Violence is not the only way political voice is uttered in a democracy, but the GQP wants it to leverage their reclaiming power.
Trump’s acquittal has paved the way for more political violence https://t.co/3Y33P6U3zl
— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) February 20, 2021
Last week, the Senate voted to acquit former President Donald Trump of the charge of inciting the insurrection on January 6 that left five people dead and more than 100 law enforcement officials with injuries. To say the president was not guilty in the face of the overwhelming evidence presented by the impeachment managers was no easy feat. Long-time Trump enabler turned apostate Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) joined others in voting to acquit based on the fact that Trump wasn’t president any longer, even though the former majority leader is the one who delayed the trial. But he quickly followed his vote up with a lengthy (but ultimately, hypocritical) speech excoriating Trump. It hardly matters. The acquittal, though seemingly inevitable, has marked the beginning of the next era of American politics; a brutal one likely involving escalating political violence. Our history shows us what happens when political violence fueled by white supremacy goes unpunished.
By voting not guilty, 43 Republican Senators gave their tacit approval not only to Trump’s incitement of violence but to the very act of violence. As long as lying about election fraud—even if it leads to an insurrection— has been sanctioned by large swaths of
the Republican Party, the disproportionately powerful “base” will undermine democracy every chance they get. Some of those efforts will be attempts to curtail voting in cities and states with a high concentration of Black voters, while others will require conjuring and amplifying dangerous lies about elections to keep an already angry base frothing at the mouth. In both political gamesmanship and literal fact, one thing is clear: There will be more violence. There is no shortage of evidence showing that violence is what white supremacists do when they’re emboldened.
As we know, the failure of Reconstruction—the period after the Civil War during which the Republican Party attempted to integrate the new freedmen into civil society—gave way to even more violent white campaigns throughout the country. So too will the failure to hold Trump accountable embolden the most extreme and violent portion of the Republican party, no matter how much the seven GOP senators who broke with the former president try to bring the party back from the chaos of Trumpism. The only meaningful lesson that the former president’s fans who comprise this powerful part of the GOP have learned is how to be successful the next time they try to overturn an election. For the first time in history, thousands of people, nearly all of them white, armed with flagpoles, bats, and pepper spray came perilously close to stopping the certification of the presidential election at the citadel of American democracy. But this was not the first time in our history that thousands of armed white people decided to take matters into their own hands.
The difference between ISIS and the GOP is that ISIS accepts responsibility for the terror attacks it incites.
— Andrea Junker (@Strandjunker) January 9, 2021
GQP dickishness reigns:
“For the Republican Party, the sensationalization, nationalization, and demonization of the political system matter far more than any form of governing.
“Political performance is the point.
“Both the means and the end.
“The purpose and the power.”
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) February 20, 2021
When political incentives are aligned toward boosting Trump, owning the libs, and destroying anyone who says otherwise on social media, it’s easy to think that the path to statesmanship and stardom lies in shitposting on Twitter. Rather, than, say, leveraging your position to marshall resources, raise money, and demand accountability from the influential executives who put Texans in such a miserable condition. Better to leave that to the libs—like Beto O’Rourke and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Think about this for a minute: Beto O’Rourke is a private citizen who lost a Senate race to Cruz two years ago. AOC is a member of Congress from the Bronx. O’Rourke organized a massive phone bank to check on Texas seniors, see if they needed help, and direct them to resources. AOC put together a fundraiser for relief services and raised $2 million in two days.
Ted Cruz flew to the Ritz-Carlton in Cancun while Republican Governor Gregg Abbott jumps on to Fox to blame the Green New Deal—which is not an actual law on the books, by the way—for the catastrophe.
What’s evident, to me, is that the audience matters far more to Cruz than his constituents. That’s who Senator Ted Cruz attends to now.
Will Trump make an appearance:
Silver figurines on Oval Office mantel in “Seven Days in May” (1964), which told of military coup d’etat and insurrection against United States, and more recently: pic.twitter.com/BZzWCuR07x
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) February 20, 2021
This is what TV viewers saw on final night of 2020 Republican while, without explanation, Puccini aria “Nessun Dorma” (“Let No One Sleep”) was performed. If this strange juxtaposition was not like a scene from a John Frankenheimer film, then it would be hard to know what is: pic.twitter.com/elIAPCgBuc
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) February 20, 2021