New polling shows that not only have many Americans failed to come to terms with the coup attempt at the Capitol building, but they already have things completely backwards. Nearly half of Americans – 47 per cent – blame “Antifa” for the storming of the Capitol. A third of Americans view “Antifa” as “strongly to blame.”
This is not just stunningly false vis-a-vis the events at the Capitol. Not only was the pro-Trump crowd filled with militia and white supremacists, but “Antifa” doesn’t actually exist. While there have been groups who believe fascist violence must be met with counter-violence ever since fascism has existed, there is no single “Antifa” network, organisation or leadership. Even the Trump-appointed director of the FBI has acknowledged as much.
Trump founded the narrative by blaming “Antifa” as a new bogeyman responsible for the looting and violence that supposedly characterised the Black Lives Matter protests of mid-last year. The Murdoch press has run with the story ever since, even mocking the masculinity of a supposed “commander” of the imaginary group for “crying and dropping to the foetal position” when arrested. This truly is politics from the reptile brain, as Hunter Thompson would put it.
What do Americans believe about the storming of the Capitol?
So how bad is the situation? A majority – 53 per cent – of white Americans blame “Antifa” for the violence at the Capitol. White Americans who think “Antifa” are “strongly to blame” number 35 per cent.
The numbers are slightly worse again among Republican voters. Of them, 49 per cent pin the storming of the Capitol entirely on “Antifa,” while a further 19 per cent see “Antifa” as “somewhat to blame.” Democrat congresspeople are responsible for the violence, according to 61 per cent of Republicans.
Only 16 per cent of Republicans support Trump being impeached for his attempt to overturn the election result. Two-thirds of them “do not trust the electoral process in the U.S.”
As we also reported after the election, the new polling shows that contrary to popular opinion, a college education does not make people more liberal and progressive. The college educated were no less likely to blame Antifa for the violence on 6 January than anybody else.
It is theoretically possible to have civil debate based on a set of agreed upon truths. The facts are discernible. Yet for most people – at least in the United States at this point in time – what they experience as truth and knowledge are entirely the product of political power.