The position of mainstream Republican leaders in Congress is that the January 6 insurrection, while regrettable, is behind us now. It does not require congressional investigation nor any further rebuke. What is needed, instead, is a series of state-level laws to clamp down on voting and make it easier for Republican poll-watchers and legislatures to challenge any results they don’t like.
In the Trumpiest portions of the party, the view is quite different. The rioters are martyrs, their plight needs redress, and their cause remains very much alive.
Maggie Haberman and the Washington Post report that Donald Trump has been proclaiming to anybody who would listen that his return to power is imminent. Trump is obsessively following a so-called “audit” in Arizona, which actually consist of right-wing grifters conducting alchemical procedures on ballots in order to supply a predetermined conclusion that Trump was robbed. The defeated president “has become so fixated on the audits that he suggested recently to allies that their success could result in his return to the White House this year, according to people familiar with comments he has made,” reports the Post.
The comical proceedings in Arizona have attracted Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania, who are interested in staging their own farcical ceremony to uphold Trump’s claim to power. In the Trumpist mythology, the Arizona cyber-ninja “recount” will be the “first domino,” followed by other states overturning their election results, culminating in Trump’s “reinstatement.”
Trump’s self-styled presidency in exile continues to focus on somehow seizing power. Pillow-monger Mike Lindell has reportedly persuaded Trump that his restoration will occur in August (though, as the Daily Beast notes, his timetable presumes a series of Supreme Court rulings that should have already begun to drop, but obviously have not). Trump recently met with Jeff Brain, CEO of the social-media site CloutHub, who helped organize the January 6 caravans, reports Hunter Walker.
Meanwhile, American Greatness, a journal dedicated to the proposition that one can stay loyal to Trump while maintaining a highbrow affect, has undertaken an editorial crusade to rehabilitate the Capitol rioters. One AG essay claims the real insurrectionists are “running the country and the bureaucracy, having imprisoned a few sad-sack political opponents who did not understand the rules of the game being played.” Another proposes that the rioters are heroes who should be elected to Congress.
Trump obviously is not going to be reinstalled as president this summer, or any time before 2025. But the neo-insurrection is no joke. Trump and his dead-enders have won the argument, or at least staked a claim to a large enough segment of their party that they can’t be cut off.
The party elite may roll its eyes in private, but its public agenda is to placate the insurrection. The Republican mainstream is refusing to talk about it not because it’s too weak to be taken seriously, but because it’s too strong. In the red states, Republicans are laying the groundwork to make the next insurrection easier. Trump and his diehards are busily rehabilitating the last one.