Remember the freakout earlier this summer over the Jade Helm military training operation? Remember how a number of politicians, all Republicans, pandered to the paranoid fringe that believed President Obama was finally going to unleash the United Nations forces on the Christian gun owners of America and send them to FEMA concentration camps?
Right-wing conspiracy blogs like Infowars and others had a field day riling up their followers with hyperbolic stories about the military taking over, while the rest of us laughed and pointed at the people who believed this nonsense.
I know that in the current news cycle (which is flogging the story of Kim Davis for every last bit of ratings) the Jade Helm story seems like ancient history; but once upon a time, this was all people could talk about.
Anyhow, data and polling group YouGov decided to find out what percentage of Americans could imagine a situation in which they would actually support the American military taking over the government.
Republicans (43%) are more than twice as likely as Democrats (20%) to say that they could conceive of a situation in which they would support a military coup in the United States. Independents tend to say that they could not (38%) rather than could (29%) imagine supporting a coup.
The proportion of the country that would support a military takeover increases when people are asked whether they would hypothetically support the military stepping in to take control from a civilian government which is beginning to violate the constitution. 43% of Americans would support the military stepping in while 29% would be opposed. (Source)
While the idea of the military trying to take over our government may seem like nothing more than a holiday blockbuster action movie plot starring Channing Tatum, this poll shows that there are people out there that would support that idea, and they tend to be Republicans.
Why? Because the Republican base which tends to be older, white and Christian sees itself as being threatened thanks to America’s changing racial and political landscape. Don’t believe me? Look at how popular Donald Trump is right now in Republican primary polling. This is a guy who was endorsed by the KKK and Neo-Nazis and when asked to reject this endorsement said, “Sure, I would if that would make you feel better.”
Now that we have the first non-white president with an unfamiliar name and the Supreme Court has interpreted the Constitution in ways that they don’t like, it’s no wonder that 43% of Republicans could support a military coup. Based on the electoral college and increasingly hostile rhetoric toward minorities by Republican candidates and pundits, the chances of them ever taking back the White House through means other than force are highly unlikely.
This base is infuriated that the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare, that gay people can get married, and that they have to press 1 for English. They’re upset that white privilege, which is still very much alive, is being challenged by activists – many of them being white. It’s a safe guess that a lot of the 43% of Republicans who could support the military taking over the government also claim to be supporters of democracy and the Constitution, just so long as the two are working in their favor.
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