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You are here News Politics Q&A Jan. 6 Was Just the Beginning for the Proud Boys

Q&A Jan. 6 Was Just the Beginning for the Proud Boys

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Proud Boys plotJudged by most conventional metrics of political success, the Proud Boys — the far-right street gang whose yellow-and-black-clad members became fixtures of MAGA rallies during the Trump years — have been a colossal failure. Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, many of the group’s leaders are either in jail or facing federal charges for seditious conspiracy. Sporadic attempts by rank-and-file members to run for public office have mostly come to naught. At least one major U.S. ally — Canada — has officially designated the group as a terrorist entity, along with Al Qaeda and Boko Haram.

But to evaluate the Proud Boys using these more traditional standards is to miss the subtler — yet more consequential — ways that the group has transformed the tenor and tone of American politics, argues Huffington Post senior editor and veteran extremism reporter Andy Campbell in his new book, “We are Proud Boys: How a Right-Wing Street Gang Ushered in a New Era of American Extremism. Campbell, who has covered the Proud Boys since their formation in the early Trump years, instead judges the Proud Boys by the standards that they use to judge themselves — namely, their ability to convince the mainstream of the Republican Party that violence is, sometimes, the answer.

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