One Big Thing: Are you concerned about political violence in the United States?
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Recently, politically motivated violence against elected officials and US election officials has been on the rise. Politico reported that Anna Paulina Luna, a GOP candidate from Tampa Bay, FL received death threats from a political rival. William Braddock was recorded saying that he could order a Russian-Ukrainian hit squad to go after Luna. This has been just one of many instances by which political violence has become a normalized political tactic – a significant shift since Donald Trump’s electoral defeat in November 2020. His relentless false claims that the election was “rigged” against him has sparked a campaign to terrorize election officials and political opponents nationwide. Countless election officials, particularly in battleground states, have reported threats to themselves and their families since the 2020 election campaign.
Despite the recent uptick, political violence is not new to this country. In 2011, Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Gifford survived a mass shooting in which she was the primary target. As recently as last year, an armed militia planned to assault Michigan’s State Capital Building. Before this, the FBI foiled a plot to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer, the Governor of Michigan, and otherwise violently overthrow the state government.
Each example of political violence demonstrates the destructive effect that intimidation and bullying can have on our electoral system. If continued, the current trend of increased threats of violence will cause irreversible damage to American democracy.
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