OPINION: The “new right” isn’t going away

Justin Farris

Donald Trump is the reason that many Republicans have shifted their views further right in the last four years and change. He made ideas that were once fringe and outlandish not only mainstream but almost expected. There is something crucial about the consequences of Trump’s legacy that was pointed out to me in light of the recent storming of the capitol building by Trump supporters: these people are not going to go away once Trump leaves office. 

As many of us know, social media has led to increasing political polarization and the spread of misinformation. Now more than ever, people are encouraged to discard the arguments of many of their adversaries as insane, the ramblings of an angry fascist or a devious communist. I bring this up to make a point: the people that support Trump are, in all due likelihood, not going to move back to the ways of the former Republican party. Trump’s supporters have made inroads and impacts throughout the entire Republican party, and it won’t be the same even once he himself is out of the equation. 

In the long run, our president has, to an unprecedented degree, made much of the American public paranoid about the security of our elections, and his platform, intentionally or not, has allowed ever more violent and xenophobic rhetoric to gain more and more of a foothold in the rest of the American right. When Biden is sworn in, that doesn’t go away.

So we’re left with one burning question: what will happen to the millions of Trump supporters when there is no more Trump to support? Will they find a new figurehead or settle into a major component of the Republican coalition? There’s no way to tell for certain, but we can make observations.

For one, in light of recent events, it is obvious that there are elements within the Republican party willing to resort to violently assaulting the seat of government to get what they want. That’s a kind of anger that doesn’t easily disappear. I believe that what’s most likely is that these supporters will be left to stew in their distrust of the system and anger towards those they see as traitors and communists. The question that has scared me more than any other is as follows: what would need to happen before enough of these people are so angry that it’s no longer just a riot, but a sustained revolt? 

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