White Deviance and the Far-right News Narratives Surrounding the Election.
Updated: Dec 21, 2020
The 2020 election has been an unprecedented affair in more ways than can be “fairly” counted. A global pandemic, highest ever voter turnouts, record mail-in ballots, and of course the President's continued refusal to concede the election to Vice President Joe Biden, the projected winner.
Deviance is described as an action that violates social norms. This includes formal rules such as laws or ordinances. Deviance, therefore, is an act of nonconformity. It is apparent that Trump's refusal to accept the results of this election is in fact an act of deviance as it disrupts a two-hundred-plus yearlong practice of presidential concession. Therefore, his supporters who still champion his presidency are in fact promoting this deviance as well. However, most of his supporters do not see it this way.
Trump has always depended on his base to perpetuate his narrative. However, since major news networks, such as Fox News, called the election for Biden, numerous Trump supporters have departed from mainstream news entirely. In a post-election poll conducted by the Morning Consult survey, Fox News’s favorability amongst Republicans dropped from 67% to 54% a week after the election. Instead smaller media groups are peddling election misinformation and growing in popularity as Trump supporters refuse to accept Trump’s loss. Far-right “commentary” channels have claimed that there was widespread voter fraud. This includes sites such as Just The News, Bongino Report, GatewayPundit, Andmagazine, One American News Network, Real America’s Voice, and Newsmax. Many Trump supporters believe Trump has a chance because the news mediums change the narrative around deviance in the US today. These sites systematically inspire fear indicating that there is some great threat in the BLM movement or groups like Antifa. These programs often will create a false narrative that violent protests may soon permeate into every suburb. This, therefore, increases the perception of black deviance. Using left-wing organizations as a scapegoat and further stigmatizing an ingroup and outgroup to the point where Trump supporters do not understand their own deviance nor do they suffer the consequence for it. This can be seen in the protests following the election.
On November 14, 2020, the week following the election results, thousands of unmasked pro-Trump demonstrators flooded the DC area. Many ripping down BLM signs outside of the White House. Not wearing masks nor social distancing in large crowds. A few individuals opened-carried firearms which are not permitted in DC. Police reports indicate that four firearms were confiscated in the downtown area on Saturday evening. This behavior, however, was tolerated by DCPD, and when compared to recent BLM protests or the protests following the 2016 election, a difference in law enforcement is apparent. Over the past few months, BLM protests have been met with pepper spray and rubber bullets. With this comparison, we begin to see the double standard of white deviance.
In conclusion, more people are becoming radicalized to far-right ideologies that frame black and brown individuals as deviant. Additionally, these individuals benefit from their white privilege. Movements such as the "Stop the Steal" march have and will continue to be held to a different standard than BLM.