Is Political Violence Possible?

Today is one of our most important days….voting in the 2022 midterms.

There have been many different takes on what we can expect on the outcome of this vote…..some say House and Senate will switch….and some think there is the possibility that the outcome will generate some sort of violence.

Let us look at the later more closely……

Polls in recent months have gauged Americans’ views on political violence in a few different ways, but they almost always capture some segment of the population that deems political violence acceptable. When asked whether the use of force or violence was justified “to advance an important political objective,” 1 in 5 Americans said it was, at least sometimes, according to a survey from researchers at the University of California, Davis, conducted in May and June. And in a Reuters/Ipsos poll from September, 17 percent of Americans somewhat or strongly agreed that political violence against those they disagreed with was acceptable, with slightly more Democrats agreeing with the statement than Republicans or independents. However, just a small fraction of registered voters said taking up arms or a civil war was necessary to fix our democracy in a recent New York Times/Siena poll.

As striking as some of those results are, some research suggests Americans’ true views are much more passive. Some of these responses can be chalked up to respondents not paying close enough attention, vaguely worded questions or both, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in March. The study’s authors found that, when engaged with the survey and presented with specific examples of political violence, between 89 and 100 percent of respondents wanted a suspect in a politically motivated violent crime charged.

Regardless, the reality is that threats of political violence are on the rise, and it’s making Americans concerned. When asked whether they were “concerned that extremists will commit acts of violence after the election if they are unhappy with the election outcome,” 64 percent of Americans said they somewhat or strongly agreed, in a Reuters/Ipsos poll fielded in October. Similarly, 48 percent of Americans said they were very or somewhat concerned about the possibility of violence associated with the 2022 midterms, according to a UMass/YouGov poll conducted in October. And Black Americans are much more likely than white or Hispanic Americans to expect “displays of violence” related to the midterms, according to a Grid-Harris poll, also from October. When asked whether they thought election results would spark displays of violence in their area, 40 percent of Black Americans said it was very or somewhat likely, compared to 23 percent of white Americans and 36 percent of Hispanic Americans.

What Americans Think About Political Violence

The most recent poll, 04Nov22, shows that the fear of political violence weighs on American minds…..

Some high-profile Republicans have made light of last week’s attack on Paul Pelosi, but roughly 87% of Republicans overall say they are either somewhat concerned or very concerned about politically motivated violence in America, according to a new Washington Post/ABC poll. The poll found that 88% of Americans are concerned about political violence, including 95% of Democrats and 86% of independent voters. But while the concern was bipartisan, people were split on which side is to blame: Some 31% blame the GOP, 25% blame the Democratic Party, and 32% blame both parties equally, per ABC. Only 11% didn’t blame either party.

Women are more likely than men to be concerned about politically motivated violence, and the level of concern tends to go up with a person’s age, the poll found. The Post reports the FBI and other agencies issued an alert last week warning that in the 90 days after the midterm elections, “perceptions of election-related fraud and dissatisfaction with electoral outcomes likely will result in heightened threats of violence against a broad range of targets—such as ideological opponents and election workers.” The poll was taken in the days after the Pelosi attack, which police say was carried out by David DePape, a 42-year-old Canadian citizen. DePape’s online postings included numerous far-right conspiracy theories, the Los Angeles Times reports.

This is not an irrational fear….the chances are real we Americans need to move past this sort of barbaric behavior.

I have not voted for a presidential winner since 1976 and Jimmy Carter….but as Left leaning as I was I never thought about committing violence because my ‘guy’ lost.

Please get out and vote….our country needs your participation if we are to ever heal the divide.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”


8 thoughts on “Is Political Violence Possible?

  1. I have been looking at the early results on the BBC. They are forecasting that De Santis will run for president, following his big win in Florida.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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