Several recent polls disturbingly reveal many Republican voters have anti-democratic, fascist and authoritarian viewpoints. They have been so propagandized with racist lies about “voter fraud” and “election integrity” that they support attacks on democracy. Experts describe the political system Republicans want to impose as “competitive authoritarianism” or “managed democracy” — same as used by Vladimir Putin.
One poll found 46% of Republicans believe state legislatures should have the power to overturn the popular vote — specifically to nullify President Biden’s victory by giving electoral college votes to Trump. Less than a third believe the loser should admit defeat and respect the outcome. An earlier poll found Republicans — especially Trump supporters — are willing to reject democracy and embrace authoritarianism, if it means white people will remain the dominant, most powerful group in the US.
Other research shows almost 40% of Republicans are willing to support political violence if they deem it necessary to protect “America’s traditional way of life.” Thanks to the big lie, 70% of Republicans believe Trump is still president and Biden is a usurper — 30% are convinced Trump will be “reinstated” as soon as August, even though it’s legally impossible.
Another poll shows 21% of Republicans support Trump’s “coup attempt” but 30% describe “those who stormed the Capitol” as “patriots.” Yet another one found more than a quarter of “conservatives” believe the Jan. 6th attackers were protecting the government — not undermining it. A majority believe Biden won due to widespread fraud, and a slim majority admitted they were more likely to believe Trump than US judges. It also found 26% of Americans qualify as highly right-wing authoritarian (RWA), and that US conservatives have stronger RWA tendencies than those in Australia, Canada or the UK.
President Biden believes improving infrastructure, creating good jobs, and raising the standard of living for the majority of Americans will show them true democracy works, and that may well be true. But in the meantime, given these statistics, there is no way Senate Republicans are going to agree to any voting rights legislation or ban on partisan gerrymandering in significant enough numbers to overcome the filibuster, if at all. If Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema don’t come around, at a minimum Republicans will steal the House through aggressive gerrymandering. We must ramp up the pressure!