Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

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 new novel, "Frostlands" (2018) is book two of his Splinterlands trilogy. Splinterlands book three "Songlands" will be published in 2021. His podcast is available here.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

UN Chief Urges Global Solidarity on Covid, Climate, and Debt Relief

"The last two years have demonstrated a simple but brutal truth, if we leave anyone behind, in the end, we leave everyone behind," said the secretary-general at the opening of the virtual Davos summit.

Jessica Corbett ·


Sinema's MLK Day Tweet Sparks Online Fury

One group criticized the Democratic senator from Arizona as "the white moderate MLK warned us about."

Andrea Germanos ·


Why Did Democratic AG Kill Flint Water RICO Case?

"Political corruption poisoned Flint and political corruption shielded the wrongdoers from accountability," said one critic following new revelations.

Kenny Stancil ·


Progressives Counter Cherry-Picked Quotes With MLK's True Legacy

Calling out those who have "weaponized" his words "to justify legislated white supremacy," Rep. Ayanna Pressley said King "was a radical dreamer with a bold vision for revolutionary change."

Jessica Corbett ·


'No Celebration Without Legislation': King Family Leads Voting Rights March

"I will not accept empty promises in pursuit of my father's dream," said Martin Luther King III.

Andrea Germanos ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo