Legitimacy Is the Best Defense against Political Violence

Protesters at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C, January 6, 2021 (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
When is mistrust the highest? When people feel that the rules of the game have been changed on them.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE O ne of the lessons that ought to be drawn from the riot at the Capitol is the grave danger of undermining the legitimacy of American elections with large segments of the public. That ought to give pause, in particular, to those on the political left who continually argue for unsettling the existing electoral and political system with the aim of producing outcomes they prefer.

What is legitimacy? As a matter of democratic political theory, legitimacy comes from the consent of the governed, such that governments are more or less legitimate depending upon how much they involve the people they govern in

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