Introduction Exploring the Disruptive 2020 Campaign: Contextualizing the Role of the Push for Progress, the Pandemic, and the Insurrection at the Capitol Benjamin R. Warner and Dianne G. Bystrom On January 6, 2021, U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), then majority leader, had just delivered a speech on the Senate floor in which he warned that any effort to overturn the results of an election that was “not unusually close” would send our democracy into a “death spiral” (McConnell, 2021, para. 2). He was referring, of course, to Donald Trump’s “clear and multifac- eted effort to use any tool available to overturn the election” (Blake, 2021, para. 19). Less than an hour later, insurrectionists had stormed the U.S. Cap- itol, hoping to prevent the peaceful transfer of power for the first time since the establishment of the precedent of 1800 (Georgini, 2020). The harrowing events of January 6, 2021, were the culmination of more than a year of disruptions to the 2020 presidential election. Disruptions interrupt the status quo by challenging the inertia of historical patterns and systems. In this book, we consider the co-occurrence of three historical dis- ruptions: a 100-year pandemic coinciding with the presidential campaign, the diversification of the field of candidates for president preceding a rein- vigorated civil rights movement in response to the murder of George Floyd, and the authoritarian lurch that emerged in reaction to Trump’s norm- challenging presidency. Our contributors adopt diverse theories and
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