Why Are So Many Americans Willing to Support Hate & Division?

Thom plus logo Donald Trump has told us that only 9000 people have died of the coronavirus in the United States, that shooting an unarmed man in the back seven times is like a bad putt at golf, that protests are being led by an airplane full of black-jacketed "thugs," and refused to condemn a vicious murderer who killed two people and blew the arm off a third. Now, he is threatening the Mayor of Portland with federal troops again.

Which raises the question, is this the America the majority of voters want to live in?

A country where the police act as an occupying force and are immune to oversight or discipline? A president who pits people against each other based on their religion or the color of their skin? An administration that lies about science as over 200,000 people die? Corrupt former lobbyists in charge of virtually every federal agency? Cutting the Social Security tax so the entire program collapses by 2023?

If the polls are any indication, almost half of America is right there with him.

Why is this?

Is it that racism is so deeply ingrained in the white community that white people will regularly turn out to vote for politicians who use racial dog whistles? It certainly has worked for the majority of Republican candidates since the Democratic Party embraced the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act back in the 1960s.

The main subtext of Donald Trump's sales pitch, and of the Republican convention, was, "Black people are coming to move into your suburban neighborhood, and only Republicans can stop that." and there has been no meaningful pushback against that in the GOP.

Or is it that, as the nations sinks into deeper poverty and the American dream becomes more and more distant, that people are longing for job safety and economic security and are those more vulnerable to an authoritarian message?

Numerous studies show that conservative voters have more authoritarian tendencies, and that Trump followers are at the top of that list. For example, in a recent poll they overwhelmingly supported the military running the United States, which is about as police-state-authoritarian as you can get and completely inconsistent with America's founding principles.

Or could it be that it's both? That right wing media like Fox News and hate radio have succeeded in selling racial fear so effectively that white people with even modest racist inclinations are willing to embrace violence and authoritarianism?

Right now, nobody knows the answer. But the fate and future of both the United States and democracy around the world hang on our understanding it.



James Campbell's picture
James Campbell 3 years 41 weeks ago

I think Hannah Arendt has told us why:

"The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e. the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e. the standards of thought) no longer exist." – The Origins of Totalitarianism, New Edition with Added Prefaces (1951; 1973) p. 474.

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 3 years 41 weeks ago

I believe we are witnessing the outcome of intentional dumbing and destruction of education over several decades... shame!

Like... let's do trendy things... "what works is not fashionable"

Change for the sake of change then forms justification for one's position

rostasi 3 years 41 weeks ago

A real coincidence reading the two comments above because not only was I going to mention this trend, for decades, of purposely denying the general populace a good education, but that, also, I have a Hannah Arendt quote that I've had on my website for years:

“In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true. … Mass propaganda discovered that its audience was ready at all times to believe the worst, no matter how absurd, and did not particularly object to being deceived because it held every statement to be a lie anyhow. The totalitarian mass leaders based their propaganda on the correct psychological assumption that, under such conditions, one could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day, and trust that if the next day they were given irrefutable proof of their falsehood, they would take refuge in cynicism; instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along that the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness.”

DrRichard 3 years 41 weeks ago

Other commentators have spoken very truly about the dumbing down, the lack of clear logic, that infects so much of American popular thought. I can only add to that. Having taught in several lower-end colleges I will say that from my perspective science is very poorly understood by many high school graduates. That naturally leads to magical thinking and a total misunderstanding of how preliminary test results do not mean success (Trump is a prime example of both). It also leads to fear of the technological world, hence conspiracy theories and delving into fantasy--including ridiculous beliefs like alien bugs in your head (Scientology) and 5G causes Covid (QAnon). Naturally no real progress can be made if a substantial part of its population looks at the natural world like a football game and ignores a "score" it doesn't like (such as climate change). Exactly the same fuzzy thinking pervades many citizens' knowledge of history, government, economics, foreign affairs, etc. No democracy can long survive that.

avn013's picture
avn013 3 years 41 weeks ago

In an essentially bipartisan democracy polarization and division over a wide spectrum of social and emotional issues tends to a 50:50 result. This favors (in terms of votes) the originally perceived weaker (less votes) side. Once the balance is close to 50:50 almost anything (including minor rigging) can determine the outcome.

Biden and his followers need to embrace policies that are all inclusive. Find ways to make people feel welcome to joining their agenda. Does Biden want to use tough language, just to attract the support of few high profile Reps? Or is it better to outline a plan for education for all (including proper police training), health for all, minimum free time for all, jobs for al, accountability of people holding high level legislative, judicial and executive positions and give specifics of how many of these and to what extent will have been implemented by the end of 2021, 2022, 2023 &2024 (and beyond if successful).

