Peacock Scholarship

The Effects the COVID-19 Pandemic had on Right-Wing Radicalization in America

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Since the spring of 2020, there has been a massive cultural shift in the American political atmosphere. Many of the underlying political tensions that have been ignored have suddenly come to the forefront of American politics. Along with more mobilization of left-wing political factions, there has been a staggering rise in right-wing movements. The COVID-19 pandemic has in many ways brought to attention some of the severe inequalities our current system produces as well as its fragile state of it. The pandemic has stifled years of economic growth since the Great Recession, leading to millions losing their jobs. The pandemic itself has put a massive strain on our healthcare system and has led to hundreds of thousands of Americans dead, and many more with chronic side effects. All of us in some way have been affected by the pandemic, whether it be socially, economically, physically, or mentally. In times of societal struggle and strife, however, there are political factions that thrive on this mass anxiety and aim to use that in order to garner support for their cause. Such groups are typically aligned with right-wing extremism and white supremacy. What this paper aims to do is examine how white supremacists and right-wing extremists have adapted their propaganda and recruitment tactics to COVID-19 and took advantage of the mass anxiety that came as a result.

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  • 06/14/2022
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