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After The Riot: The extremism that fueled the Capitol insurrection

The vast majority of those arrested on charges related to the January 6 Capitol Riot are not members of Right wing extremist groups, but do share some of their ideologies.
The vast majority of those arrested on charges related to the January 6 Capitol Riot are not members of Right wing extremist groups, but do share some of their ideologies.

The vast majority – nearly 90 percent – of those arrested in relation to the Capitol insurrection were not part of far right extremist groups or militias. Although their actions were extreme, their motivations and beliefs are part of a larger movement that University of Chicago political scientist Robert Pape describes as “mainstream.”

Pape and his team studied the demographics and beliefs of those arrested and the American public at large. He described his findings in The Conversation:

We have found that 47 million American adults – nearly 1 in 5 – agree with the statement that “the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump and Joe Biden is an illegitimate president.” Of those, 21 million also agree that “use of force is justified to restore Donald J. Trump to the presidency.”

Though only 13 percent of those arrested are part of groups or militias like the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, or the Three Percenters, those groups have helped sow the false beliefs that have taken hold.

How have those groups evolved in the year since the Insurrection? And what does it mean for the extremism that fueled the Insurrection to become mainstream?

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