Monday, 15 February 2021

Christian Talibangelical Trumpanzees for Violence

Attempted coup d’état by Trumpanzees, 6th January, 2021
After the ballots are counted: Conspiracies, political violence, and American exceptionalism - The Survey Center on American Life

In its American Perspective Survey, The Survey Center on American Life has revealed a post-Trump America deeply divided and with a large number of people, especially evangelical white Christians, ready to resort to violence to achieve their political ambitions.

But even as pride in America has taken a battering because of the antics of Trump and his supporters, the belief in American exceptionalism, that many of us non-Americans find so arrogant and worryingly nationalistic, still remains strong.

Although Trump retains considerable support, especially amongst the Republican rank and file, most Americas expressed relief that he had finally gone. There is also broad support for investigating the possible wrongdoings by his administration.

Now that their hero has been defeated, the perception of the relative importance of the 2020 election has fallen to only 26% of Republicans who think the election was the most important in their lifetime; compared to 46% of Democrats.

Undermining Trump's claim of widespread voter fraud is the finding that 51% of Americans feel relieved or excited that Biden is president while only 34% had a negative view of Biden's election. Had a sizable majority really voted for Trump, as he and his cult claim, then these figures would be very different.

Feelings about the outcome differ widely between Republicans and Democrats. While 94% of Democrats feel positive about the outcome, Republicans feel frightened (41%), disappointed (26%), or angry (6%). However, 11% of Republicans are actually relieved that Trump is no longer president, leaving just 12% undecided.

Partisan views of the legitimacy of Bide's win
Not surprisingly with belief that the result was fraudulent being widespread in Republican circles, there is a deep divide over the issue of legitimacy of Biden's victory.

98% of Democrats and 73% of Independents accept the legitimacy of the result whilst only 32% of Republicans accept it. However, Republicans are split on the issue by educational attainment, with 50% of those with a college education in favour of acceptance and 48% against it, whilst 75% of those Republicans without a college education believe Biden's win was not legitimate.

That latter statistic is strongly suggestive that Trump's patently absurd and conspicuously evidence-free claims made most impact on the least well educated Republicans - exactly those who tend to believe the QAnon conspiracy theories and to be science-denying, evangelical Creationists.

Majority of Republicans have a favourable view of Trump!
Despite his popularity amongst Republicans, the majority say their loyalty is to the Republican Party rather than to Trump (63% vs, 37%). The pollsters report that this is a marked shift from the position last Autumn, when the polls showed that Republicans were generally more committed to Trump than to the Party. If so, this could indicate a general desire to disassociate from Trump in the aftermath of the attempted coup d’état by his cult followers.

Is the claim that there was widespread voter fraud accurate?
This chart needs to be read with circumspection. It reflects answers to the question, "Is the claim that there was widespread voter fraud accurate?", hence the figure showing 'completely NOT accurate' is showing that the respondent thought there was NOT widespread voter fraud, in other words, that the recorded vote was accurate.

88% of Democrats believe the claim of voter fraud was mostly (82%) or completely (6%) not accurate, 55% of Republicans think the claim was mostly (28%) or completely (37%) accurate.

By contrast, with rather more substantive evidence of Russian interference and some anomalous results in swing states, there is less disparity between supporters of the two main parties on this issue in respect of the 2016 result. 18% of Democrats believe there was voter fraud in that election, compared to 27% of Republicans who agree! 67% of Democrats believe there was NOT voter fraud in 2016 but only 50% or Republicans agree.
Curiously, many Republicans seem prepared to accept that Trump got elected with the aid of fraud in 2016, but a majority support him anyway! This probably tells us much about the respect Trump-supporting Republicans have for the institution of democracy in the USA.

Trump's part in the failed coup d'etat, and belief in QAnon pro-Trump propaganda
On the matter of the attempted coup d’état, although the pollsters don't call it that, they report that America is divided over the issue of whether Trump encouraged it. Just under half (48%) believe he did encourage it while 36% don't with 14% undecided. However, there is a marked difference along party lines on this issue. 90% of Democrats believe Trump encouraged the attack on the Capitol, but only 15% of Republicans agree and 74% say the accusation is untrue.

There is a similar a similar partisan divide on the main conspiracy theories that have pervaded American politics during the Trump years, the election and its aftermath. Probably motivated by cognitive dissonance over the actions of Trumpanzee white evangelicals in their attack on the Capitol in support of Trump, 50% of Republicans prefer to believe the QAnon conspiracy claim that they were really Antifa activists and left wing supporters in disguise. Only 20% of Democrats think this is completely or mostly true.

