Previous posts in this discussion:
PostJanuary 6th Was About Vandalism and Whining (Cameron Sawyer, Russia, 01/14/22 6:04 am)
Regarding the events of January 6th, 2021, John E asked: "Is there a clear distinction between seeking to overturn a democratic election, and overthrowing a government? Not all insurrections look like storming the Bastille or the Winter Palace."
I think there is. But the participants in the 6 January events didn't even "seek to overturn a democratic election." They sought to smash things up in the marble halls of our legislature, defile Nancy Pelosi's office, and take selfies amongst the destruction and defilement for social media. There was no plan for anything beyond this. 6 January was vandalism and riot par excellence, nothing more.
And going beyond the 6 January events, not much of anything concrete was done to "overturn the democratic election," beyond whining. This is Trump's style, however, going back to even before all of this, going back even to the 2016 election which brought him to power in the first place, which surprised no one more than it did Trump himself.
Trump never intended to win, and then be faced with the job of actually governing; he was, rather, prepared to whine about losing (in fact, was already whining about losing, just before he won) and profit from the publicity of having run. Perhaps he thought that he would be surprised in January 2021 by the election magically overturning itself, a parallel to the 2016 elections perhaps, but this was not to be. Like the perpetrators of 6 January, Trump does not rise to the level of an actual insurrectionist.
JE comments: The "Great Whine" of January 6th? Yet I would add that placing phone calls urging Secretaries of State to "find votes" and the spate of junk lawsuits goes beyond mere whining.
If you cannot win, whine...?
Give Trump Credit for January 6th
(Francisco Ramirez, USA
01/15/22 3:56 AM)
I beg to differ with Cameron Sawyer (January 14th).
January 6th did not simply happen and was not merely a riot and vandalism. It will not do to pretend this was like the riot and vandalism that followed the acquittal of Rodney King or other similar incidents.
I can think of no prior riot in which the participants were encouraged to assemble by a defeated presidential candidate who convinced them that the election was rigged. They were there to overturn what they perceived was a rigged election. That perception had been cultivated for a long time and they were primed to believe in rigged elections.
In 2016, Candidate Trump warned his supporters against the dangers of a rigged election. And even after he won, he insisted he also would have won the popular vote were it not for millions of illegal votes. A committee was created to find evidence of massive illegal voting. The committee was dissolved because there was no such evidence. But the massive fraud and rigged election narrative did not die.
In 2020 the narrative continued and really flourished in the months leading up to January 6th. Give Trump credit for being that successful in convincing that many people that the election was rigged. To believe there was massive fraud you had to ignore the fact that the courts rejected this argument (some of the plaintiffs are now defendants), that the Supreme Court opted not to hear the case--and no, this is not because of the inherently reticent character of the Supreme Court (not reticent in Gore v Bush), and that Republican Secretaries of State in Georgia and Arizona found no evidence of massive fraud. But apparently six out of ten Republicans believe this to be the case. (I assume that some WAISers do as well.)
I am not thinking about those who say the election was rigged for political reasons but know otherwise. I am thinking of those who really believe. For them January 6th was the last chance to right a wrong and save America. They were urged to show up and fight by Trump and by Trump allies. They were repeatedly urged and Trump and allies showed up on January 6th to further legitimate their presence. Not all the participants anticipated the successful invasion of Congress, but I think it is fair to say that all were there to stop the steal. More concretely they were there to get Pence to not move forward and confirm the election. Trump had leaned on Pence and Pence sought legal advice as to whether he had the authority to do so. I doubt Pence really thinks January 6th was just a riot.
There was indeed a lot of crazy expressive behavior, but from the perspective of Trump and allies there was an instrumental goal: overturn a rigged election.
As is getting clearer with further evidence revealed, this was not the only overturning avenue explored in the White House. A military option was considered.
I agree with Cameron that Trump did not expect to win in 2016 and was prepared to profit from the publicity. But in 2020 Trump really wanted to win. Why else would he phone the Georgia Secretary of State and ask him to find the precise number of votes he needed to win?
It is a mistake to think of Trump as an inept clown. His bombastic style is misleading. He was deadly serious about staying in power and very successful in cultivating the rigged elections/massive fraud narrative.
