How Election Deniers Claimed the Upside-Down Flag

The practice started with sailors signaling distress but evolved into a form of protest, most recently among Trump supporters who believe the falsehood that the 2020 election was stolen.

It has been a widely recognized symbol of distress since the nation’s founding, when sailors turned the American flag upside down to signal that their ships were sinking, on fire or trapped in ice.

But over time, the upside-down American flag became a symbol brandished more often by protesters across the political spectrum to signal that they believed the nation itself was in grave peril.

After President Biden won the 2020 election, supporters of former President Donald J. Trump rallied around the inverted flag, displaying it at their homes, on their cars and on social media to show that they believed Mr. Trump’s lie that the election was stolen. Some began doing so before the votes were even counted.

Now, the practice has burst into the national conversation after The New York Times reported on Thursday that it had recently obtained images of an upside-down flag flying outside the home in Alexandria, Va., of Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. in January 2021. At the time, the Supreme Court was still contending with whether to hear a 2020 election case.

Justice Alito said in an email to The Times that he had “no involvement whatsoever in the flying of the flag.”

“It was briefly placed by Mrs. Alito in response to a neighbor’s use of objectionable and personally insulting language on yard signs,” he wrote, referring to his wife, Martha-Ann Alito.

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This post was originally published on NY Times

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