Who Are the “Insurrectionists”?

Something called the Chicago Project on Security and Threats at the University of Chicago yesterday published a fascinating report on the “American Face of Insurrection” that looks closely at the demographics of the more than 700 individuals who were arrested for the dire events at the capitol a year ago. While the report is couched in the conventional media language of how the January 6 “insurrection” was “an act of domestic political violence unprecedented in US history since the US civil war,” the findings of the report run sharply contrary to the media and Democratic Party cliches.

If you look past the boilerplate verbiage, there are some real stunners. Let’s start with some of the summary language:

The Capitol Hill insurrectionists are far closer to the mainstream – the US electorate – than right wing violent offenders on every socio-economic variable aside from race, gender, and retired. Although the insurrectionists – who are all pro-Trump activists –mirror the characteristics of Trump voters in many cases, they are not simply a cross-section of Trump voters. 

In other words, a lot of the people storming the capitol on January 6 cannot be described as mere right-wing extremists. What does this mean in detail?

 The different age distribution tells us two important things about the insurrection as a broader movement. First, that the movement is led by Millennials and Gen X, with the aging Baby Boomers (between 57 and 75 in 2021) well represented in the electorate staying out. Second, and related, Baby Boomers are not leaving the Republican Party altogether as nearly half of Trump voters are over 55, they just are not participating in this brand of American right-wing movement. . .

The political movement evolving out of the insurrection represents the development of a younger right-wing ideology that is not attracting the strong conservative base among the older generation. 

Nice to see that Baby Boomers are the villains of the piece. And if the energy of so-called “insurrection” is mostly among younger people, well it means liberals are in for several tough decades ahead. This figure is interesting:

 Education status is known for 438 of the 716 charged insurrectionists (61%). Figure 6 below shows that 25% of the insurrectionists have a four-year college degree. Only 1% are high school dropouts – lower than the electorate and certainly much lower than right-wing extremists. The college rate closely resembles the percentages of the US electorate and Trump voters as a whole and is far higher than the rate of college education among right-wing extremist offenders. 

• Think the “insurrectionists” are all Proud Boys and other fringe groups? Guess again:

Affiliation with extremist groups such as the Proud Boys, militias like the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, and gangs like the Aryan Brotherhood is available for all 716 individuals charged for breaching the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 (100%). As displayed in figure 8 below, far fewer insurrectionists belonged to militias when compared to Right-wing extremist arrests between 2015-2020. 48% of right-wing extremist arrests between 2015-2020 belonged to a militia or group, while only 13% of insurrectionists in 2021 belonged to a militia or group. 

Here is the real stunner: a high proportion of “insurrectionists” came from urban areas, not the rural areas composed of “deplorables”:

Since Trump’s voters are famously rural, one might expect that the insurrectionists would overwhelming reside in the most rural counties in America. However, only 23% of insurrectionists came from counties that are more rural than urban, the national average of the 23% of the US population who live in this same classification. This means that the insurrectionists are an overwhelmingly urban phenomenon. . .  The more rural a county, the lower its rate of sending insurrectionists.

Finally, this chart, derived from a model the report developed, will be taken as an indication of “racism” among the “insurrectionists,” but if you think about it for a moment, it suggests that the Biden Administration’s relentless drive for open borders is going to drive a lot more mainstream Americans into opposition:

The author of the study, Robert Pape, writes in Foreign Policy today: “The insurrectionist movement is mainstream, not simply confined to the political fringe.”

No wonder the left is paranoid about January 6. If the people who objected to the messy election of 2020 are “mainstream,” the continuing Democrat-Media-Academic Complex drive to demonize them is going to push a lot more mainstream Americans to the right.

Can’t wait for the midterms.

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