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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Pernicious Polarization

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's dishonesty and his record of disregarding the rule of law.  Our next book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection.  Some Republican leaders -- and a measurable number of rank-and-file voters -- are open to violent rebellioncoups, and secession.  

Zack Beauchamp at Vox:
The new wave of threats is cresting on one side of the partisan divide. Generally, the individuals responsible seem to believe former President Donald Trump’s fraudulent claims about the 2020 election, oppose Covid-19 vaccines and masks, and claim schools are indoctrinating their kids with “critical race theory.”

This most likely reflects the way extreme polarization and Trumpian populism have convinced a segment of the population that their political opponents are not mere rivals but existential threats to American society. Political scientists, who have termed the spread of this us-versus-them mindset “pernicious polarization,” find that it has undermined the foundations of democracy in countries such as Hungary, Venezuela, and Turkey.


Start with election workers: For the past several months, Reuters reporters Linda So and Jason Szep have interviewed dozens of election administration officials across the country, compiled a database of more than 800 threats against them, and even unmasked some of the individuals responsible for the harassment. Their conclusion is unequivocal: The spate of threats is real, and a direct outgrowth of Trump’s campaign to undermine the 2020 election.
“The harassers expressed beliefs similar to those voiced by rioters who stormed the US Capitol on January 6, trying to block Democrat Joe Biden’s certification as president,” So and Szep write. “Nearly all of the threateners saw the country deteriorating into a war between good and evil — ‘patriots’ against ‘communists.’ They echoed extremist ideas popularized by QAnon, a collective of baseless conspiracy theories that often cast Trump as a savior figure and Democrats as villains. Some said they were preparing for civil war.”