The ideas that contributed to the insurrection on the United States Capitol a year ago are still alive and well, according to experts and recent polls.
About 8% of adults, or 21 million people, support the idea that the 2020 election was stolen and that Biden’s presidency is illegitimate, according to a study by the Chicago Project on Security and Threats.
A year after the violent riots, some reports show that many of these ideas have gone mainstream and the far right has gained a following.
“What we saw on January 6, and what we are seeing in the country today, is an insurrectionary movement that comes from the mainstream of the United States,” said Robert Pape, professor of political science at the University of Chicago and director. of the Chicago Project on Security and Threats.
Pape said the county is used to viewing far-right extremism and terrorism in general as something that exists on the fringes of society.
“When we look at the details of who broke into the Capitol, and also when we look at the millions who have sympathy for those who broke into the Capitol, we see a very different picture,” Pape said.
A study of the project found that of the 716 people who were arrested for breaking into the Capitol, 43% were white-collar workers and 26% were business owners.
According to the investigation, only 13% of those arrested were affiliated with militant groups such as the Oath Keepers or extremist groups such as the Proud Boys.
Odette Yousef, an NPR national security correspondent who focuses on extremism, said that even before the insurrection and in the last year there has been a shift in organization from the far right. Open organizing and online events have moved towards more decentralized and localized approaches.
An example of that change can be seen in local school board meetings where conflicts that are not necessarily election related have arisen, such as mask mandates and the teaching of critical race theory, Yousef said.
“We saw some far-right organizations inserting themselves into those local settings and finding audiences receptive to the disinformation that they have been spreading around the elections, and finding people that they could recruit for this notion of the need for political violence,” Yousef said.
The move can also be seen as an attack on voting rights, said Alvin Tillery, associate professor of political science and director of the Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy at Northwestern University.
It points to states like Georgia that have seen the passage of measures restricting access to voting.
“We are all seeing the Republican Party descend into an authoritarian movement, but the party continues to normalize by the media and by our culture, so people think ‘Oh, it really can’t happen here,'” Tillery said. “In my opinion, we are in the eleventh hour of our democracy.”