scroll to top arrow or icon

Political violence surges ahead of presidential election

Former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden.

Former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden.

Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters

An American researcher is warning of a growing risk of political violence in the US. Regina Bateson, a University of Colorado Boulder assistant professor, worries about “alarming” evidence of the growing threat in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riots.

In February, the US Marshals Service warned that threats against judges had risen from 224 incidents to 457 between 2021 and 2023. In August 2023, a Reuters special report found that the US was at its most polarized since the 1970s, with 213 cases of political violence since the Jan. 6 attack.

The US isn’t alone. In Canada, politicians are now facing growing abuse and threats, says the country’s national police service, which is calling for legislation to protect elected officials and go after those who threaten them. A recent report found that a rise in violent extremism is coinciding with “increasingly normalized” threats toward elected officials. In February, a handful of members of Parliament and federal ministers were even given police protection.

In the wake of the Trump criminal trial verdict, there’s mounting concern that political violence and threats may increase ahead of the 2024 presidential election. And as extremists become increasingly connected online – and offline – there’s a real and growing risk that those threats will all-too-easily cross the border.


Subscribe to GZERO's daily newsletter