CBS News/YouGov conducted a poll this weekend, and there is some disturbing news:
Three in four Americans think the jury reached the right verdict in which former police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder in the death of George Floyd, a majority view that spans across all racial, age and partisan groups.
That should be higher, but not too bad. But when they break it down by party affiliation, we get the numbers in the image above:
Reaction to the verdict among White Americans is largely related to partisanship. White Democrats overwhelmingly think the jury reached the right verdict, while White Republicans, like Republicans overall, are more divided.
That comes close to the number of Republicans who think Biden wasn’t legitimately elected (or at least, they thought that way back in February; I can’t locate any reliable polling on this question since then).
There was overwhelming evidence of Chauvin’s guilt and lack of remorse (or of any emotion, really). If he had been a civilian, his lawyer would have told him to plea-bargain. The only reason the case even went to trial was because Chauvin was a cop, and cops almost never get convicted even for heinous behavior. In this case, though, Chauvin’s own supervisors and the head of the police force testified against him. Even with all that, we all held our breaths as the jury verdict was read (I have a vivid memory of doing so!).
And with all that, 46% of Republicans said it was the wrong verdict. I am assuming the poll didn’t ask about each verdict, which means almost half the Republicans surveyed thought Chauvin didn’t do anything wrong (or at least, not that wrong).
I’m not happy with 25% of independents saying so, either, but that number isn’t so worrisome. The Republican number is significant because that’s the party that is actively, aggressively, seeking authoritarian control of the United States of America. And if they should succeed, this attitude is what they will install. (Yes, 46% is slightly less than half, but it’s the dominating half.)
This is yet one more example of how openly racist, how openly White Supremacist, how neo-Nazi (and no apologies to Godwin) the GOP has let itself become.
PS: One additional point I meant to include is that this is also an example of the increasing willingness of a substantial part of our population to divorce themselves from reality, and to deny that they are doing so. A functioning democracy depends on a well-informed citizenry.