I'ma take my victory lap.
After years and years of "ZOMFG THIS IS HOW HITLER HAPPENS" and "If Lebanon, then USA" and "If Hungary, then USA" and "If Italy, then USA" and "beer hall Putsch Putsch Putsch" and everyone inflicting exactly one Hannah Arendt quote on anyone who listened,
The Select Committee estimates that in the two months between the November election and the January 6th insurrection, President Trump or his inner circle engaged in at least 200 apparent acts of public or private outreach, pressure, or condemnation, targeting either State legislators or State or local election administrators, seeking to overturn State election results. This included at least:
68 meetings, attempted or connected phone calls, or text messages, each aimed at one or more State or local officials;
18 instances of prominent public remarks, with language targeting one or more such officials; and
125 social media posts by President Trump or senior aides targeting one or more such officials, either explicitly or implicitly, and mostly from his own account.
Furthermore, these efforts by President Trump’s team also involved two other initiatives attempting to enlist support from large numbers of State legislators all at once:
The Trump Campaign contacted or attempted to contact, nearly 200 State legislators from battleground States between November 30, 2020 and December 3, 2020, to solicit backing for possible Statehouse resolutions to overturn the election. At least some messages said they were “on behalf of the president.”
Nearly 300 State legislators from battleground States reportedly participated in a private briefing with President Trump, Rudolph Giuliani, John Eastman, and others on January 2. The president reportedly urged them to exercise what he called “the real power” to choose electoral votes before January 6, because, as President Trump allegedly said on the call, “I don’t think the country is going to take it.”
- “It’s not there. In this business, you can have it and have it so hot and it can go overnight and it’s gone and you can’t get it back. I think we’re just seeing it’s gone. The magic is gone,” an adviser said. “When Seb Gorka and Raheem Kassam and Kash Patel and Devin Nunes are your stars, that’s the D-list. It was D-list MAGA. When Brick Man — that freak, Brick Man — is in the VIP seating, we’ve got a problem.” Brick Man is a man who wears a suit made of fabric with — you guessed it — a brick pattern. The bricks symbolize the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. He wandered around the ballroom offering interviews to reporters. I have a high tolerance for this kind of shit, obviously, and I could not. “If you’re looking for an indication of how bad things are going,” the adviser added, “it’s Brick Man not just being there but being in the VIP section. Don Jr.’s not there!”
- Bannon’s speech is complicated, for all that it sounds like it was written with a testosterone shot as a pen. He is screaming for war. He is invoking the revolution. He is calling for the imprisonment of everyone in the intelligence community who prevented Trump from seizing power in 2020. Bannon claims not just one stolen election but two: that Russiagate deprived Trump of the ability to do all the Trumpy things he wanted to do. This is an aggressively pro-Trump speech.
Except Bannon’s speech too uses the past tense for the former president.
We now have an 800-page congressional report that says, in plain English, that Donald Trump AND ALL HIS FOLLOWERS did EVERYTHING THEY COULD TO OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT. For MONTHS. Speaking as someone with a perverse attraction to political instability, the United States withstood more internal political pressure than ANY OTHER GOVERNMENT I KNOW OF without breaking. If you include the fucking Russians? External pressure, too. One of two political parties tried to flush democracy down the goddamn toilet and FAILED because enough normies in the halls of bureaucracy just want a fucking reliable paycheck.
- Although the committee is right to laud the Republicans who testified, it must be said that most of them only spoke up long after the fact. And mostly when their own personal prospects were threatened. And some refused to speak at all. The report pointedly notes that Mike Pence refused to speak with the committee. Yet Cheney describes him as someone who “worked to defeat many of the worst parts of Trump’s plan to overturn the election.”
It’s an ugly quirk of this period of American history that people like Pence can be recognized for stepping away from the shattered-glass, ketchup-dripping, feces-smeared mess they helped Trump create, without lifting a finger to do any meaningful clean-up.
This was not a republic saved by a few good people doing good things. This is a republic saved by inertia, saved by apathy, saved by bureaucracy, saved by the selfish self-interests of a million men in gray. But save it they did?
- He had wanted to be in the movie business. It’s important to never forget this about him. He watches Sunset Boulevard, “one of the greatest of all time,” again and again and again. A silent-picture star sidelined by the talkies, driven to madness, in denial over her faded celebrity. When he was a businessman, he showed it to guests aboard his 727. When he was president, he held screenings of it for White House staff at Camp David.
He once showed it to his press secretary Stephanie Grisham, who later described how “the president, who could never sit still for anything without talking on the phone, sending a tweet, or flipping through TV channels, sat enthralled.” And he once showed it to Tim O’Brien, the biographer, who wrote that when Norma Desmond cried, “Those idiot producers. Those imbeciles! Haven’t they got any eyes? Have they forgotten what a star looks like? I’ll show them. I’ll be up there again, so help me!,” Trump leaned over O’Brien’s shoulder and whispered, “Is this an incredible scene or what? Just incredible.”
A washed-up star locked away in a mansion from the 1920s, afraid of the world outside, afraid it will remind him that time has passed … Well, he does not like the way it sounds for Trump. He still talks that way, in the third person. “This was the same thing in 2016. They said first, ‘Oh, Trump is just doing it for fun,’ and then they learned that wasn’t true,” he told me. “And then they said, ‘Well, he won’t win.’ And they learned that wasn’t true.”
There's a world of fucking difference between writing Mein Kampf while serving five years for failing to overthrow the government the first time and playing golf while awaiting prosecution for "at least 200 apparent acts of public or private outreach, pressure, or condemnation, targeting either State legislators or State or local election administrators, seeking to overturn State election results."
I've been bringing up Oswald Mosley a lot. Go ahead and search. 'cuz I'm done. From here on out I'm gonna bring up this.
The United States is the most inertia-filled democratic republic the world has ever seen, for better or worse. If nothing else, it makes it really fucking hard to knock over.
- In the interview with Maron, the President, confronting frustrations with the fact that he wasn’t able to alter the world with the wave of a rhetorical wand, offered an alternative view of how big democratic societies work. They are, he said, like ocean liners: you turn the wheel slowly, and the big ship pivots. “Sometimes your job is just to make stuff work,” Obama said. “Sometimes the task of government is to make incremental improvements or try to steer the ocean liner two degrees north or south so that, ten years from now, suddenly we’re in a very different place than we were. At the moment, people may feel like we need a fifty-degree turn; we don’t need a two-degree turn. And you say, ‘Well, if I turn fifty degrees, the whole ship turns’ ” over. Note that the President wasn’t saying that big ships aren’t worth turning, just that it takes time. Their very bigness is what makes them turn slowly, but their bigness is also what makes them worth turning.