The whole US political environment has been leading up to this... The 'balkanization' of news-information has lead people to believe completely separate versions of reality, and ignore anything that contradicts their own... and this has been happening for awhile. I personally think it's largely a result of the weakening and official disparagement of our public schools... more and more people aren't being taught how to read properly, let alone think critically. Politicians have clearly not been interested in fixing it, quite the opposite. But also the Great Recession & the Internet have weakened --if not destroyed-- many newspaper outlets, so traditionally trusted sources no longer exist. And now our populace is sufficiently under-educated and economically desperate... and boom: a strongman with simplistic solutions.
I worry that the road out of this predicament is long.
On the point about Milo Y... this is a worthy read: I Helped Create the Milo Trolling Playbook
. Effectively: They have weak ideas, but the more attention we give them, the more legitimate they seem... When in fact they are a collection of fools, who can easily be shown as such with actual dialogue.
Milo's a small minded man, with boring ideas, ignorant that his very own "movement" of spotty dorks would sooner gay bash him
than form a coherent ideology. It's easy to be the outrageous, hand-grenade-throwing "underdog"... but once you have any power, things start to fray pretty rapidly.
As for online harassment, there's two parts to it: (1) some percentage of the threats might be real, and thus all of them have to be seen has holding some potential of danger, and (2) their greater point is mental & emotional destabilization of the object of harassment. See point 1.
Are fringe personas and groups --coming from a place of political and personal weakness-- now emboldened to act violently? (( I consider online harassment a form of mental & emotional violence )). Clearly they are. What to do about it? I'm not quite sure.