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January 4, 2022

Who Were The January 6 Rioters?

Robert Pape, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago has collected data on the January 6 rioters in an attempt to profile them. He says the rioters were not fringe elements, but "mainstream" Republicans. Only 13% of those arrested are members of "skinhead gangs or prison gangs or militia groups or extremist groups, like the Proud Boys." Only 7% were unemployed, the national average. "[O]ver half of those who have been arrested are business owners, CEOs from white-collar occupations, doctors, lawyers, and architects." Two-thirds of them are over the age of 34. A quarter of those arrested have a college degree. While military veterans usually make up 40% of right-wing extremists, only about 15% of the rioters had military service. About 30% had prior criminal history, but that's less than half the usual rate among right-wing extremists.

52% of the rioters came from counties where Biden won the election.

Now, what else do those counties have in common? The No. 1 feature of the county sending insurrectionists, aside from simply the size of the population overall, is that these are the counties losing the most white population in the United States. The more counties have lost non-Hispanic white population since 2010—that is, between 2010 and 2020—the significantly more likely is the county to send an insurrectionist.

"There is a right-wing conspiracy theory called the great replacement, which says that white people are being overtaken by minorities and that this is going to cause a loss of rights for white people."

So Pape conducted a poll. He found "that 21 million American adults agree with two radical beliefs: one, that the use of force to restore Donald Trump to the presidency is justified, and two, that Joe Biden stole the 2020 election and is an illegitimate president. That is, 21 million don’t hold just one of those beliefs—they hold both of those beliefs. It’s 8 percent of the body politic, but that’s really significant."

Belief in the great replacement "is head and shoulders the No. 1 belief that’s driving the difference between being in the 21 million versus being in the rest of the body politic."

What we see is in the 21 million, the No. 1 set of news sources are conservative mainstream news sources. Forty-two percent of the 21 million report that it’s Fox News, Newsmax, One America. That’s their major source of news. The next set of sources, 32 percent report that it’s liberal or centrist media like CNN, NPR, NBC. You might say, well, wait a minute—how could that be? Well, just keep in mind that we’ve known for a long time as scholars that when you watch news that you disagree with, it makes you angry.

"Only 20 percent of these people report that their main sources are mainstream social media like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and only 10 percent report that it’s far right social media like Gab or Telegram."

Filed under Politics,Public Safety | permalink | January 4, 2022 at 06:04 PM

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