Introduction xiii In total, events leading up to and including January 6 included an exten- sive effort to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to certify the Elec- toral College result. The morning of January 6, just after 8 a.m., Trump tweeted: “States want to correct their votes, which they now know were based on irregularities and fraud, plus corrupt process never received legislative approval. All Mike Pence has to do is send them back to the States, AND WE WIN. Do it Mike, this is a time for extreme courage!” (Forgey, 2021, para. 2). In his speech, Trump rallied supporters in front of the White House, where he urged them to “never give up . . . never concede” (Naylor, 2021, para. 12) and “fight like hell” (Naylor, 2021, para. 259). He then instructed his supporters: “We’re going to the Capitol . . . to try and give [Republicans] the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country” (Naylor, 2021, para. 262–263). At Trump’s behest, many who attended Trump’s speech stormed the U.S. Capitol, hoping to prevent the peaceful transfer of power (Rubin et al, 2021). The insurrectionists planted pipe bombs (Godfrey, 2022), assaulted 140 police officers (Davis et al., 2021), searched for prominent members of Congress with means and apparent intent to capture and detain them, chanted “hang Mike Pence,” and erected gallows in front of the Capitol building. The insurrection resulted in five deaths (Davis et al., 2021). Among those who stormed the Capitol were members of the far-right groups Trump had courted leading up to the election. The Proud Boys were heavily represented, heeding calls from their leadership to “turn out in record numbers” (Parloff, 2022, para. 2) for an “epic” day (Parloff, 2022, para. 4). Along with the far-right group the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys comprise a majority of those charged with conspiracy for their involvement in the insur- rection (Parloff, 2022). On January 13, 2022, 11 members of the Oath Keep- ers were charged with sedition by the U.S. Department of Justice. The Oath Keepers’ membership includes a substantial number of people from law enforcement and the military. Their leadership had been calling for civil war in reaction to the election (Giglio, 2020). The sedition charge is a formal allegation that the Oath Keepers were working to overthrow the government or prevent the execution of its laws. The indictment cites the transportation of firearms and ammunition to the Capitol combat training in Washington, DC, prior to the attack and plans to provide armed support for the insurrectionists (Ioanes, 2022). Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the Oath Keepers and one of the 11 members of the organization charged with sedition, “promised a ‘bloody, massively bloody revolution’” (Ioanes, 2022, para. 7), indicating that the transfer of the presi- dency from Biden to Trump would not happen “without a civil war” (Ioanes, 2022, para. 7). As this introduction makes clear, the 2020 presidential campaign saw sig- nificant disruptions to the U.S. democracy. Some of these disruptions
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