Why Political Religion Played A Huge Role This Election

Humberto Mendez Prince/Staff Writer

Political religion can be described as a belief system that relies primarily on the fanaticism its followers have towards a specific  political party or candidate. Other aspects that can better describe politically religious individuals are the demonization of opposing political views, unwavering denial of  a political loss and a blind disposition to their candidate, disregarding logic and common sense. Unfortunately, this extreme belief system is visible with sympathizers from both sides of the two major political factions and needs to be dealt with soon.

In the last 4 years, the role misinformation had on national politics was far more influential that anyone could have anticipated. The constant spread of false information made everyone question even the most reliable news sources, not even the President trusted the media. As a consequence, the comments he made bashing news sources influenced how people perceive politics and resulted in millions of people clinging to their political ideals no matter how flawed they were.  This created a great disparity between the two largest political parties and fed the beehive mentality many of these politically religious groups possess. 

Both sides of the political spectrum are not immune to being associated with politically religious groups, as a matter of fact, one of the few things these two political parties share is the blind loyalty of some if its voter base. However, there’s a significant difference in the number of politically religious groups associated with both parties; for one the Republican party has more connections to these politically religious factions but the Democrats have their own  record of reckless behavior. As such it’s worth mentioning the two main organizations most commonly linked to both political parties. 

Both sides of the political spectrum are not immune to being associated with politically religious groups

On one side,  Republicans argue that Antifa represents a radical faction of the Democratic party since their political ideals align more with those of the “left”. However, this anti-fascist group falls into its own politically religious group due to the fanatism and violence they display at protests. Despite conservative’s claims, the Antifa group has no affiliation with the Democratic party and even though their ideals might be on the same side of the political spectrum, the Democratic party has condemned Antifa in the past and members of the group have gone as far as to clarify they “hate” the Democratic party.

The Republican party on the other hand has found itself  involved in controversy regarding its followers and many of their acts committed during protests. One notable example being the Proud Boys group which has been linked directly to the President with the infamous “stand back and stand by” line Trump gave during a presidential debate. There’s a noticeable difference between these two groups and their respective party’s view on them, the Democratic party, which has been linked to Antifa, has declared multiple times their stance on the fanatic group and vice-versa. Whereas the President of the United States has made virtually no effort to clarify his position regarding the Proud Boys group.

Even though both politically religious groups are heavily influenced by fanaticism and political ideologies, the Republican side happens to be the one that sparks the most controversy since they are usually backed by the President.

 One of the clearest examples of political religion during President Trump’s tenure came during the pandemic, when a deadly virus was politized and even speculated to be false. Many right-wing Trump sympathizers have proclaimed that the virus was nothing other than a hoax and wearing a mask became a symbol of oppression for many of them. These actions will inevitably have a negative influence on the process of resuming normality due to the involvement of political ideologies in the public health sector which was a political bargaining chip used by the President against the Democratic party.

One of the demographics most affected by the politicization of the virus was the Hispanic community, which has the peculiarity of being one of the most vulnerable populations affected by COVID-19 this year. Despite this, there’s large sections of the Hispanic community that still stands by President Trump’s side despite his policies neglecting the lives of millions of Hispanics. 

One factor that played a major role in this was President Trump’s manipulation of Hispanics traumatic experiences back in their home-countries. The use of the word “socialism” when referring to the Democratic party contributed to the stigma many Hispanics have about the left-leaning party and led millions of Hispanics to believe that they were going to endure the same hardships they suffered in their countries of origin if they didn’t vote for the Republican Party.

 People who came from Cuba and Venezuela have the commonality of escaping from Communist regimes infamous for reducing their constituents’ liberties and human rights. These dictators preached socialism with left-wing policies but instead applied populist and communist policies. As a result, the Cubans and Venezuelans that escaped those regimes came to the US with the notion that a political party that centered their campaign on social policies was a socialist party and therefore a communist party in disguise.

That’s why many Hispanics see the Democratic party as a socialist party and in South Florida especially, they reject progressive policies and instead fervently follow the Republican party. Latin American dictatorships had such a drastic repercussion on Venezuelan and Cuban political views that it made them switch their whole political perspective where they now find themselves equally fanatic and devoted to the President on the opposing side of the left political spectrum.

In the last 4 years, fanaticism was the protagonist in many of the stories linked to President Trump. Strong emotions and politics are not a good mixture and in an ideal political setting, fanaticism would steer clear from politics. While this is easier said than done, I think that with Joe Biden’s presidency, the path towards transparency and common sense can be a possibility once more in the political climate of the U.S.  


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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