One of the news reports following the attempted January 6 coup – not just to overthrow the presidency but to undermine American democracy altogether – is that then-President Trump (how sweet that “then” is) was considering issuing pre-emptive pardons to all of the Capitol rioters.
He was apparently dissuaded from this, advisors arguing that he would then have to “own” the riot and be saddled with responsibility for it.
But of course, pardons or not, Trump does own it – and so does the Republican party. Violent insurrection at the Capitol is just one of several things that the Republican party currently “owns,” no easy returns available.
Just a short list of these:
• The claim of massive election fraud. Following Trump’s lead, a number of Republicans supported and continually repeated this lie and in so doing set the stage for the riots and the possible claim of all future national elections as suspect, if not entirely fraudulent, thus undermining the very essence of democratic rule. But then, this is simply the most radical form of what the GOP has engaged in over the years to undermine voter rights: the development of policies driving vote suppression — touted as a reduction in fraud but really the blatant attempt to limit the numbers of black and brown people voting (and suspected of supporting that “other” party).
• QAnon. A pro-Trump coalition of crazies, QAnon is just one form of the GOP-abetted groups of far-right conspiracy-addicted organizations, fertilized and grown on social media. The most dangerous and most violence-prone of these organizations are the far right hate groups and white supremacists inciting domestic terrorism – and doing so at greater rates than the foreign-born variety. Yes, Republicans will claim that Democrats own the rioting in response to the killing of George Floyd and other unarmed Black people, but the these are hardly comparable in terms of motivation and resultant loss of life. And, in particular, a handful of Republican congresspeople will have to share, along with Trump, ownership of the Capitol rioters they aided in their announced intentions.
• Two trillion dollars of the national debt. Whatever is finally calculated over the next few years as the total national debt – currently ballooning by the pandemic and the need to aid Americans in paying their bills and buying food — $2 trillion dollars of the final total is the result of the Trump administration’s 2017 tax cuts. The loss of income resulting from these cuts was supposedly to be made up for by a projected 3% growth in the national economy. (Ha-ha, just one of Trump’s several unfounded “aspirations.”) Meanwhile, Republicans will once again don their fiscally conservative feathers and attempt to block the economic aid now desperately needed for millions of Americans.
• Donald Trump. Republicans are currently fractured in attempting to deal with their ownership of Donald Trump. What the heck to do with him? More than 70 million voted for him, so any abandonment by the GOP would alienate the majority of these and mean a massive loss of voter support. But then any decision to stick with him and his autocratic principles would be just as catastrophic, given the damage of his single term: administrative chaos; mismanagement/non-management of the virus, with a potential 500,000 deaths; the lowest approval rating in the history of the American presidency; and that sparkling new record for the number of presidential impeachments.
Of course, with the expected refusal of Republicans to find him guilty at his second impeachment trial, they are likely to continue their ownership of “Trumpism” and his viral threat to Constitutional democracy.
Plus, a quick personal note:
Received my first COVID -19 vaccination shot on Saturday – whew!
Scored an appointment at Petco Park – via vaccinationsuperstationsd.com (or call 211). Lines entering the Petco Tailgate Lot were not particularly long, and all seemed well organized. Tents set up, first for registering, checking appointment times and birth date info (no, not revealing which of the 65-and-over categories into which I fit).
Then our group of cars moved on to the next tent for our shots and provided a card scheduling the date of the second shot, four weeks later – and hopefully just as effective against some viral variant.
Our longest wait was the 15 or 20 minutes — to make sure no adverse reactions — and we were then allowed to move on out and home. Just a bit over two hours travel time.
Obviously a huge relief — but still wearing mask, social distancing, being very careful . . . until proverbial light at tunnel’s end becomes full sunshine.