Elite Impact on the Capitol Hill Riot: The Straw that Stirs the Drink
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Undergraduate thesis, Yeshiva College
A group of protesters convinced of the illegitimacy of the results of the 2020 presidential election gathered on January 6th at an event billed as the “Stop the Steal.” After some boisterous speeches by President Trump and his conservative allies, the situation at The Ellipse in Washington D.C began to deteriorate quickly and rally-goers began to enter the Capitol Building in droves as the confirmation was in progress. Dozens were injured and countless individuals who were present in the building at the time of the attack were traumatized. In this work, I attempt to demonstrate a link between the remarks uttered by President Trump and his allies in the months leading up to the Stop the Steal Rally and the uncharacteristically violent and unpredictable behavior of the protesters who opted to storm the Capitol Building. Contributing to this behavior is the rising polarization amongst America’s political elite as well as their supporters, the rise, spread and impact of fake news media, the results of spontaneous action in protest events and of course the effects of elite rhetoric on a homogeneous and supportive crowd. This work seeks to illustrate the significant danger generated through the proliferation of fake news in a highly polarized society.
Jacobs, R.A. (2022, January 1). Elite Impact on the Capitol Hill Riot: The Straw that Stirs the Drink [Undergraduate honors thesis, Yeshiva University].
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