Self-styled militias are seeking to play a role in U.S. politics in a way that hasn’t been seen in decades. Of diverse origins, such groups have capitalized on the social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matters and police reform protests. Right-wing extremist groups have intensified their recruitment, opposed lockdowns, and promised to protect businesses from looting or help them not comply with COVID-19 regulations. What impact have these groups had on the U.S. election and post-election period so far, and on rule of law and democracy in the United States more broadly? What are their origins? How do they compare to and interact with extremist groups elsewhere in the world? What policies should the next U.S. administration adopt to respond to the challenges they pose?
On November 10, Foreign Policy at Brookings held a panel discussion to examine these questions and more. Brookings President John R. Allen introduced the event and moderated the panel discussion, which featured Mary McCord, legal director of the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection and visiting professor of law at Georgetown University; Rashawn Ray, David M. Rubenstein fellow in the Governance Studies program at Brookings; Daniel Byman, senior fellow in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings; and Vanda Felbab-Brown, director of the Initiative on Nonstate Armed Actors and senior fellow in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings. Upon the conclusion of their remarks, panelists took questions from the audience.
PanelistVanda Felbab-Brown Director - Initiative on Nonstate Armed Actors, Co-Director - Africa Security Initiative, Senior Fellow - Foreign Policy, Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and TechnologyMary McCord Visiting Professor of Law - Georgetown University Law Center, Legal Director - Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection