Uptick In Far-Right Ideology In Congress Contributed To Record Number Of Anti-Gov’t Extremist Groups In 2023

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Last year, there were more hate and anti-government extremist groups in the United States than ever before, according to Southern Poverty Law Center’s new report, “The Year In Hate and Extremism 2023.”

In 2023, SPLC documented a total of 1,430 hate and anti-government extremist groups in the U.S., according to the report. 835 of these were anti-government groups. That’s an increase of 133 or 19% from 2022. 

The record numbers of active hate and extremist groups is undoubtedly associated with the rise and popularity of hard-right ideologies, the report’s authors said.

Over the past couple of years extremist ideology has infiltrated a faction of the Republican Party. The emergence of more and more MAGA Republicans and far-right lawmakers in elected positions and the halls of Congress has caused a shift in the nation’s political DNA, creating an environment where anti-government rhetoric and extremism are often a daily component of national and state political news coverage.

“Increasing numbers of elected officials and influencers on the far right are turning to conspiracy and theocracy in their politics, finding particular support for these ideas in the Republican Party,” the report reads.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) is one of these lawmakers. Johnson’s ties to far-right groups and ideology has been well documented by the media. But the SPLC notes Johnson’s ability to rise to one of the most influential positions on Capitol Hill is illustrative of that shift.

Johnson has previously “mimicked white supremacist ‘great replacement’ conspiracy rhetoric,” according to the report. In 2016, he claimed the U.S. is a “biblical republic” and not a democracy. And, of course, in 2020, he supported a Texas lawsuit that tried to throw out the votes from four battleground states and overturn the results of the presidential election. 

Johnson was also previously a litigator and spokesperson for the anti-LGBTQ group Alliance Defending Freedom. ADF claims credit for helping overturn Roe v. Wade and ending constitutional protections for abortion.

“Speaker Johnson’s ascension, despite his association with the hate group and parroting of conspiracy, is testament to the level of influence these theocratic ideologies wield within the Republican Party,” the report reads. 

The influence between far-right lawmakers and anti-government groups is a “two-way street,” Travis McAdam, a senior research analyst at the SPLC, told TPM in a statement. 

“In some cases, officials literally come from antigovernment circles. That’s where they become activated and receive their political education. They then carry those antigovernment ideas and worldview into how they perform their duties after being elected,” McAdam detailed. “In other cases, antigovernment groups are able to identify and influence officials who are open to pieces of their conspiracies and claims. Both dynamics help explain how we routinely see ideas that originate in the antigovernment movement used as talking points by elected officials or as the basis for proposed policy.”

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Notable Replies

  1. Avatar for jtx jtx says:

    A Faction?

  2. Avatar for daled daled says:

    And those not actually IN the faction look the other way, so they are faction-adjacent or allies.

  3. The carcass of the failed state attracts a special population that feeds on death. Fascinating creatures.

  4. With an ideology of hate and it’s companions racism, bigotry, homophobia, revenge, and everything else pointing in all directions of the compass it’s easy to set goals and get things done because all their results are negative. They don’t actually have to work to govern, fix things, make progress on any front, they just have to be cruel at every turn. Humorless hypocrisy, a disregard for the truth in any matter, and a total lack of remorse is all it takes.

  5. And those congressional representatives that support this would simply accuse the rest of us of being snowflakes and that they and only they know what’s best for the country. If they can’t enforce their will by the vote, they’ll find other ways to make it so.

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