“Intimidation of State and Local Officeholders”

New report from the Brennan Center:

Among the report’s findings:

  • 43% of state legislators have experienced threats within the past three years. 18% of local officeholders have experienced threats within the past year and a half. (p. 4)
  • Because of abuse, 39% of local officeholders and 21% of state legislators are less willing to legislate on contentious issues. Officeholders interviewed gave examples like reproductive rights and gun regulation. (p. 16)
  • Among local officeholders, more women and people of color than men or white people have been the subject of abusive language about their children and families. (statistics on p. 8)
  • Local and state officeholders said that abuse has made them reluctant to engage with their constituents online or hold public events. (statistics on p. 19)
  • 39% of local officeholders said at the time of the survey that the abuse lessened their desire to run for reelection. For women in local office, 48% said at the time of the survey that they were less willing to run for reelection compared to 34% of men. 12% of state legislators said at the time of the survey that the abuse lessened their desire to run for higher office. (p. 16)
  • More Republicans than Democrats have experienced an increase in the volume of abuseover the past few years. (p. 8)
  • Many attributed this to backlash within their party and for not supporting extreme policy positions
  • In interviews, many local and state officeholders pointed to the viral nature of social media as a primary contributor to the high levels of abuse they experience. (p. 15)
  • According to many of the local and state officeholders interviewed, the deregulation of guns has made the abuse they’re experiencing more dangerous for them and their families. (p. 14)
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