MAGA Riots, the Storming of the Capitol, and the Status Quo


Joshua Sukoff / Unsplash

Crowds of Trump supporters breached the United States Capitol Building in Washington D.C. on January 6th, 2021.

The Make America Great Again (MAGA) riots over the past few years, and the recent mob of Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, January 6th, 2021,  conjure the image of angry rioters outside the rule of law. Will these riots continue when Biden is inaugurated? Are the riots justified by the First Amendment? How should concerned citizens react?

Riots have a more negative connotation than protests. Today, the distinction between protest and riot has been blurred, but not completely. Protests are peaceful gatherings of people that participate in acts like marches; however, riots involve gatherings of people for the purpose of lashing out in violence against authority, property, or people.

One of the most recent MAGA riots before the storming of the nation’s Capitol on January 6th, 2021, occurred on November 15th, 2020 in Washington D.C., where clusters of violence occurred between Trump supporters and counter-protesters. This was the result of resentment on both sides, as Trump supporters were chanting, “Trump 2020” and “Keep America Great,” and counter-protestors were chanting “surrender Donnie.” Groups like the Proud Boys, a white supremacist group that President Trump has told to “stand back and stand by,” and members of Antifa, a protest movement against right-wing ideologies, brawled it out in the street on November 14th, 2020.

Ever since the election on November 3rd, 2020, President Trump has spread messages of doubt about the legitimacy of the election, which has has encouraged right-wing protests. Trump has spread the false idea that Biden did not actually win the Presidential Election, that his win was due through fraud, and that the election was rigged by mail-in ballots.

This has riled his base with these thoughts and is the cause of the lasting tensions from then up until the storming of the Capitol on January 6th, 2021, even after the election has been decided.

This is not the first time that Trump supporters have rallied in order to create a  hostile environment. During the election season in November 2020, Trump supporters wielding AR-15s and other firearms gathered in front of the Maricopa County election booth. The rioters were chanting “Count the Vote,’ because Biden was winning Arizona, and denouncing Fox News, because the rioters were angered by Fox News’ decision to correctly call Arizona’s Electoral votes for Biden.

At that time, the protest from the Trump supporters went off without any major disturbances, even though the protestors were carrying firearms. Trump supporters seemed to reuse the inflammatory rhetoric that equated a Biden government with a communist one in order to mobilize conservatives who fear this system of government.

On December 12th, 2020, near Black Lives Matter Plaza and Franklin Square, there was a MAGA riot involving the Proud Boys. The maskless crowd consisting of thousands of people shouted chants of “1776” and “move out” as they formed military-like rows in helmets and bulletproof vests. What resulted was a number of injuries, arrests, and brawls. A couple of Pro-Trump were arrested for rioting, brawls, and one for illegal possession of a Taser.

All of this led to the storming of the nation’s Capitol by Trump supporters on January 6th, 2021

What should we expect for the future after Trump leaves office in a few days and President Elect Biden becomes our President? Since Biden has won the election with 306 electoral votes, it is now certain that on January 20th, 2021, Biden will be inaugurated as our nation’s 46th President. At that point, the discussion of an illegitimate election most likely will dampen. However, tensions will probably take a while to cool down, so the future is still uncertain.

What should we expect for the future after Trump leaves office in a few days and President Elect Biden becomes our President?