Rioters stormed the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021, when a joint session of Congress gathered to record the Electoral College votes in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. For the first time in U.S. history, these electoral proceedings, which are normally routine and border on boring, were violently disrupted and had deadly consequences.
Congress returned to the chamber that same night to finish validating the votes, and Joe Biden was inaugurated as president on Jan. 20, but the attack on the Capitol has shaken the nation and its citizens. Many are grappling with questions and concerns: What does this mean for American democracy? Where do we go from here?
Political scientists from UC San Diego have been busy trying to answer many of those questions. The following is a sampling of some of their initial thoughts:
Thad Kousser, professor and department chair, Department of Political Science, Division of Social Sciences
“Unprecedented" is really the right word this time.
Barbara F. Walter, professor of political science, School of Global Policy and Strategy
A second civil war would look nothing like the first.
Daniel Butler, professor, Department of Political Science, Division of Social Sciences
Politicians' fear of primary voters drives them to reject compromise.
LaGina Gause, assistant professor, Department of Political Science, Division of Social Sciences
If there's any bright side at all, it's that over the last few elections we've seen greater participation in American politics.
Marisa A. Abrajano, professor, Department of Political Science, Division of Social Sciences
We must address the deep racial divisions that plague our nation.
To view the faculty members’ full statements, visit http://bit.ly/UCSDPoliSciJan6.
Some of these UC San Diego faculty members also discussed the presidential election in a recent webinar held on January 14, 2021.
If you are a journalist covering American politics and want to learn more about what’s next, let UC San Diego’s experts help. If you are looking to speak with Thad Kousser, simply click on his icon to arrange an interview. To get in touch with even more experts on American politics, please email Inga Kiderra, Communications Director for Social Sciences at UC San Diego.
Thad Kousser Professor and Chair of Political Science
Thad Kousser specializes in American state and national politics, with particular focus on California, and government reform.