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January 6 capitol rioters threats to democracy

Capitol insurrectionists storming the building on January 6, 2021. | Photo credit: Tyler Merbler

Exploring the Threats to Democracy That Remain Two Years After Jan. 6

January 10, 2023

Exploring the Threats to Democracy That Remain Two Years After Jan. 6


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In the first general election after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, many of the most high-profile election deniers lost their races. But threats to democracy remain as extremist political factions remain emboldened, Trump’s presidential bid is built on lies and cities are reporting record numbers of hate crimes. Cynthia Miller-Idriss and Kim Lane Scheppele joined Laura Barrón-López to discuss. For a transcript of this story, click here.

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Discussion Questions

  • Who is interviewed in this story, and what are their backgrounds?
  • What are some of the reasons democracy in the U.S. is still under threat, according to this story?
  • Where and When did election deniers lose important races in the U.S.?
  • How has Congress addressed possible legal challenges that could overturn election results?
  • Why is domestic extremist violence still a potential threat to democracy, according to this story?

Focus Questions

What do you think would be the best way to strengthen democratic institutions in the U.S.?

Media Literacy: What are some of the opinions or recommendations the guests offer in this story?

Additional Exercise

The events, decisions and personalities whose decisions led to the attack on the Capitol can seem complex and confusing. Use this explainer made up of videos and findings of the Jan. 6 committee to better understand what is known and unknown about what led to the attack. Talk with a classmate, family member or teacher about how you feel seeing some of the footage from that day and what development struck you as the most significant.

Talking About January 6 and Threats to Democracy

Using last year’s January 6, insurrection as a teachable moment, we assembled educational resources to help students reflect on the events leading up to and on that day, as well as resources that explore ongoing threats to the integrity of a democratic government, including how to foster media literacy and civil discourse, understand voter suppression and how to identify misinformation. Included are civic education lessons that can be adapted across the curriculum.

Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Classroom.

PBS NewsHour Classroom
PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news... See More

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