“When Barack Obama won in 2008, there was an uptick in activity on the right,” Southers said. Membership in anti-government groups jumped more than seven-fold during the first three years of Obama’s presidency, he said, adding: “Now, the pendulum is swinging the other way, and these left-wing groups are getting more organized. They are online and communicating with one another.”
He noted that the left is particularly fueled by a simple fact: Twice so far this century, the left’s preferred presidential candidate got the most votes (Democrats Al Gore in 2000 and Hillary Clinton in 2016) but didn’t win the election, a quirk of the Electoral College system. Historically, when mechanisms of government don’t respond to popular will, some people turn to other means.