This is the article that appeared in the September 2023 edition of Catalyst, our monthly journal. The date that prints out reflects the day that it was uploaded to our website. For a more accurate date of when the article was first published, check out the news release, here.
There are extremists in both the Republican and Democrat parties, and some support violence to achieve their goals; this is true even among some self-described independents. But the enthusiasm for violence is clearly more popular among Democrats.
In a large survey recently released by the Chicago Project on Security & Threats, which is affiliated with the University of Chicago, researchers tapped hot button issues for Republicans and Democrats, seeking to measure support for violence. For Republicans, the issue was Trump; for Democrats it was abortion.
The report, “Dangers to Democracy,” found that 6.8 percent of Americans agreed that “the use of force is justified to restore Donald Trump to the presidency.” Among Republicans the figure was 9.5 percent. It also found that 12.3 percent of Americans agreed that “the use of force is justified to restore the federal right to abortion.” Among Democrats, the figure was 16.4 percent.
The Democrats were also more likely than Republicans to favor using violence to attain other goals.
One in four Democrats (25.6 percent) say “the use of force is justified to protect the voting rights of Black Americans and other minorities.” But when it comes to using force “to prevent the teaching of CRT [critical race theory] in schools,” far fewer Republicans (14.6 percent) were inclined to violence.
Among Democrats, 16.3 percent are in favor of using force “against the police to prevent police brutality against Black Americans and other minorities.” When Republicans are asked if the use of force is justified “to preserve the rights of whites,” 9.9 percent agree.
The inescapable conclusion is that Democrats are more comfortable endorsing violence to accomplish their goals than Republicans are in achieving their ends.
It is striking that neither the authors of the report, nor the media who covered this story, decided to highlight this conclusion. Indeed, an article by The Hill on the survey only mentions Republicans who support violence over the treatment of Trump, never mentioning that hot button issues for Democrats elicit more support for force. Sometimes it’s not hard to connect the dots.