Contributed by Arthur Ahrens of Branchport, NY.
KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE
The UVA (University of Virginia) Center for Politics/Project Home Fire survey/data analytics project asked Joe Biden and Donald Trump voters their opinions on the events of Jan. 6.
- Overall, about 30% of the combined group of Biden and Trump voters at least somewhat believe the rioters are “patriots” who should be applauded for their actions, while about 70% at least somewhat believe they are “insurgents” who should be criminally prosecuted. The single, biggest predictors of the patriots vs. insurgents divide: belief in or rejection of conspiracy theories and the “Big Lie” that the outcome of the 2020 presidential election was illegitimate.
- This “patriots vs. insurgents” divide reveals in the starkest terms that we are now a nation at war with itself. Our democracy is effectively being held hostage to whether voters believe in conspiracy theories and the Big Lie, or not. Collectively, this analysis of the Jan. 6 events highlights in stark detail how deep, wide, and dangerous our national divide has become.
On the one hand, our analysis shows that belief in conspiracy theories correlates with a “fear of the other” and “us vs. them” mindset, support for secession, and an openness to using violence to stop the other side from achieving their political goals. Collectively, these four beliefs are most powerfully predictive of those voters who view the people who stormed the US Capital on Jan. 6, 2021 as patriots. More specifically, ranked in order of importance, these beliefs include a stronger likelihood of agreeing with the following statements:
- Former president Barack Obama was really born in Kenya and so was not actually legally eligible to be president of the United States.
- You/someone close to you will experience personal loss or suffering due to the effects of [OPPOSITE PARTY] policies in the future.
- I believe that Americans who strongly support the [OPPOSITE PARTY] have become a clear and present danger to the American way of life.
- There was a hidden “Deep state” effort to undermine the presidency of Donald Trump.
- The situation in America is such that I would favor [RED/BLUE STATES] seceding from the union to form their own separate country.
- Most [OPPOSITE PARTY] no longer believe in the ideas that make America great.
- Tucker Carlson’s report, on Fox News, that the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot was actually instigated by undercover agents working for the US Federal Bureau of investigation.
- It is acceptable for concerned Americans to use violence to stop [THE FAR LEFT/FAR RIGHT] from achieving their political goals.
On the other hand, our analysis revealed a rejection of the Big Lie together with social justice concerns, support for the expansion of voting rights and access, and belief in the idea that government should and can work for people as most powerfully predictive of voters seeing the events of Jan. 6 as initiated by insurgents’ intent on subverting the electoral process. Ranked in order of importance, these include:
- The 2020 presidential election was essentially secure and free of fraud and Joe Biden won “fair and square.”
- Concerned about reducing police violence against minorities.
- Concerned about reducing economic and wealth inequality in America.
- Concerned about preventing state legislatures from passing laws that give them a legal right to overturn or nullify elections in their states.
- Support for the expansion of access to voting in elections across all 50 states.
- Concern for making health care affordable for all Americans.
- Concern for reversing the harmful effects of environmental and climate change.
- Support for investing in the construction of roads, bridges, rail lines, ports and other types of “hard infrastructure.”
Collectively, this analysis of the Jan. 6 events highlights in stark detail how deep, wide, and dangerous our national divide has become.
Excerpted from https://centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/articles/how-trump-and-biden-voters-view-the-events-of-jan-6/
History offers hope: OTD 1860 Abraham Lincoln is elected our 16th president, when the nation was even more divided. Lincoln later said if he had known what he would face in his first months he would not have thought he could have lived through it. He did and we will. — Doris Kearns Goodwin
What the study does not ask is actually the most important question. “Where do you get your news and information?”
Elizabeth Kolbert wrote: “…myriad studies, many dating back to before the Internet was ever dreamed of, have demonstrated that, when people confer with others who agree with them, their views become more extreme.” Still, it is surprising that we hold to extreme views even in the face of evidence such as the videos of the Jan. 6th riots, damaging storms and wildfires, and mounting deaths attributed to Covid. Yet when I examine my own views, they seem entirely reasonable. Is “Build Back Better” a fatal step toward socialism? I don’t think so, although many others do.