It can be hard to make out the makeup of a mob in the moment. Beyond the predilection for red hats and overwhelming whiteness of the Capitol rioters, little was known about the MAGA true-believers who stormed the seat of government on January 6. But a clearer picture of what type of person was present is starting to emerge. The Washington Post shared a new analysis saying more than half of those facing criminal charges for their role in the riots had suffered major financial setbacks such as bankruptcy, foreclosure or tax liens.
The paper found that nearly 60 percent of the 125 defendants for whom they could find significant financial information had gone through an economic shock of some sort in the recent past. Their histories were littered with evictions and unpaid tax debt, and their rate of bankruptcy was nearly twice the national average.
"I think what you’re finding is more than just economic insecurity but a deep-seated feeling of precarity about their personal situation,” American University political science professor Cynthia Miller-Idriss. “And that precarity — combined with a sense of betrayal or anger that someone is taking something away — mobilized a lot of people that day.”
The Post’s findings were bolstered by another study from the University of Chicago, which compared the defendants to right-wing extremists arrested by the FBI in recent years. They found the Capitol rioters were older and had more white-collar workers than the extremists.
Though the studies taken together paint a picture of aggrieved members of the upper middle-class, who are suffering unfamiliar setbacks along with most citizens of the United States in this uniquely inequal era, many people on social media were offended by the reporting. Operating on the idea that equality means moving over to make room under the boot, some people felt compelled to share the indignities they’ve suffered without rioting.