Chicago, IL

University of Chicago Professor Robert Pape says 13 million Americans approve of violently putting Trump back in power

D.J. Eaton

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Robert Pape directs the Chicago Project on Security & Threats (CPOST).(Robert Pape/Commons.Wikimedia)

University of Chicago Professor Robert Pape said about 13 million Americans – or five percent of the total population – agreed with the use of violence to put Donald Trump back in the White House. The political science professor said his research showed that about 15 million Americans supported the use of violence to protect Trump from being prosecuted for mishandling classified documents.

"To be clear, we're focusing on not just support for Trump, but the violent support for Trump that overrides democracy," he said. Pape made the remarks during the September 18 edition of CBS's "Face the Nation."

Pape said many of those defending violence in support of Trump were motivated by a belief in "Great Replacement" theory, a belief that the Democrats were replacing the "current White electorate, with more minority voters from the third world." Pape had spoken about "Great Replacement" before when testifying before a senate committee.

Another motivation had been a belief in the "QAnon cult idea," he said. Focus group discussions with supporters of pro-Trump violence had revealed that they believed political leaders had been corrupted after getting "on the Lolita Express with Jeffrey Epstein" and accepting his money, Pape said.

The professor is the founding director of his university's Chicago Project on Security & Threats (CPOST). Created in 2004, the research center's original focus was on suicide terrorism. The CPOST website says its "signature innovation was to support faculty-led research with teams of dedicated graduate and undergraduate research assistants from the University of Chicago to collect, catalog, and code data."

Testifying before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on June 7, Pape said that racist attacks on people of color and the January 6 insurrection had been "not simply a continuation of longstanding trends" but had been the result of extremist beliefs entering the mainstream.

"A key extremist idea is the 'great replacement' – at bottom, the fear that minorities will have more rights than Whites. As these extremist ideas become mainstream, domestic terrorism is evolving in more dangerous ways," Pape told the senators.

He noted that a "key characteristic" of the more than 800 people charged with crimes related to the January 6 attack was that they were middle-class Whites in communities where Whites were losing their numerical strength.

Another "striking" fact was that more than half of those facing charges were either business owners or white-collar employees, Pape said. "The last time America saw middle class Whites involved in collective political violence was the expansion of the second KKK in the 1920s," he noted in his 15-page written testimony.

Most of the insurrectionists had not come from Trump strongholds, Pape said. "Over half of those charged with committing crimes on January 6 came from counties that Biden won – including large, urban, democratic strongholds like Dallas, Houston, New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles," he said.

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