It is also a mistake to think of January 6th as nothing more than a riot and vandalism. The bombastic style of some of the rioters should not obscure their goal to overturn the rigged election and save America.
Give Trump credit for January 6th.
JE comments: Francisco Ramírez draws a line between the cynics who sought to reverse the election for political gain, and those True Believers in the Big Lie. It's fair to say that most of the rioters of January 6th were in the latter camp. Did they really think they could have coerced Pence to refuse the certification? Is there any other way to explain the zeal of many in that crowd?
How Can So Many be Duped by a Disgraced Leader?
(Henry Levin, USA
01/16/22 6:10 AM)
Francisco Ramírez (January 15th) gave an excellent and sensible interpretation of January 6th.
It also reveals a mythic view of the symbolism of "democracy" when so many can be duped by a disgraced and dishonest "leader" with a complete absence of evidence on the purported scam that is at the heart of Republican justification.
We all ought to be ashamed that the democratic claims of our nation can be undermined by such an obvious perversion.
JE comments: I cannot understand the attempts to downplay the gravity of January 6th, 2021. At the same time, I confess that my dislike for Trump wouldn't be any less had there been no insurrection/riot/disturbance.
The DC "thing" of January 6th has become an intensifier of one's take on Trump: those who loathe him have the perfect "told you so" moment, while his partisans either deny his potential involvement, or argue that the riot wasn't so serious in the first place. Or both.
- What Was the January 6th Mob's Intention? (Patrick Mears, -Germany 01/15/22 7:07 AM)
Just a brief comment on the post authored by my friend, Cameron Sawyer. Regarding the event of January 6th, Cameron states, without it seems any concrete evidence, that "there was no plan for anything more after this."
First, God only knows what the plan would have evolved if this mob had interrupted the certification process that they so passionately sought to stop in its tracks. The insurrectionists clearly expressed their desire to "Hang Pence." What more proof beyond this does one need before reaching a conclusion concerning the mob's desires?
Hopefully, the criminal prosecutions will ferret out all of this, and I am eagerly awaiting the report.. Second, from what I have been reading in the media to date, it appears that this mob had much more in mind other than just "touring the Capitol." This entire attack via mob violence on the Capitol's doorsteps and even inside the Capitol itself reminds me of the attempted putsch against the French Assembly in the 1930s, which we have discussed recently on WAIS. I see no distinction whatsoever between these two events, other than one occurred in Paris and the other in Washington, DC.
JE comments: Or--sorry to venture into Godwin territory--the 1923 Beer Hall putsch in Munich. That event was deadlier (20 dead), but the number of rioter/insurrectionists was about the same (2000 to 2500).
Seditious Conspiracy Charges, and a 1954 Precedent
(Patrick Mears, -Germany
01/17/22 4:14 AM)
See this quote from yesterday's Washington Post:
"Hundreds have been charged after a pro-Trump mob stormed the United States Capitol, but on Thursday federal prosecutors filed seditious conspiracy charges for the first time in connection with Jan. 6 investigations, against the leader of the far-right organization Oath Keepers and 10 suspected associates.
"It marked one of the few instances in which the law--aimed at protecting the government from attacks--has been applied in the nation's history. While seditious conspiracy charges are rare, they were often used throughout the 20th century--to persecute Puerto Ricans.
"Before the Oath Keepers, there were Lolita Lebrón, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Andrés Figueroa Cordero and Irvin Flores Rodríguez--armed Puerto Rican nationalists who opened fire against members of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1954."
JE comments: Sedition charges are notoriously hard to prove. Are conspiratorial-sounding e-mails, texts, and fiery social media enough for a conviction, or does the sedition have to go from theory to "practice"? I hope one of WAISdom's JDs can give us a legal analysis.
Access the Washington Post piece below. The four shooters in the 1954 attack (no one was killed) spent twenty-five years in prison before being freed by Jimmy Carter. Rafael Cancel Miranda was the most recent to die, in 2020.
Sedition charge against Oath Keepers for the Jan. 6 riot previously used against Puerto Rican nationalists - The Washington Post
- What Was the January 6th Mob's Intention? (Patrick Mears, -Germany 01/15/22 7:07 AM)
- How Can So Many be Duped by a Disgraced Leader? (Henry Levin, USA 01/16/22 6:10 AM)