How Conspiracy Theories Lead to an Insurrection

Emme Oliver

On Jan. 6, The United States Capitol, a historical place for Americans and a place of business for the government, looked like a war zone.

Protestors showed up from across the country, encouraged by President Donald Trump who told the fiery crowd to storm the Capitol to protest the outcome of the 2020 election.

Due to the use of mail-in balloting and an extension of vote counting, Trump and his loyal supporters questioned the validity of the election results which did not end in their favor.

In the midst of the electoral college affirming Joe Biden’s win, they were asked to evacuate as the crowd swarmed and ultimately breached the U.S capitol. While most can agree this was a dark day in America’s history, many different perspectives have been formulated as a result from this event.

“What I don’t understand is why didn’t the mayor of D.C. put more cops in place,” said Brendan, 50. A Trump supporter himself, Brendan doesn’t agree with the election results and subsequently detests the idea that “all Trump supporters” behave that way.

“I don’t like that they say ‘Trump supporters’ [the rioters] are right wing fascists and racists, the people that peacefully marched were there because we don’t agree with the rules changed for the election.”

There was no evidence of any significant election fraud. But many Trump supporters were angered about the use of absentee and mail-in balloting.

Absentee ballots have been used in times of need before. According to an article from Time, “During the 1864 presidential election… Union soldiers voted in camps and field hospitals, under the supervision of clerks or state officials.”

Speculation of “discarded” or “unsupervised” ballots have been reported but further investigation by government officials has concluded that this did not directly inspire election fraud.

Multiple news sources have labeled the events at the Capitol as “domestic terrorism.” Many Americans, liberal and conservative alike, wholeheartedly agree with this statement.

“The Capitol riot on January 6th was nothing less than domestic terrorism,” says Emma, 18. “Our country has fought against fascism since we were founded. To storm a federal building with weapons and intent to incite fear is terrorism and the fact that Former President Trump condoned this coup is even more appalling.”

President Trump is facing a second impeachment trial on accounts of incitement to insurrection. His speech he gave before the Capitol riot began has been the talking point for many liberal news sources, saying his words evoked the crowd.

Trump did say at the 18-minute mark of his speech that it was his wish for the crowd to “peacefully and patriotically make our voices heard.” Perhaps the crowd took more to Rudy Giuliani’s proclamation of “let’s have a trial by combat.”

Trump’s impeachment trial is likely to be another convoluted process. With the Senate needing 17 Republicans to convict, it’s unlikely that Trump will face permanent removal from being able to run again, which he has announced that he will in 2024.