Does hate speech–rhetoric that targets, vilifies or is intended to intimidate minorities and other groups in society–fuel domestic terrorism? This question is, unfortunately, relevant given the convergence of the use of hate speech by political figures and domestic terrorist incidents in a variety of countries, including the United States. In this study I theorize that hate speech by politicians deepens political polarization and that this, in turn, produces conditions under which domestic terrorism increases. I test this proposition using terrorism and hate speech data for 135 to 163 countries for the period 2000 to 2017. I produce two findings. First, hate speech by political figures boosts domestic terrorism. Second, the impact of political hate speech on domestic terrorism is mediated through increased political polarization.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Political Science and International Relations