Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

jan6_insurrection-1

Supporters of US President Donald Trump protest inside the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. Demonstrators breeched security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification. (Photo: Brent Stirton/Getty Images)

The Grand Old Insurrectionist Party of January 6

The coup attempt turned into a road map for the national GOP. Whether democracy survives is up to us.

John Feffer

 by OtherWords

The defeat of Donald Trump in 2020 was supposed to put an end to America's delusional national politics.

The quashing of the January 6 insurrection—and the brief, near-unanimous revulsion among members of Trump's party for that violence—provided some hope that the fever dream had passed.

Trumpism, which started out as a simple-minded rejection of the status quo, has become something else: a thorough rejection of democratic procedures and a darkly conspiratorial hatred of federal power.

But the last year demonstrated quite the opposite. Trumpism, which started out as a simple-minded rejection of the status quo, has become something else: a thorough rejection of democratic procedures and a darkly conspiratorial hatred of federal power.

This corrosive ideology is now orthodoxy within the Republican Party, and that party remains just popular enough—and ruthless enough—to win back Congress this year and, potentially, the White House in 2024.

Those who adhere to Trumpism have recast the insurrectionists as heroes—"patriots who love their country," in the words of Virginia State Senator Amanda Chase—and are determined to block all efforts to determine who was ultimately responsible for what happened that day.

Congress recently debated whether Trump's former chief of staff Mark Meadows should be charged with criminal contempt for refusing to testify about the events of that day.

At the debate, Trump's lap dogs talked about immigration, Hunter Biden, mask mandates—everything but Meadows' contempt of Congress. Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL) then lambasted the House select committee's work to investigate the events of January 6 as "evil and un-American."

In the vote on the House floor to refer charges on Meadows, only two Republicans supported the measure: Adam Kinzinger, who will be retiring after this session, and Liz Cheney, who has practically been drummed out of the party for her stand against Trump.

According to recent polling, nearly 70 percent of Trump voters think that Biden was not legitimately elected in 2020. Worse, 40 percent of Republicans believe that violence against the government can be justified.

It's no surprise that, in 2021, D.C. authorities recorded nearly 10,000 threats against members of Congress and the Capitol itself, the highest number to date.

Outside of Washington, the Republican party is ramming through bills to roll back public health measures, reproductive choice, and the right to vote itself.

Republican-led states have banned vaccine mandates in defiance of Washington. By mid-December, 19 states had pushed through 34 laws restricting access to voting. And with Texas leading the way, over 20 states have prepared legislation to ban abortion as soon as the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, which the Trump-packed court seems increasingly likely to do.

On these and other issues, Republican governors are pretending as if Biden weren't in fact elected in 2020.

The insurrection of January 6 was a frightening reminder of the fragility of American democracy. But while the rioters were repulsed, and many of them arrested and thrown in prison, what's happened in the last year is potentially more troubling. The insurrection has been institutionalized within a political party and implemented across half the states.

This larger insurrection, organized by a powerful party, urged on by right-wing media, and funded by big-pocketed donors, won't have to storm the barricades. They're already in power—and they want more.

Starting right now, defenders of democracy will need to press Democrats in Congress and the White House to act quickly to protect voting rights and elections, the right to choose, and public health, all while managing inflation and a pandemic.

Will American democracy survive the onslaught? That's up to us.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.
John Feffer

John Feffer

John Feffer is the author of the dystopian novel "Splinterlands" (2016) and the director of Foreign Policy In Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies. His novel, "Frostlands" (2018) is book two of his Splinterlands trilogy. Splinterlands book three "Songlands" was published in 2021. His podcast is available here.

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

'Witness Intimidation. Clear as Day': Jan. 6 Panel Teases Evidence of Cover-Up Effort

"Add witness tampering to the laundry list of crimes Trump and his allies must be charged with," said professor Robert Reich.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Bombshell After Bombshell' Dropped as Jan. 6 Testimony Homes In On Trump Guilt

"Hutchinson's testimony of the deeply detailed plans of January 6 and the inaction of those in the White House in response to the violence show just how close we came to a coup," said one pro-democracy organizer.

Brett Wilkins ·


Mark Meadows 'Did Seek That Pardon, Yes Ma'am,' Hutchinson Testifies

The former aide confirmed that attorney Rudy Giuliani also sought a presidential pardon related to the January 6 attack.

Jessica Corbett ·


UN Chief Warns of 'Ocean Emergency' as Leaders Confront Biodiversity Loss, Pollution

"We must turn the tide," said Secretary-General António Guterres. "A healthy and productive ocean is vital to our shared future."

Julia Conley ·


'I Don't F—ing Care That They Have Weapons': Trump Wanted Security to Let Armed Supporters March on Capitol

"They're not here to hurt me," Trump said on the day of the January 6 insurrection, testified a former aide to ex-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo