May 22, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Trump spreads false "assassination" claims as voters fear violence

A bar chart showing the percentage of Americans who say they do not trust the 2024 election will be free from violence. While Republican and Democrats are similar at 48 and 47 percent respectively, Independents lead them at 55 percent.
Data: Morning Consult; Chart: Rahul Mukherjee/Axios. Note: Numbers include respondents who said "not much" or "not at all"; States surveyed include Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Arizona.

New swing-state polling has revealed a rare — and alarming — consensus: Roughly equal shares of Republicans, Democrats and independents believe violence could plague the 2024 election.

Why it matters: Former President Trump and his allies have already signaled they will not accept the results of the election if they believe it's "unfair," reviving the type of rhetoric that helped incite the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

  • In seven swing states, nearly half of Republicans (48%) and Democrats (47%) say they do not trust that the election and its aftermath "will be free from violence," according to a Bloomberg News/Morning Consult poll.
  • 55% of independents said the same.

Zoom in: Temperatures are already running extremely high six months ahead of November's bitter rematch.

  • Trump falsely claimed Tuesday that President Biden was "locked & loaded ready to take me out" during the FBI's court-authorized search of Mar-a-Lago in August 2022.
  • The incendiary allegation whipped MAGA influencers into a frenzy, with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) falsely accusing Biden of "planning to assassinate" Trump.
  • The claims, which were based on a policy document that outlined law enforcement's authority to use deadly force, prompted the FBI to release a statement stressing that agents followed standard protocol.

Meanwhile, members of Congress were left shaken Wednesday when U.S. Capitol Police said they recovered two vials of blood sent to the Republican National Committee headquarters.

The big picture: Rising threats of violence are transforming American politics, the N.Y. Times reports.

  • More than 450 federal judges were targeted by threats last year, a surge of 150% since 2019, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.
  • U.S. Capitol Police investigated more than 8,000 threats to members of Congress last year, with recent Israel-related incidents prompting House Democrats to create a task force on member security.
  • A survey last October found nearly a quarter of Americans agree that "patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country" — the highest share in the three years that the question has been asked.
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