”Every Republican Presidential Victory Is Met With Riots”: Fears of Unrest if Trump Triumphs Again


In recent years, the intersection of conspiracy theories and political violence has become a pressing issue in the United States, particularly as the country gears up for the 2024 presidential elections. This was worsened by the attack on Paul Pelosi, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, by David DePape, who was influenced by right-wing conspiracy theories. This shows the apparent dangers of such ideologies seeping into mainstream politics.

A Consequence of Conspiracy Theories

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David DePape’s violent attack on Paul Pelosi in 2022 was fueled by a steady consumption of right-wing conspiracy theories. This incident, occurring close to the midterm elections, underscores the dangerous impact of such ideologies. DePape’s radicalization reflects a growing trend where fringe beliefs have significant real-world consequences.

Rising Political Violence as 2024 Approaches

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As the 2024 presidential race intensifies, experts warn of an increase in politically motivated violence. The evolution of conspiracy theories like “Pizzagate,” QAnon, and “Stop the Steal” have targeted opponents of Donald Trump. They have also gained considerable traction, raising concerns about their influence on political discourse and safety.

Mainstreaming of Extremist Ideologies

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Jacob Ware is a research member at the Council on Foreign Relations. He stresses that divisive ideologies and conspiracy theories are no longer fringe phenomena. Their presence in American society significantly threatens the nation’s political and social fabric. This is seen in the increasing number of incidents fueled by such beliefs.

David DePape’s Conviction and Testimony

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In a notable court ruling, David DePape was convicted for his assault on Paul Pelosi. DePape’s testimony revealed his intention to harm Nancy Pelosi and his belief in widespread government corruption. This case illustrates the direct link between extremist conspiracy theories and acts of violence.

QAnon’s Influence on DePape’s Actions

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DePape’s beliefs were shaped by the QAnon conspiracy theory. This theory claims that former President Donald Trump is battling a secret evil plot. Initially dismissed as a fringe phenomenon, QAnon has disturbingly been linked to numerous crimes. It has now become part of mainstream Republican politics. 

Trump’s Role in Propagating QAnon Theories

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Former President Trump’s promotion of QAnon has significantly contributed to its mainstream acceptance. By amplifying accounts and content related to QAnon, Trump has played a pivotal role in legitimizing these baseless theories. This has raised serious concerns about their potential to sway public opinion and incite violence. 

QAnon’s Impact on Capitol Riot Participants

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The January 6, 2021, Capitol riot highlighted the profound influence of QAnon on its believers. Many rioters congregated on platforms like TheDonald.win, where they shared plans for the riot. This event underscores the real consequences of online conspiracy theories, demonstrating how digital echo chambers can manifest in real-world violence and upheaval.

The Real-World Impact of “Pizzagate”

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The “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory falsely claimed a child sex trafficking ring linked to Democratic figures. This had serious real-world consequences. Most notably, a North Carolina man received a prison sentence for firing a rifle inside the pizzeria at the center of this baseless theory. This incident is a chilling reminder of the potential for violence that such unfounded conspiracy theories can incite.

Trump’s Inflammatory 2024 Campaign Language

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In his 2024 presidential campaign, Donald Trump has resorted to increasingly aggressive language. This included making light of the assault on Paul Pelosi and hinting at treasonous acts by his opponents. Far from calming political tensions, this type of speech appears to be fanning the flames of division and potentially encouraging violent actions among his supporters.

Political Violence Beyond Partisan Lines

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The threat of politically motivated violence goes beyond political affiliations. This was demonstrated by the case of a man from California who was accused of plotting to assassinate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. This incident illustrates that the risk of violence affects figures across the political spectrum, highlighting a broader issue of extremism.

QAnon’s Resilience After the 2020 Election

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Despite Donald Trump’s loss in the 2020 presidential election, QAnon-related conspiracy theories have flourished. They have evolved to incorporate various other unfounded beliefs. This adaptability has helped sustain QAnon’s influence, making it a persistent and troubling presence in American politics.

START’s Findings on QAnon-Related Extremism

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Research conducted by the START initiative has revealed that QAnon is linked to more extremist offenders than any other group in the United States. This significant finding shows the extensive and concerning impact of QAnon since its emergence. It demonstrates the theory’s role in fostering a culture of extremism and criminal activity.

Addressing the Challenge of Online Radicalization

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The radicalization of David DePape shows the complex nature of online radicalization. Brianna Wu is a prominent figure targeted during GamerGate. She stressed the connection between these online movements and the rise of far-right conspiracy theories, calling for comprehensive policy responses to tackle this growing issue.

The Eccentricity of DePape’s Conspiracy Beliefs

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David DePape’s unusual plan to confront Nancy Pelosi in a unicorn costume to expose alleged Russian election interference illustrates the often bizarre and far-reaching nature of conspiracy theory beliefs. His testimony also revealed that he was influenced by conservative commentators. This shows the outlandish nature of these extremist ideologies.

The Proliferation of Extremist Content

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The widespread availability of extremist content across various media platforms has played a significant role in spreading harmful conspiracy theories. Brian Hughes is an expert from American University. He stressed the urgent need to address this issue, emphasizing the risks associated with the unchecked spread of such dangerous ideas and their potential to incite violence.

The Dangerous Intersection of Belief and Violence

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One user noted, “The real issue isn’t merely harboring beliefs in conspiracy theories; it’s the transition to committing violent acts because of these beliefs.” This statement captures the crux of the problem where conspiracy theories catalyze real-world violence. It’s not the theories themselves that are the most dangerous but the actions they inspire.

Escalating Partisan Tensions and Predictions of Unrest

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A strikingly controversial view suggests, “Imagine the chaos if Trump is re-elected in 2024! Recalling the left’s reaction in 2016, a victory for Trump might trigger a revolutionary response from them.” Another comment adds, “Every Republican presidential victory is met with riots, whereas Democratic inaugurations are relatively peaceful. Is this indicative of the left’s immaturity?” 

Trump, MAGA, and Political Violence

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The role of Trump in the narrative of political violence is highlighted by a comment stating, “We can thank Trump for the escalation of political violence. His 2015 statements incited his followers to harm dissenters.” Meanwhile, another view criticizes MAGA supporters for their absurd conspiracy theories, urging a political shift: “Vote blue to counteract these radical beliefs.” 


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