Journalists often use annual anniversaries as a news peg to generate stories reminding readers that a big thing happened X years ago. And then they forget about the story for another year.

That’s not what happened with the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, where Donald Trump supporters invaded the seat of federal government in order to disrupt the normally peaceful transfer of power. Journalists didn’t wait a year to revisit that monumental event. Instead, 2021 was full of stories analyzing what happened before, during and after that extraordinary day. Here at The Conversation, we’ve produced more than 100 analyses to help you understand what that day’s violence means for American democracy.

Today, we offer two new stories that should help advance your understanding of what happened a year ago. In one, journalism professor Amanda J. Crawford, who teaches at the University of Connecticut, highlights a survey from nearly eight years before the insurrection that showed a shocking number of Americans believed political violence could be required to preserve their rights – including 44% of Republicans.

But rather than serve as a warning, its findings were “so disconcerting that the poll was dismissed by some prominent political observers as too unbelievable to be true,” Crawford writes.

Our other story looks at what’s called “the sore loser effect” – when the loser of an election refuses to accept the loss. Political scientist James Piazza of Penn State writes that it “creates a potentially dangerous situation” because “acceptance of electoral defeat is essential for stability and order in democracies.”

Without it, cautions Piazza, “the risk of political violence increases.”

Also today:

Yesterday’s newsletter editor’s note incorrectly named Kristine Nolin’s institution. She is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Richmond.

Naomi Schalit

Senior Editor, Politics + Society

Rioters are tear-gassed as they storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

American support for conspiracy theories and armed rebellion isn’t new – we just didn’t believe it before the Capitol insurrection

Amanda J. Crawford, University of Connecticut

Almost eight years before the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol attack, nearly one-third of Americans surveyed – and 44% of Republicans – said armed rebellion might soon be necessary in the US to protect liberties.

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