The number of civilian groups dedicated to defending the Constitution against government threats is falling– watchers say the trend will likely continue under the Trump administration.
The report, put out by the leftist Southern Poverty Law Center, says of the drop in the number of so-called patriot groups in the nation:
Earlier, the groups had skyrocketed from a low of 149 in 2008 to a high of 1,360 in 2012, in large part as a reaction to the November 2008 election of Barack Obama. Intensely focused on the federal government as its chief enemy, the Patriot movement swelled when the nation was led by a black man suspected of being a foreign-born Muslim and worse. But as 2016 progressed, Patriots increasingly grew hopeful that Trump would become the new face of the federal government.
In the end, the number of Patriot groups fell by 375, or 38%, plummeting from 998 groups in 2015 to 623 last year. Within that, militias, which form the armed wing of the Patriot movement, fell 40%, from 276 to 165 groups.
SPLC attributes the drop in the number of groups dedicated to defending constitutional values and serving as a buffer against creeping tyranny to a growing sense of comfort among some people on the right who believe Trump will keep government in check.
The organization referenced a piece published by The Economic Collapse Blog a month after Trump’s election to highlight the change in the mindset of some groups on the right.
“At this point there is an overwhelming belief among those on the right that Donald Trump is going to be able to do what he promised to do … It is almost as if the apocalypse has been cancelled and the future history of the U.S. has been rewritten with a much happier ending,” the post said.