The Idea of Political Violence Gaining Traction With Biden/Democratic Supporters Should NOT be Surprising to TYT Viewers (And What We Can Do About It)

Even if we consider the fact that Biden/Trump supporters do not necessarily correspond to being progressive/conservative respectively, there is more to the idea of supporting political violence than political views.

If we examine what we have learned about the radicalization of individuals in respect to terrorism, we can actually see why these political factions might be becoming radicalized.

Individuals without a clear ideology might be susceptible to radicalisation might show interest in multiple extremist ideologies at the same time (many political ideologies are extremist or becoming such), switch from one ideology to another over time (democracy as an ideology might be seen as a corrupt ideology if its implementation is flawed and/or corrupt), target a ‘perceived other’ of some kind (perhaps based on political ideology), show an interest in anti-establishment ideas or other conspiracies which might act as gateway to radicalised thinking, and might be drawn into the idea of political violence out of a sense of duty, or a desire for belonging, rather than out of any strongly held beliefs.

Radicalization is different for every individual, and it can take place over a long period, or it can happen quickly. Factors could include things like being a victim or witness of crime, abuse or bullying, or having personal or emotional difficulties. Certain influences from family and peers or online connections (which could include media personalities), may make someone more susceptible to radicalisation.

Risk factors could include an individual feeling isolated, feeling that they do not belong, feeling that they have no purpose, feeling that their aspirations are unmet, feeling anger or frustration, feeling a sense of injustice, feeling confused about life or the world, feeling real or perceived personal grievances. The very real consequences of factions with extreme political ideologies enacting their policies and persecuting minority groups could very well lead to anyone understandably experiencing these feelings and/or thoughts, and justifiably so.

Also remember that, like extremist or terrorist factions, progressive and liberal groups offer a sense of community and a various support networks, promise or infer a sense of fulfillment, make their members feel part of a wider mission, may offer inaccurate answers or unintended falsehoods, promote an ‘us vs. them’ mentality, blame (sometimes justifiably) specific groups/factions for grievances, and possibly unintentionally encourage a sense of superiority.

As you can see, the risk factors and experiences one has that leads to radicalization are those that any of us may have likely experienced.

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The “National Strategy on Countering Radicalization to Violence” from the government of Canada points out that “It is important to recognize that radicalization, or having radical thoughts, is not illegal or necessarily problematic in and of itself”, as well as explaining that “Radicalization to violence occurs when a person or group takes on extreme ideas and begins to think they should use violence to support or advance their ideas or beliefs.”.

While it might seem hard to link the ideas of radicalization to individuals with left or centrist political ideologies doing such, we must remember that many political factions calls to oppose harmful or extreme political factions, this can come across and feel like a call to arms, and the struggle to oppose such could feel like metaphysical combat/battle, and that a significant portion of members of left or centrist political factions may not subscribe strongly with these factions ideologies. While standing with such actions, any individual can be left feeling attacked and persecuted, especially if extreme factions are attacking and persecuting them for being in and/or agreeing with those factions.

Remember that, while those with progressive and liberal ideologies would never be radicalized to violence, only 17% of americans consider themselves liberal and only 7% of americans consider themselves very liberal (in 2021), so the majority of Biden supporters would consider themselves to be moderate, conservative, and/or very conservative. If we are generous in our assumptions, and assume that Biden still has the support of 83% of progressives (seems unlikely), and look to current polls and assume Biden and Trump each have support from approximately half the voters, than Bidens liberal/progressive supporters are still in the minority among Biden supporters.

Surprisingly, preventing radicalization is not that complicated, involving promoting awareness of radicalization, encouraging improvement of critical thinking skills, challenging extremist ideas, and promoting safe spaces and activities for meaningful socialization. This likely means that progressive and liberal groups and organizations should, for the most part, continue operating as they currently do, adjusting their practices for the failing to help prevent radicalization.

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While, in practice, the practice of politics seems to be pitting progressive/liberal factions against conservative/extremist factions, members of progressive/liberal groups are not neccessarily progressive, or liberal, or may very well be defectors from conservative or extremist factions. To engage in politics as an “us” versus “them” endeaver would ignore that there are likely many of “them” who belong to our “us” group, and to attack or combat “them” will also harm the “them” in our “us” group. It may seem counterintuitive, but the only way to effect positive change in others (including politically) is to engage with them positively and respectfully. While this is practically impossible with members of a faction intent on attacking and/or destroying progressives, liberals, or minorities, it is possible with most people, though sometimes dificult or very difficult.

Additionally, to accomplish anything worthwhile in any human system, cooperation between a significant portion of the members of any such system is required, whether such cooperation is gained by persuasion, deceit and/or coercion. This means that, for liberals and progressives to achieve anything politically, cooperation would still be required from a significant number of moderates, conservatives, and/or any other faction with major differences from progressives/liberals. To approach anything politically as progressives versus the establishment (as an example) ignores the very real fact that progressives are a minority in America, and has no foundation to succeed.

