Culture Wars/Current Controversies

The Capitol Rioters Aren’t Like Other Extremists

I always knew the Red Tribe would become more militant and determined to go down fighting as it continued to lose political and cultural power.

By Robert A. Pape and Keven Ruby, The Atlantic

On January 6, a mob of about 800 stormed the U.S. Capitol in support of former President Donald Trump, and many people made quick assumptions regarding who the insurrectionists were. Because a number of the rioters prominently displayed symbols of right-wing militias, for instance, some experts called for a crackdown on such groups. Violence organized and carried out by far-right militant organizations is disturbing, but it at least falls into a category familiar to law enforcement and the general public. However, a closer look at the people suspected of taking part in the Capitol riot suggests a different and potentially far more dangerous problem: a new kind of violent mass movement in which more “normal” Trump supporters—middle-class and, in many cases, middle-aged people without obvious ties to the far right—joined with extremists in an attempt to overturn a presidential election.


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  1. ‘The Red Tribe’ was able to mobilize 75 million votes for Trump so would question how much they are allegedly in decline. Neither Trumpism nor Right-Populism is dead or dying by any stretch. In fact, the policies of the Bidenites and their new neocon friends may strenghten it further.

    • I agree with all of that, of course, but big-picture wise I can’t think of any issue where the “cultural right” is getting the upper hand over the “cultural left.” I suspect Trump will give Hillary a run for her money as far as professional sore losers go, and it seems the populist-right is actually becoming the Republican base, pushing the neocons and Reaganites aside, and moving the party even further right. But it also seems like that with virtually every trend regarding every issue, things are going in a direction that favors the Blue Tribe rather than the Red Tribe. Whether that’s good or bad is obviously a separate question, however. The civil rights and sexual revolutions of the 60s and 70s are now the norm. Organized religion is losing influence. Even states like Mississippi are removing Confederate monuments and flags. I’m somewhat hard-pressed to find many parallel “conservative” victories. Maybe the defeat of affirmative action in the California referendum, although that was as much rooted in minority vs minority rivalries as much as the traditional WASPs vs minorities rivalries.

      • It seems like what the Red Tribe is doing is mostly holding the line at best. For example, the “Second Amendment sanctuaries” show that the cultural right is resisting further gun control laws (although not every pro-gun person is a cultural rightist, of course). It’s also true some of the “deep red zones” have placed more restrictions on abortion, essentially regulating it to death. But other places have liberalized abortion laws almost to the point of legalizing infanticide. Like I said above, I can’t really think of any issue where cultural rightists are winning. At best, they may be winning on issues where there is a lot of agree with libertarians (like gun control) or even some leftists (like homeschooling).

        • As I just stated in another comment on this thread, I do not think the main impetus behind Trumpism was a defense of ‘social conservatism’ and Trump’s past history and conduct made him anything but a standard-bearer for those ideals. Aside from re-imposing the ban on trannies serving in the military he did little to address concerns of social conservatives let alone try to roll back policies in place over the past 40-50 years.

      • While most of the Trump base would obviously oppose excessive social liberalism, particularly of the ‘woke’ variety, the culture wars were not the basis of Trumpism, in my opinion. What so frightened and angered establishment politicians and their allies in business, entertainment, media, etc was the populist aspect, and opposition to Wall Street, endless interventionism abroad, and the economic marginalization of large segments of the lower-middle and working classes. The potential of a radical, populist, nativist uprising against bicoastal elites gave the woke crowd nightmares and fueled their bitter hatred in return over the past 4 years. Trump or someone with the same charisma has the potential to win over significant chunks of blacks and Latinos with the right approach, a prospect thst gives many in our ruling elites, nightmares.

        • Yes, I totally agree with all of that. I greatly suspect the populist-right will eclipse the older Reaganite paradigm (to a large degree, it already has). The populist-left has a future as well. We see plenty of evidence of that now also. It seems like the left and right wings of the ruling class are being faced with populist insurgencies within the ranks of their own respective bases.

          • Given the levels of wealth disparity that are currently developing, I cannot imagine that there will not be serious economic populist movements in the future. The big question is what forms they will take and what kinds of alignments will occur. Trump’s Buchananesque populism is what got him elected president in 2016, IMO, because it allowed him to flip the Rust Belt. His failure to be more of a populist as president is what cost him reelection, at least to a large degree. And these MTG types have moved way past Trump’s Buchanan/Perot/Steve Salier “right-populism” into Alex Jonesy territory. Both the mainstream Trumpists and the fringier QAnon/conspiracy type have given the neocons and Reaganites a run for their money which has been a wonderful sight to behold, whatever its other limitations. The same thing is happening on the other side of the spectrum, of course, with more and more Squad types getting elected this time around and with a greater number of mavericks in the primaries last time.

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