Inflammatory remarks from the other side should be largely ignored and occasionally humorously dismissed. Focus on the important everyday stuff. Give people the freedom of choice and make them feel comfortable that they will be part if the deal even if they vote against it. That is the inclusive approach. As fir the leader of the other side, ignore him as much as possible. Come up with a funny nickname, but use it rarely and only if absolutely necessary. Criticizing something is a form of advertisement, i.e. propagation. One should push for his own beliefs, without being much concerned of the final outcome, especially when one wishes to be elected my a reasonable majority of close to 2/3 and not by marginally due to a few thousand votes

alis volat's picture
alis volat 3 years 41 weeks ago

Simply put by WIKI:

"Propaganda is communication that is used primarily to influence an audience and further an agenda, which may not be objective and may be presenting facts selectively to encourage a particular synthesis or perception, or using loaded language to produce an emotional rather than a rational response to the information ..."

The right thinks we are the emotional ones, and yet they harbor so much fear and hate. We need to keep exploring how their brains work, how they learn, and how to talk to them. Peace, love, and understanding is HARD!

No more trying to figure-out a sociopath. He has one agenda----I want what I want, and I want it now. He literally thinks it's his world, and we are his objects to get it.

whatabout's picture
whatabout 3 years 41 weeks ago

Thom, you live in Portland and you complain about the police? WTF do you smoke all day? Once again you are on the wrong side of the issue.

I find it interesting that suddenly the democrat politicians and leftie media finally got around to kinda-sorta condemning the fiery, "peaceful protests". The arson and looting and murders in the streets were all fun and games, but now the sympathetic politicians are worried because the violence is showing up in the polling and focus groups.

Even your completely clueless Governor Kate Brown is finally waking up to the fact this is hurting the democrat party.

Oops', this just in,

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler moving to avoid rioters targeting his home

It’s also worth pointing out how rioting only became objectionable once it threatened to hurt Democrats and not, say, those small business owners or anyone living in the affected cities.

Riding the SJW wave to the WH has backfired, and blm and antifa have mutated into an electoral liability for the Democrat brand.
The republicans have far too much on file and ready to counter these dimwit democrats quietly condemning the "peaceful protests" and then we have the Bernie Freeshit Sanders curled up in his closet still wiping the blood off his back from the stabbing once again given to him by the DNC.

One hell of a way to run a railroad.

Oh well, we can all look forward to more stupidity tonight.

Legend 3 years 41 weeks ago

Whatabutt, this is what happens when you have 30 million unemployed. The Republican Party only cares about the 1% and it will only get worse. You will be on the streets if Trump takes away your Medicare and Social Security as he is sure to do if he gets 4 more years.

YOHAN CHU's picture
YOHAN CHU 3 years 41 weeks ago

This has been happening throughout the generations. I know that Thom has mentioned about slavery is legal in this country many times. Here are some quotes from "The Corner Stone Speech" in March 21, 1861 by Alexander H. Stephens (1812~1883) to show where extreme far-right people stand:

"African slavery as it exists amongst us - the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization."

"The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the information of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away."

"Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery - subordination to the superior race - is his natural and normal condition."

"They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal."

"With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, s fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system........ The substratum of our society is made of the material fitted by nature for it, and by experience we know, that it is best, not only for the superior, but for the inferior race, that it should be so. It is, indeed, in conformity with the ordinance of teh Creator. It is not for us to inquire into the wisdom of his ordinances, or to question them."

"Our confederacy is founded upon principle in strict conformity"

"Thousands of people who begin to understand these truths are not yet completely out of the shell; they do not see them in their length and breadth. We hear much of the civilization and Christianization of the barbarous tribes of Africa. In my judgment, those ends will never be attained, but by first teaching them the lesson taught to Adam, that "in the sweat of his brow he should eat his bread," [applause,] and teaching them to work, and feed, and clothe themselves."

Did you know that Wall Street was a Slave Market Before it wa a Financial Center?

December 13, 2011 was teh three hundredth anniversary of the law passed by the New York City Common Council that made Wall Street the city's official slave market for the sale and rental of enslaved Africans.

Even after the discovery of a massive, 6.6 acre burial ground where Africans - free and enslaved - were buried, with thousands of individuals possibly still in the ground, their contribution to New York is and has been completely invisible.

Did you know? the first use of the name "AMERICA" was in 1507, when a new world map was created based on the explorations of Amerigo Vespucci (an Italian-born merchant and explorer) (1454~1512). It is his name - Amerigo - which eventually would be modified into "AMERICA" and given to two continents. Like Columbus, Vespucci suspected that he may have been looking at the long-lost Garden of Eden, the Earthly Paradise. The expedition found some gold, pearls, and emeralds, and captured some slaves for sale, but still was not very profitable.

