The post-election to inauguration period—the 11 weeks from Wednesday November 4, 2020 to Wednesday January 20, 2021—is a unique period of the US electoral calendar. Data on political mobilization and violence from this period tell us something both about what we might expect in the post-election period of future elections, and also offer a first glimpse of what we might see in terms of more immediate political violence in post-Trump America.
January 6 was the highest-profile act of political violence in this period, a confluence of violence and an attack on our democratic system. By contextualizing it within broader trends of political mobilization during the election season, and especially post-election period, the data demonstrate how key elements of January 6 were patterns of behavior established well before the date: the timing, the topic, the location, and the increased presence of unlawful paramilitary and armed actors were all trends of political mobilization that foreshadowed the insurrection. The data also reveal, however, that other events could trigger contentious or violent behavior in the more immediate future.
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