The “Student Blog Post” series invites students from my PLS 321: Electoral Process course to author their own blogs about recent election events.
There has been a deep and distributing rise in hateful and discriminatory language coming from the so-called “alt right”. Many say that this rise is in direct correlation to the election of Donald Trump and it is not hard to see why this may be true. Since Donald Trump’s shocking victory on November 8th, there has been a soaring increase in reported hate crimes across the United States. The Southern Poverty Law Center has reported about 700 cases of hateful harassment or intimidation since the election. Similarly, the FBI estimates that since the election of Donald Trump, hate crimes have risen in the United States by about 67 percent, with most of the hate crimes being directed towards Muslim Americans.
Identity Politics is now once again front in center in the discussion as to how different groups of people should have the right, or not, to further their cause (whatever that cause may be). Conservatives continue to blame liberals for this, saying that Neo-Nazism is on the rise in America because the left has embraced identity politics. Nonetheless, I think it is important to note that even before the results of this election, people who believed in this type of discriminatory behavior were already in this country. The rise of Donald Trump is not responsible for creating Neo-Nazis, but it is in fact responsible for giving such groups a platform on which they can make their voices heard. Much of the rhetoric during Donald Trump’s campaign is another source at fault. Trump’s anti-immigration and anti-Muslim sentiment during the campaign has given a sense of legitimacy to people who desire to espouse similar beliefs. We now see that discriminatory groups are no longer scared to voice their ideology out in the open, for they believe the results of the election have given them validation that they did not have before. It is also very troubling to see how the media has handled this. The media continues to refer to Neo-Nazis and similar groups as “alt right”, which in a sense, ends up normalizing this type of behavior instead of combating it.
As discussed in class, ideological divides within the electorate stem from the IPP. Because of this, people tend to be influenced based on 3 things; region, religion, and class. In this situation, the rise of hateful groups can be attributed to the regional aspect. Much (but not all) of the people who tend to espouse an ideology similar to that of Neo-Nazism tend to reside in rural America, with less diversity, where most don’t have any meaningful relationships with people who look differently than they do. This in-group bias leads many to have negative sentiments towards people who are different.
Antonio Navarrete is a fifth year Accounting Major with a Minor in Political Science at Cal Poly Pomona. He enjoys going to music festivals, playing video games, and traveling. He plans on obtaining his CPA certification in the near future and also plans to work as an auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP after graduation.