| by Sierra Abukins

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2024 illustration elections
Illustration of ballot boxes in front of the U.S. Capitol building. (Credit: Created by Sierra Abukins using Dall-e )

As we enter a tumultuous election season, there is plenty to concern the researchers at our Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism (CTEC).

They recently published a series of insights highlighting key issues they are monitoring.

“It is not hyperbole to assert that the future of liberal democracy in America could be at stake in the upcoming election,” writes Matthew Kriner, director of strategy, partnerships, and intelligence.

The series highlights several trends:

  • Political campaigns mainstreaming hate speech—serving to legitimize both hate speech and action.
  • Extremism legitimized or perpetuated by governments, not just individuals and nonstate actors.
  • The biggest elections in Mexican history driving increased violence and danger for candidates, especially local ones.
  • The weaponization of both conspiracy theories and nostalgia to drive people to action and even violence.
  • Numerous narratives coming together into a single construct that aids the mobilization of individuals toward violence and society’s collapse.

“Election season is a time for action, to vote, campaign, and fundraise in support of one’s vision and values for one’s country and future,” writes Sarah Pollack, director of tech policy and strategy for CTEC. “But through the lens of these conspiracy theories and their weaponization, people can instead believe that the action they must take is a violent and countervailing one.”

Read Terrorism, Extremism and the 2024 Elections.