA” is describes them, just 17% said it does. Even a majority of Republicans (58%) disavow the term. Among the Republicans who embrace the term, “they are disproportionately male (59%), 55 and older (55%), white (77%), lacking a college degree (76%), and make more than $50,000 a year (60%)… Pluralities are rural (33%), live in the South (46%) and say they attend religious services at least once a week (40%).”

CBS New reported on a more important survey and study today— one from the University of Chicago's Chicago Project on Security and Threats conduced by NORC: Understanding Support for Political Violence in America. Jacob Rosen reported that a year and a half after the J-6 insurrection, something like 5% of the adult population (13 million people) say that force would be justified to restore Trump to the White House and an estimated 15 million Americans believe force would be justified to prevent Trump from being prosecuted, after he’s indicted in the current espionage case against him.

The director of the University of Chicago's Chicago Project on Security and Threats. Dr. Robert Pape, told CBS that “We have not just a political threat to our democracy, we have a violent threat to our democracy. Today, there are millions of individuals who don't just think the election was stolen in 2020; they support violence to restore Donald Trump to the White House.”

Pape and his research team found that the willingness to use violence to put Trump back in the White House was largely driven by unfounded and racist fears about a "Great Replacement" of White people by immigrants and about QAnon, a set of conspiracy theories involving sex trafficking by Democrats and liberal elites and corruption. According to the study, 61% of those who favored insurrection were fueled by fears of a Great Replacement, and 48% of those surveyed believed in QAnon.
…"[Great Replacement] is a conspiracy theory, but it's not just on fringe social media like Parler or Gab, 4chan or 8chan" Pape said. "This is every day on Fox News, it's on Newsmax, it's on One America, it's on talk radio."
It was a motivating factor behind the "Unite the Right" Charlottesville rally, and in recent mass shootings in Pittsburgh, Penn., Christchurch, New Zealand; El Paso, Texas, and most recently, Buffalo, N.Y.
"If you marry those together, you have a dangerous cocktail. You have the fear of this Great Replacement happening by a Democratic Party, and then you have the fear of corruption and immortality, and that's that dangerous combination that's leading to violent support against our democracy," Pape said.
The CPOST study also found that Jan. 6 defendants were more likely to come from urban than rural areas of the country, and that insurrectionists mostly descended upon the Capitol from counties that have diversified the most quickly in the last ten years.

Some of the NORC findings that popped out most aggressively in my mind:

  • 46% of Republicans agree that the election was stolen and Biden is an illegitimate president

  • 43% of Republicans disagree that the insurrectionists were patriots

  • 45% of Republicans agree that they would vote for Trump in 2024 if he ran as an independent

  • 4% of Republican respondents said they would participate in the use of force to restore Trump to the presidency and, oddly, that figure goes up to 6% when it is made clear that the use of force would mean people who would “injured or killed.”

  • Even more Republicans— 15%— believe the use of force is justified to prevent the teaching of critical race theory.

  • 9% of Republicans have a favorable impression of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys

  • 14% of Republicans— and 16% of independents— agree that “A secret group of Satan-worshiping pedophiles is ruling the US government.”

  • Among all Americans, 32% have a favorable impression of Trump and 42% have a favorable impression of Biden

Nafees Hamid, a cognitive scientist of political violence, wrote an essay for New Lines Magazine on why people join violent groups and noted that "Both jihadis and those who stormed the Capitol… are anti-establishment groups. They both see themselves as fighting an identity-based conflict. The jihadists feel they’re protecting the Muslim ummah from the rest of the world. And the insurrectionists felt there was some evil out there that was hurting their ‘group’ and they had to rise up to defend their side."

bottom of page