Currently, party platforms exist as a tool to limit the members of any particular party to the policies and ideology of that party, and the members are coerced into such an arrangement because the party maintains the infrastructure for its members to get elected. Conversely, an independent is limited to the support for their policies that they can garner from members they can persuade to diverge from party lines to support them. As you can imagine, this leaves the voter that chooses any particular party to compromise some of their ideology as the party that serves them best, does not do so completely. Furthermore, should the majority of political representatives share a common interest contrary to voters in general, like corporate bribery to put corporate interests ahead of voter’s interests then that is what they will do.

Not surprisingly, such corruption, partisanship and lack of political agency cause voters to experience confusion, frustration, anger, and feeling aggrieved. While challenging harmful and/or extremist ideas is necessary to reducing radicalization, it becomes impossible to challenge such, when such is a normal practice of the status quo. Add the fact that american’s trust was broken when access to reproductive rights was overturned, no one should really be surprised that a significant number of americans think democracy is broken.

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Last of all, while no path is shown to reveal the way out of America’s mess, americans will become and remain helpless and impotent (understandably, because agency has been taken away from them).

It really should not surprise anyone that Abraham Lincoln’s example as a politician actually shows how america could extricate itself from its current political mess.

While most might assume that, going into the 1860 presidential election, that Lincoln was known to be an uncompromising foe of slavery, it was actually his chief opponent for the republican nomination, William H. Seward of New York. Lincoln likely won the nomination because he had not offended anyone in the republican party, was not considered a radical like Seward, and had also spent sixteen months speaking and traveling all over the North making campaign speeches for numerous Republican candidates. Lincoln was known, as he had gained prominence in the Lincoln–Douglas debates, had represented Illinois in the House of Representatives, and gained great notability with his February 1860 Cooper Union speech. Skillful political maneuvering by Lincoln and his supporters secured the nomination. The republican party platform was antislavery but moderate, opposing the extension of slavery westward (but promised not to interfere with slavery in the states), endorsed a protective tariff, a transcontinental railroad, and a Homestead Act that promised to give free land to settlers.

Not surprisingly, the issue of slavery and the promise of the Homestead Act platform (“Vote Yourself a Farm” campaign slogan) played a prominent role in the election. For context, promising free land to settlers would be sort of like a party in the curent modern era promising universal basic income.

Lincoln did not just randomly show up to the republican convention to ask for the presidential nominations. He had allies, and supported those allies with their campaigns. He established supporters to came to the Republican convention to deal, maneuver, and line up votes for him. Lincoln used the Cooper Union speech to show that the Republicans were moderates, and not the radical fanatics that the South and Democrats painted them to be.

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As president, Lincoln tried to build a multi-faction coalition, including “Radical” Republicans, “Conservative” Republicans, “Moderate” Republicans and “War Democrats”. Accordingly, Lincoln put all factions in his cabinet, and he exploited various factions mutual enmity, distributed political patronage, and appealed to the American people to manage the political factions. While considered by many to be USA’s greatest president, Lincoln’s accomplishments were due to Lincoln’s ability to draw upon the various political factions for votes, whether by persuasion, deceit and/or coercion. Similarly, any individual and/or political faction that wishes to rise to political “greatness” would have to do the same, bringing individuals together from all political factions to make progress on any particular political issue. Furthermore, due to the nature of platform politics, whereas platform politics prevents individuals of different factions from cooperating to accomplish political goals, Lincoln’s example demonstrates that a FEW very IMPORTANT political issues that the majority wants or believes in can be addressed politically when patform politics are set aside as the cost of accomplishing these very important goals.

The difficult lesson that we can take from Lincoln’s example is the fact that we will always need all the major political factions of any particular nation, as each major faction effectively represents the interests of a significant fraction of the nation’s population, even when they represent a minority. The idea that a major faction could be defeated and/or cast out is not, and has never been a realistic possibility, and is likely even more difficult when political corruption is thrown into the political mix. Considering this political reality, bipartisan and/or multipartisan (when parties are fractured) cooperation is the only way that the very FEW amount of IMPORTANT political issues (corruption, disenfranchisement, etc) will be addressed.

Essentially, and most importantly, all americans are going to have to start identifying the individuals and factions that hold the nation hostage, who would rather let the nation burn and/or be destroyed if their platform is not adopted in its entirety. All americans will have to start recognizing that this is bad for the nation, and accordingly, remove these individuals and factions from office. This unfortunately means that a significant number of americans would not have all the ideals and beliefs they hold dear adopted by the nation, but the majority of essential important political keystones will be enacted and protected. There is no reason that all americans cannot have freedom of expression, security of person, security life and provision of basic needs, and all other human rights.

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