Republicans Still Pretty Sure All Those January 6 People Were Secret Liberals

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Trumpists invading the capitol
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For a year and a half now, conservatives have been absolutely outraged by all of the January 6 arrests, some even finally figuring out that our prison system is horrific and solitary confinement is torture now that it's happened to people they like. They've cried for Ashli Babbitt, declared her a martyr. They've desperately tried to compare the events of that day to normal protests that don't call for literally hanging anybody, and they've claimed these other protests were the real "insurrections." The background information on those who have been arrested is widely available and many of those who participated were already well-known right-wing trolls and extremists.

And yet.

According to a recent Yahoo/YouGov poll, many of them are still quite sure that the blame for the events of January 6 lies with "left-wing protesters trying to make Trump look bad." As if any of us have to get out of bed to do that.


When asked who was to blame for January 6, the largest total share of Republicans — 43 percent — said it was these definitely not imaginary left-wing protesters. Comparatively, only 9 percent blamed Trump, 4 percent blamed Republican elected officials who said the election was stolen, 8 percent blamed Trump supporters who had gathered at the US capitol, 13 percent blamed right-wing groups like the Proud Boys and 19 percent said they just weren't sure.

When restricted to just those who voted for Donald Trump in 2020, that number went up to 55 percent (with 82 percent saying they were at least somewhat responsible), and it went up to 68 percent when restricted to Fox News voters. Granted, given the influence of Trump and troll culture on the Republican party, we can't exactly count on these people to be sincere. Part of right-wing culture now is insisting that obviously untrue things are true for the purposes of "owning the libs."

Weirdly, 5 percent of Democrats also said that these "left-wing protesters trying to make Trump look bad" were most to blame for the events of that day — the same percentage that said right-wing groups like the Proud Boys were most responsible. Hard to know what that's about, but my guess it that this group would be the elusive target audience for the endless New York Times editorials about how the Democratic Party can win if only they just start being Republicans but less tacky about it and stop eating fancy deli meats like gabagool. I've often wondered about them.

Strangely, despite an incredible amount of footage from that day and over 840 arrests, there has been only one self-identified leftist who was even there — a guy who has been kicked out of several activist groups across the US because everyone thought he was shady, whose brother was one of the people organizing the "Stop the Steal" event.

Is it that they think these people are so good at what they do that between Fox News, InfoWars and every other right-wing outlet and the incredible "researchers" of the QAnon movement, they haven't been able to find and identify any of them? That is impressive. Hell, they've barely even bothered to just make something up, as they so often do in these situations. And mind you, they've still been very upset about the arrests and about the conditions of the DC jail where many of the insurrectionists have been held.

This is nothing if not one of the most impressive feats of cognitive dissonance our nation has ever witnessed.

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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse

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