Rising Concerns: One in Five Americans Consider Violence as Political Tool Ahead of Presidential Election

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Many Americans harbor doubts about the efficacy of voting alone in steering their country toward a positive trajectory. A recent poll sheds light on this sentiment, revealing that one in five voters are contemplating the possibility of resorting to violence to advance their political goals in the lead-up to the US presidential election.

According to the PBS/NPR/Marist poll released on Wednesday, 20% of US adults, with a notable 28% of Republicans among them, entertain the idea that “Americans may have to resort to violence in order to get their country back on track.” This perspective finds resonance with 12% of Democrats and 18% of independent voters.

These findings underscore a growing disillusionment with the US political system. Alarmingly, nearly three in ten Americans, including a significant 61% of Republicans, still dispute President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. An earlier USA Today poll this year revealed that over half of the anticipated Republican nominee Donald Trump’s supporters lack confidence in the integrity of this year’s electoral process.

A University of Virginia survey from last October revealed that 31% of Trump supporters and 24% of Biden supporters harbor doubts about the viability of democracy as a governing system, suggesting a willingness to explore alternative governance models for stability and progress. Additionally, more than 40% of Trump’s followers expressed openness to the idea of states seceding from the union to form independent nations.

The latest PBS/NPR/Marist poll also highlights that 41% of Americans believe the nation has veered so far off course that it requires a leader who is “willing to break some rules to set things right.” This sentiment is particularly strong among Republicans at 56%, but also resonates with 28% of Democrats and 37% of independents.

These trends indicate a volatile atmosphere as Biden and Trump prepare for their anticipated rematch in November. PBS aptly characterizes the current state of affairs as “an incredibly dangerous place.” Legal expert Barabra McQuade from the University of Michigan squarely places blame on Trump for exacerbating tensions and manipulating public fears for political gain. McQuade emphasizes that regardless of political affiliation, the notion of flouting rules and endorsing violence runs counter to the foundational principles of America.

In response, Trump and his supporters have accused Biden’s administration of forsaking democratic norms by allegedly politicizing the justice system to target political adversaries and intervene in the 2024 election. Trump himself has pledged to pardon individuals convicted in connection with the January 2021 US Capitol riot, referring to them as “J6 hostages.”


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