Dana Milbank shares the good news with us:
Preliminary new research from political scientists at the University of Maryland and Louisiana State University suggests that neither side is inherently more violent; about 10 percent of Americans, equally divided between right and left, condone political violence, and only a tiny fraction of them are actually violent.
But the researchers also found that when those prone to violence were read a statement by either Biden or Trump condemning violence, they became 20 percent less likely to support political violence. The more partisan, the greater the effect. “Without a message of anti-violence, the strong partisans are more violent,” Lilliana Mason, an associate professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland, tells me. …
Trump, who likes to say his supporters are “much tougher” than the other side, has routinely spouted violent notions. “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” “Vicious dogs.” “Dominate the streets.” “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” “Knock the crap out of them.” “Very fine people on both sides.” “I’d like to punch him in the face.” “Enemy of the people.” “Any guy that can do a body slam, he is my type.” “The audience hit back. That’s what we need a little more of.”
The potential for political violence has grown as parties polarized by race and racial attitudes. Only leaders’ restraint has avoided a conflagration up to now. But Trump has unleashed the hellhounds, and it won’t be easy to stop.