Also, Former Governor of Alabama George C. Wallace addressed "Segregation Now, Segregation Forever" speech back in January 14, 1963.


George W. Bush said "axis of evil."

Hillary Clinton (former First Lady) (while her husband Bill was President) (back in 1996) described those black and brown males as:

"They are often kinds of kids that are called super-predators. No conscience, no empathy, we can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel." She apologized (back in 2016) by saying "Looking back, I shouldn't have used those words, and I wouldn't use them today." As you can see, their thoughts remain because she has that thought and philosophy (3 Strikes You're Out Law). You must be furious at her remarks.

Ronald Reagon said "we should have color-blind society."

Woodrow Wilson wrote sympathetically about Ku Klux Klan and described Southern Black people as an "ignorant and inferior race" who couldn't be trusted with political power.

Former Speaker of the House John Boehner said about governing, "It means working together. It means finding common ground. I'm not going to compromise neither on my principles nor I'm not going to compromise the will of the American people. When you say the word compromise, a lot of Americans gonna go 'ohhh they are going to sell me out.' So, I think finding common ground makes more sense. I reject the word." To simply put, right-wing people don't have a will to compromise or come to an agreement because they feel that they don't compromise with evil. And Republicans are better with coming tribal-based teams and loyalties (Jonathan Haidt).

In U.S. Education system, it only covers from 1492 (Columbus's arrival) and beyond. They completey thrown out the Native American History before Columbus's arrival from history textbooks. What do you expect after all the indoctrination? unity? togetherness?

Can you answer these 3 questions correctly (so that you weren't indoctrinated)?

1. What is America?

2. How many America(s) is/are there?

3. Who are Americans or How do you define Americans?

Answers should be:

1. continent (not a country)

2. 2 (North America & South America)

3. People who lives either in North America or South America (from northern end of Canada to southern end of Chile)

There is no American flag: there is United States flag.

As you can see, this is how people are speaking their tongues.

Why they support hate & division? it's their DNA (Separation, Segregation, and Division) and it is how they feel and define their way of independence. Simply put, they don't want to be around people with outside of their skin color. Because of this, there is a book called "The Color of Law" by Richard Rothstein.

What I've learned this year is that all countries around the world is doing similar things when they write their history: good things in, bad things out. From this stand point, I don't even know how much is true and how much is false since it is inaccurate or incomplete.

I'm sure that Thom knows more than me on these issues. I hope he bring some of things that I've mention in this post.

YOHAN CHU's picture
YOHAN CHU 3 years 41 weeks ago

Here are what "Native Americans" believe and practice:


Oh Great Spirit,

whose voice I hear in the wind,

and whose breath gives like to all the world,

hear my prayer

Let me walk in beauty through all my days.

May my eyes see sunshine freshness,

and sunset glory.

Make my hands respect the things you have made,

and my ears sharp to hear your many voices

I am small and weak.

I need your strength and wisdom.

Make me wise,

that I may learn the lessons

you have hidden in every leaf and rock.

I seek strength,

not to be superior to my brother,

but to fight my greatest enemy -


Oh Great Spirit, hear me.

Make me ready,

so when life fades to a last sunset,

my spirit will come to you without shame.

Sioux Indian Prayer

Great Spirit,

help me never to

judge another

until I have

walked in his

moccasins for

two weeks.

Cherokee Prayer


help me always

to speak the truth quietly,

to listen with an open mind,

when others speak

and to remember the peace

that may be found in silence.

Note: Whenever people call "Native Americans" as Indians in this country, I get offended by that since they are Americans (not Indians who lives in India).

vetinla's picture
vetinla 3 years 41 weeks ago

Damn, the Bots are active. What goes around, comes around.

Americans, by design, can no longer tell the difference between fantasy and reality.

Don't ya' just love it when a plan comes together?

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to hartmannreport.com - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Thom is a national treasure. Read him, embrace him, learn from him, and follow him as we all work for social change."
Robert Greenwald, political activist and founder and president of Brave New Films
From Screwed:
"If we are going to live in a Democracy, we need to have a healthy middle class. Thom Hartmann shows us how the ‘cons’ have wronged this country, and tells us what needs to be done to reclaim what it is to be American."
Eric Utne, Founder, Utne magazine
From Screwed:
"The powers that be are running roughshod over the powers that OUGHT to be. Hartmann tells us what went wrong — and what you and I can do to help set American right again."
Jim Hightower, National Radio Commentator, Writer, Public Speaker, and author of the bestselling Thieves in High Places