Over the course of United States history, political parties have encountered a lot of challenges and have changed a lot as a result. This includes change within the structure and voter base of different groups within the party.
This fact along with increasing use of technology and the internet as a medium has led to many branches of the parties to either become larger or have enough power to split off and develop as their own entities. In some ways this is a good thing.
It allows for more transparent and efficient communication and allows for more of the population to politically mobilize. However if not properly observed and restrained a political group can grow dangerously.
Because of distrust in government and the establishment, an authority crisis and a loss of stability and security, many political groups have become more ideological, more homogenous and have allowed for less practical and effective discourse.
I can think of two groups that have just done that: the so-called “Alt Right” and “Regressive Left” – the “deplorables” of the political spectrum. The Alt Right refers to a collection of right wing ideologies that is mainly anti-immigration and anti- multiculturalism and is outwardly racist, sexist and xenophobic.
The Regressive Left refers to a highly progressive political pocket that is pro-multiculturalism and pro-cultural relativism and endorses trigger warnings and safe spaces in academic settings.
It is important to mention that both groups don’t call each other by these names and that the groups are not official per say, but that many individuals fall into these political categories. That being said both of these groups have very similar characteristics even though they are on complete opposite ends of the political spectrum.
Both groups consist of mostly millennials and operate largely on the internet. Both groups are also highly ideological, are anti-establishment and mobilize based on outrage politics, which can even lead to violence in some instances.
Both groups are arguably just as harmful. Both groups don’t allow for any thoughtful or politically sound communication as their beliefs are based off almost purely emotion rather than evidence.
Both groups have very bad victim complex cases and almost always outwardly hate anyone not in their group or who do not share the same views as them. Both groups do not produce any meaningful substance for academic and political discourse due to the fact that they largely mobilize through YouTube videos, online forums and memes.
Both of these groups are the result of an increase in ideological thought and an increase in use of technology and the Internet. Both groups have just as much potential to do lasting damage to the political and social environment of our country.
There are countless examples from both sides. Alt Right supporters, on the one hand, are one of the largest voter bases of Donald Trump. They produce a large amount of hate speech on the internet and even hate violence throughout the country, and almost outwardly call for white supremacy.
Regressive Left supporters, on the other hand, have had controversial situations in tolerating illiberal components of Islam. They have had spells in censoring free speech for the sake of multiculturalism within many academic communities and college campuses.
Additionally, they have had almost violent tendencies if the group’s values are not tolerated. This is clear in lieu of the controversy of a white male with dreadlocks being assaulted for his hairstyle.
I would like to conclude by saying that both groups have just as much potential to do lasting damage to the political and social environment of our country.