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The paranoid style is now completely mainstream

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MOBILE, AL- AUGUST 21: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets supporters after his rally at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on August 21, 2015 in Mobile, Alabama. The Trump campaign moved tonight’s rally to a larger stadium to accommodate demand. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)

White evangelicals, who make up by far the largest and most important part of the Republican party’s base, are now sealed off in an alternative universe where Spock has a beard and Donald Trump won the 2020 election:

The mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol may have been a fringe group of extremists, but politically motivated violence has the support of a significant share of the U.S. public, according to a new survey by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

The survey found that nearly three in 10 Americans, including 39% of Republicans, agreed that, “If elected leaders will not protect America, the people must do it themselves, even if it requires violent actions.”

That result was “a really dramatic finding,” says Daniel Cox, director of the AEI Survey Center on American Life. “I think any time you have a significant number of the public saying use of force can be justified in our political system, that’s pretty scary.”

The survey found stark divisions between Republicans and Democrats on the 2020 presidential election, with two out of three Republicans saying President Biden was not legitimately elected, while 98% of Democrats and 73% of Independents acknowledged Biden’s victory.

That Republicans have become a fringe group of extremists is something that’s basically illegal to point out, because as Kodos and Kang remind us it’s a two-party system, and you can’t have a sane party and a crazy party, because framing things that would be unfair to the members of the crazy party.

The level of distrust among Republicans evident in the survey was such that about eight in 10 said the current political system is “stacked against conservatives and people with traditional values.” A majority agreed with the statement, “The traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it.”

This is in one sense totally delusional: obviously from a structural perspective the system is heavily stacked in favor of conservative white people (see the Senate, the federal courts, Republican gerrymandering of state legislatures etc.)

In another sense, however, it’s true: the system is stacked against conservatives and people with traditional values, because any system that is even loosely reality-based is going to be stacked against people who believe the things that conservatives and people with traditional values believe, because those beliefs have been exposed as a pile of pernicious nonsense by the modern world, which is why these people hate the modern world so much.

And that’s another thing that’s basically illegal to point out, because of Feelings.

The AEI survey found that white evangelicals were especially prone to subscribe to the Q Anon movement’s conspiracy theories. Twenty seven percent said it was “mostly” or “completely” accurate to say Trump “has been secretly fighting a group of child sex traffickers that include prominent Democrats and Hollywood elites.” That share was higher than for any other faith group and more than double the support for QAnon beliefs evident among Black Protestants, Hispanic Catholics and non-Christians.

“As with a lot of questions in the survey, white evangelicals stand out in terms of their belief in conspiracy theories and the idea that violence can be necessary,” Cox says. “They’re far more likely to embrace all these different conspiracies.”

You don’t say. These people are so prone to embrace particular conspiracy theories because their basic world view is nothing but a vast and utterly delusional conspiracy theory, but again you’re not allowed to say that, because that would not be very diverse and inclusive now would it?

On one level this is all just a replay of the Scopes monkey trial a full century later, but now the fundies have a gigantic media apparatus reinforcing their bottomless addiction to nonsense, even as it drains their bank accounts with increasingly surgical precision .

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