An astonishing 59% of Republicans have adopted Trump's paranoid persecution psychosis and believe that there was a secret organisation of unelected officials, the so-called 'Deep State' seeking to undermine Trump's presidency. However only a small minority (15%) of Americans believe this 'Deep State' is a group of Satanic, child-trafficking paedophiles whom Trump had been secretly fighting. (5% of Democrats vs 29% of Republicans).

Worryingly, 36% of Americans agree with the statement, “The traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it.” The use of force is supported by over half (55%) of Republicans, apparently unaware that a basic traditional American value is that of democracy itself, and opposed by only 43%. Only 22% of Democrats would support the use of force to halt the decline in traditional values.

This seems to flow from a broad bi-partisan consensus that the American Political system works in favour of the wealthy and powerful, yet almost half of Americans believe the system is stacked against conservatives and those with traditional values. This is rather puzzling since the Republican Party appears to be the party of the rich and wealthy and the party of traditional values. Certainly, in a European political context, favouring the rich and powerful whilst holding to 'traditional values' are normally associated with the political right rather than the centre-left. It's curious that so many Americans feel alienated from the wealthy and powerful yet support the party they largely finance and which normally works for them.

Despite the four-year spectacle of Trump's narcissistic, adolescent incompetence, his crass bungling which led to America having a much worse pandemic than the rest of the world on almost all measures, with 25% of world-wide cases being in the USA and a shocking death toll, whilst right-wing politicians and evangelical Christians rubbished the science and hindered measure to mitigate the disease, and despite the almost farcical reaction to the 2020 presidential election by the losing candidate, all of which badly damaged America's standing in the world, A large number of Americans believe America is culturally superior to the rest of the world. 53% believe the world would be much better off if countries adopted American values and American culture. 73% believe America has always been a force for good in the world, apparently unaware that nationalistic cultural chauvinism is rarely, if ever, a force for good, so far as other countries are concerned.

Despite the rapid recent decline in religious affiliation in the USA, 45% still believe America has a special relationship with God.
Generational difference in views of American exceptionalism
There are massive generational differences in views about American exceptionalism. Young adults are far more likely to challenge notions that the US serves as a moral beacon. Less than half (46 percent) of young adults (age 18 to 29) believe the world would be better off if more countries adopted American values and lifestyle. In contrast, seven in 10 (70 percent) seniors (age 65 or older) agree with this statement. Young adults are also far less inclined to believe the US continues to be a force for good in the world.
Nationalism by religion
Despite their supposed belief in the essential equality of Man (because God loves us all equally, allegedly) white evangelical Christian Americans are the most nationalistic and firmly convinced of American exceptionalism as God's chosen people. 76% of them are proud or very proud to be American, followed closely by white Catholics at 75% and white 'mainline' Protestants at 71%.

However, there are indications from Gallop surveys that this American nationalism may be falling and has fallen more quickly during the Trump years of 2016-2020, from a high in 2003 of 75% being 'very proud to be an American' to just 35% in 2021. The final point being from this American Perspectives Survey using a different polling technique to that used by Gallup.

Despite the pro-Trump tendencies of the strongly nationalistic American white evangelical Christians, there is actually very little in this survey for them to be proud of. Trump has left them with a deeply divided America with a deep distrust in the institutions that Americans used to take most pride in - their representative democracy where the government governed with the consent of the people, for the people and under the constraints imposed on them by a constitution that guaranteed this democracy through an independent judiciary in the form of the Supreme Court. The problem is that the consitution was originally conceived by mostly honourable people who assumed the elected representatives of the people would also be honourable people.

Trump has left an America deeply divided along race, religion and age on almost all fundamental political issues, with a large proportion of the population prepared to use force against their fellow Americans to impose their political values on the rest of society. And an America hugely diminished in the eyes of most of the civilised world. In attempting to turn his favoutite slogan - Make America Great Again - by putting America first, Trump succeeded only in making America smaller, paranoid and insular.

And saddest of all, an America where the simple truism that really shouldn't need stating in a decent, humanitarian society - that black lives matter - can provoke a violent reaction amongst extremist, neo-fascist white Christians and where under the leadership of a white racist would-be dictator, anti-fascism is now a term of abuse and regarded by a significant number of Americans as a threat to 'American values'! Racism and social stratification along skin-colour lines are now American values?

We now have the curious and potentially dangerous situation where a corrupt former president, who has just been found guilty of fomenting an attempted coup d’état by a majority of the members of Congress can be declared innocent because the vote fell 10 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed for a conviction. He is now free to stand for election again and the entitled extreme right has a figurehead they can coalesce around, supported by the white evangelical wing of the predominant religion who support the use of violence to impose their political will on the people.

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  1. What are the political ambitions of the people who are destroying Seattle right now?

    1. How should I know? Have you asked them? What would make it okay? Does it justify Talibangelical violence to create an American theocracy?


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