The wrong in the right: the recent spike in Conservative extremism


Courtesy of NPR, CNN, Getty, AP, Shutterstock, Reuters, ReAwaken America Tour

Since 2020, the amount of Conservative extremism in the United States has spiked—showcasing a disturbing trend. Through events like the ReAwaken America tour and Insurrection Day, the negative side effects of radically partisan views appear in damaging ways. “I think there’s definitely an issue with conservative extremism lately based off a lot of factors, but mostly with the concerning amount of white supremacist groups that have actually gotten the backing of conservative politicians, like Jan 6th and the Proud Boys,” magnet sophomore Rory Pulley said.

Ciara Whimbush, Reporter

In April 2021, former national security advisor Micheal Flynn and business coach Clay Clark created the ReAwaken America tour, a gathering fueled by a right-winged love for conspiracy theories, God and Donald J. Trump. The program aims to inform the country of the truth behind the Covid-19 pandemic and the 2020 election. For an event that preaches about said truth, it also promotes content and people who harbor harmful viewpoints. With the Bible as their script and crowds of thousands as their army, the ReAwaken tour stands as another notch in the bedpost of conservative extremism in the United States since 2020. The themes of election denial, the Capitol insurrection and the villainization of Christianity continue to plague the far-right, potentially leading them and the future of America’s democracy down a daunting path. 

The ReAwaken America tour features numerous prominent figures in the right-wing political orbit, from pastors and government officials to sheriffs and doctors. Despite careers that paint an esteemed picture, numerous speakers on the tour exhibit problematic or damaging behavior and ideologies along with harboring ties toTrump. 

The two founders of the program personally know controversy as well. In late 2017, Flynn confessed to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) over his correspondence with an ambassador to Russia and later received a pardon from the former President: POTUS. In 2020 Clark, a vocal Covid-19 conspiracy theorist helped lead a lawsuit against Tusla, Oklahoma’s mask mandate claiming the protective devices caused more harm to one’s health than benefit. 

The ReAwaken American tour continues to reiterate common trends seen in the far-right within the last two years, including the same red-hot passion as their predecessors. During the recent presidential election, Trump and Joe Biden ran during the peak of political tensions in the country. The 2020 election witnessed the greatest amount of voter turnout in the 21st century, and former Vice President Biden took the greatest office in the land. Throughout the subsequent weeks after the election, numerous Trump supporters rejected the results of the vote, as they did not rule in their favor. Conspiracy theories around the ways in which the election ran ranged from the WiFi in a voting location altering the votes, to accusing a poll worker of tampering with ballots. In May 2021, 53 percent of the Republican party still believed Trump held the title of President, due to the lack of a great red wave during the 2022 US midterm elections. Members of the Grand Old Party (GOP) felt skeptical about a potential 2024 run for the real estate mogul. Regardless, Trump announced his bid for presidential re-election, as promised Tuesday evening, November 15.

January 6, 2021, the American people experienced a modern brush with a coup d’etat when thousands of Trump supporters raided the nation’s capital building housed in Washington, DC. Based on a timeline of events created by NPR, a speech from a rally Trump hosted at noon the same day served as the spark which ignited the insurrection. Former President Trump reinstated beliefs from the crowd of a “stolen election,” expressing disbelief at the sheer idea of Biden surpassing him in votes. His words laced with poorly placed passion engendered the crowd and started a right-winged forest fire.


Rioters rampaged the capitol building armed with baseball bats, American flags and a demented sense of nationalism, ready and willing to kick, punch and scratch their way through the building in the name of Trump. The events of the capitol insurrection took place the same day the joint session of Congress occurred to total up the electoral college votes from the 2020 presidential race. In the act of attacking the capital building, rioters also endangered the lives of several elected officials inside. After officials found safety in bunkers, rioters eventually entered the Senate Chamber and offices of individuals such as  Nancy Pelosi. In the year following the events, a trial was launched to investigate and convict contributors to the event from July 27, 2021. Despite the outcomes of the still ongoing trial, several Republicans maintain the idea that the events of the capital came from a place of patriotism, not purgatory. 

The ideology of the separation of church and state holds decades-long ties to democracy. Despite this, Americans bore witness to the downfall of mixing God and government with the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision to overturn Roe vs Wade in June 2022. Decided back in 1973, the jurisdiction federally protected an individual’s access to abortion and contraceptives. The six Supreme court justices who voted to repeal the legislation politically lean towards the Conservative party, who infamously disagree with the rules of Roe. The justices believe life begins at conception, but this idea does not hold true for members of other faiths, or people who do not follow religion at all. By restricting all Americans’ rights to their bodies, an act of religious intolerance occurs; every citizen can not live by the guidelines of one religion or another. This augments the long-standing relationship between the far-right and religion, as Christianity plays a major role in the party’s political actions. Through the years, conservatives utilized the Bible as a backing to project hateful ideas, such as homophobia. While not all Christians or conservatives harbor these damaging  perspectives, the correlation between these two damages all parties involved. 

“I believe they’ve [religion and politics] become more aligned [in recent years]. We’ve seen political decisions defined by religious text which I believe isn’t right. I believe America is more tolerant of religion if we’re comparing it to other countries, but the relationship is rocky because there is still a divide within. We see constant religious microaggressions and hate crimes, but we still have the freedom of expressing our religions and have areas that respect certain religions,” sophomore Jazzy Mitchell said. 

Supporters and enablers of the spike in conservative extremism uphold the idea that all acts committed out of perceived hate come from a place of political expression. The justification for discrimination comes from the idea that American citizens possess the right to express their political views, regardless of their party lines. However, projecting views on policies does not stand as synonymous with detesting groups of people and committing violent acts. Believing that loathing ways of life become justified by how one leans in the government spectrum will never rectify. Appropriate ways to practice politics only occur when everyone, no matter their party line, treats one another with respect. 

Above all, conservative extremism helps endanger the democracy of the US. Fueled by hate and intolerance, this only creates a false idea of the political party and politics in general. When the substantial voices of a group sound loud and wrong, they incorrectly represent all members. American citizens, no matter how they fall on the political spectrum, must listen to one another and go beneath the surface of the loud and wrong members of either side. Through acts as small as talking and listening, the damaging impacts of extremist opinions can and will end.

“Unfortunately, I feel like many people have become discouraged by the election process because of the constant questioning of winners and losers.  Too many politicians are unwilling to admit when they have lost and then cast doubt on the election process.  Our leaders should graciously accept their victory or defeat.  Instead, it is used as another political ploy to make the other side look bad.  There is obviously no perfect way to run a country, but I believe that when more people vote, you are going to have a stronger democracy because people are taking an active role in their government.  We have seen record numbers of votes cast during the last few election cycles and I believe this shows people are interested in what is going on and are taking their civic responsibility seriously.  Even with the issues we have, I feel like people have faith in their fellow Americans to uphold the values that our country stands for,” sociology teacher Samuel Fraundorf said.