what makes a person Would you like to participate in a coup attempt like January 6th and fight or die for the politician even after losing? With elections looming in November, this is a timely issue for a divided country. A team led by social psychologist Amber Gaffney of California State Polytechnic State University, Humboldt, used research from people on the left and right before and after the 2022 election to make a case for national candidates. We grappled with the question of who puts people at risk. Both the United States and Brazil had their own versions of January, six months after the defeat of then-authoritarian President Jair Bolsonaro.
This study was published in 2023. Translational issues in psychological science Journal article surveys U.S. voters ahead of 2022 midterm elections. They found that people who said they would fight or die for a candidate had the following in common:
- They feel that either Joe Biden or Donald Trump represents what their party should stand for;
- They saw their political party as a unified group.
- And they felt that their group was deprived compared to others, such as members of other political parties or people who did not share the same religious beliefs.
In a statistical analysis that combined these factors, Gaffney and her team found that Republicans were slightly more willing to fight or die for politicians than Democrats. Another study in 2023 also found that about 8 percent of Americans surveyed felt it was very likely that political violence would be justified in the coming years.
“When you have a leader who is so representative of his group, almost like a figurehead, that leader helps communicate who we are,” Gaffney told me. When leaders say their group is being harmed or that they themselves are being harmed, “it becomes difficult to feel good about who we are.”
The U.S. survey results are similar to those of Brazilian voters obtained after Bolsonaro lost by less than 2 percentage points in the runoff between him and current president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Ta.
Gaffney said decades of research since the 1960s have shown that “feelings of deprivation increase anger and increase people’s desire to rally for the group.” However, a feeling of loss does not necessarily mean that one’s needs are not met. Gaffney noted that President Trump did not directly call for storming the Capitol in his speech, he merely claimed that he and his supporters were deprived of a fair election. “If a leader says, “We are being stripped of all these rights, especially the sacred right to vote,” we interpret that as “We are willing to do this on behalf of this leader.” can do.
For the politician’s supporters, even strong statements, such as Biden’s calling Trump a “loser… willing to sacrifice our democracy” at the year’s first campaign event, are registered as personal attacks. There is a possibility that Gaffney said Trump supporters’ response to criticism of Trump’s actions and views may simply be to do more for their candidate. “Followers see this as a criticism not just of the leader but of the group as a whole,” Gaffney said. “Then you’ll see galvanized supports.”