This week I will be talking about political violence. As partisanship increases, so does support for political violence. Partisanship and issue alignment, which in the US is almost perfectly aligned, were correlated with political hostility. This is backed up by research that found that stronger partisan identities drive stronger intentions to engage in political violence, though action is only found within those with certain acceptable personality traits. This last bit is countered by the large congregation of Americans who stormed The Capitol and brought into question to what degree these traits are needed.
The Survey Center for American Life’s same survey also measured this support for political violence. When asked if they agree with the statement: “The traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it,” 36% of respondents said yes. This shows remarkably high support for political violence. This number was highest among Republicans and lowest among Democrats which suggests more violent Republicans, a bias in the question, and/or the winner effect. There is definitely bias here due to the conservation of American values being more along the Republican party ideals but likely not as large a difference as was found. Support for political violence is high and rising. If electoral mistrust becomes a known and studied cause, dealing with it will be easier.
See you next week!