What Parler Saw

Still from Capitol insurrection video uploaded to Parler.com on January 6, 2021

As supporters of President Donald Trump took part in a violent riot at the Capitol, users of the social media service Parler posted videos of themselves and others joining the fray. ProPublica reviewed thousands of videos uploaded publicly to the service that were archived by a programmer before Parler was taken offline by its web host. Below is a collection of more than 500 videos that ProPublica determined were taken during the events of Jan. 6 and were relevant and newsworthy. Taken together, they provide one of the most comprehensive records of a dark event in American history through the eyes of those who took part.

-- "What Parler Saw during the Attack on the Capitol," ProPublica, January 14, 2021.

Where Sedition Is Rewarded

Map of US congressional districts represented by Republicans who voted to reject presidential election results in Arizona and/or Pennsylvania

A demographic and economic analysis of the constituencies represented by the 139 Republicans who objected to the certification of at least one states’ election results helps to clarify the social and material conditions in which this right wing authoritarianism has taken root.

In particular, the evidence cuts strongly against the conventional wisdom of Trumpism as “lumpen” Rust Belt rage, originating in the country’s shrinking rural hinterland. Rather, the picture that emerges of districts represented by the most committed Pro-Trump Republicans is one of fast-growing, rapidly diversifying greenfield suburbs where inequalities between white homeowners and their non-white neighbors have been shrinking and low voter turnout has helped deliver large margins to Republican candidates. . . .

The Republican Party’s most Pro-Trump members have been elected by higher income white homeowners in the fast-growing exurban fringe. They feel the social status traditionally associated with their identity as white Christians is being degraded and that left wing political movements pose a threat to their livelihoods and political power. In reaction, they have lashed themselves to a movement within the Republican Party led by President Trump that seeks to defend the privileges of property-owning white Americans in our political system, economy, and public life.

-- Jacob Whiten at Medium.com, January 11, 2001

Queens Man Impeached Again

A Queens-born real estate developer made history Wednesday when he became the first U.S. president ever impeached twice by the House of Representatives.

Donald Trump, a 74-year-old lame duck Republican, is accused of inciting a lethal mob of far-right supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol in order to prevent Congress from certifying the results of his resounding loss in the November 2020 election. President-elect Joe Biden, a Democrat, recorded 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232. . . .

In December 2019, Trump became the third president impeached by Congress — and the first from Queens.

-- David Brand, "Queens Man Impeached -- Again," Queens Daily Eagle, January 13, 2021.

Caitlin Flanagan on the Insurrectionists

Fired up by the Great Orator, they charged their way into the Capitol building, which turned out to be as heavily fortified as a slice of angel food cake. The proximate aim of the action was to get inside and stop the certification of the Electoral College vote so that Trump could win, the way Marty McFly went back in time to make sure his future parents fell in love so that he could be born. In one widely circulated video, police with riot shields tried to block the entry of one group of rioters, who yelled at them, “Pussies! Pussies!” And that was the first sign of some possible incoherence at the heart of the revolution. What was the cops’ manly option? Shooting the rioters? And more important: Isn’t this the pro-cop group, the party of law and order?

Once inside, they were bent on proving themselves fierce and intimidating—and they were those things. But when they got to the National Statuary Hall, on the second floor, where velvet ropes indicate the path that tourists must take, they immediately sorted themselves into a line and walked through it. In other words, they were biddable. They were men (and, yes, some women) lost in a modern world that no longer assumed they come first. They were looking for someone to tell them what to do. Trump told them what to do. So did the velvet ropes.

-- Caitlyn Flanagan, "Worst Revolution Ever," The Atlantic, January 10, 2021

Historians on the Insurrection

Megan Kate Nelson compiles historians' reactions to the Capitol Insurrection:

On January 6, 2021, a white-supremacist mob, incited by the President of the United States, attacked the U.S. Capitol building. . . . Historians immediately went to work, writing newsletters, columns, and OpEds to contextualize this event in the history of politics, white supremacy, law enforcement, and racist violence.

A list of their publications is below, in alphabetical order by author’s last name. These pieces use extended historical analysis to understand the events of January 6. This is a dynamic document, and will change as historians publish more pieces.

Mike Davis on the Insurrection

[S]omething unexpectedly profound happened: a deus ex machina that lifted the curse of Trump from the careers of conservative war hawks and right-wing young lions, whose ambitions until yesterday had been fettered by the presidential cult. Today was the signal for a long-awaited prison break. . . . the Republican Party has just undergone an irreparable split. By the White House’s Fuhrerprinzip standards, Pence, Tom Cotton, Chuck Grassley, Mike Lee, Ben Sasse, Jim Lankford even Kelly Loeffler are now traitors beyond the pale. This ironically enables them to become viable presidential contenders in a still far-right but post-Trump party. . . . the True Trumpists have become a de facto third party, bunkered down heavily in the House of Representatives. As Trump embalms himself in bitter revenge fantasies, reconciliation between the two camps will probably become impossible, although individual defections may occur. Mar-a-Lago will become base camp for the Trump death cult which will continue to mobilize his hardcore followers to terrorize Republican primaries and ensure the preservation of a large die-hard contingent in the House as well as in red-state legislatures. (Republicans in the Senate, accessing huge corporation donations, are far less vulnerable to such challenges.)

Tomorrow liberal pundits may reassure us that the Republicans have committed suicide, that the age of Trump is over, and that Democrats are on the verge of reclaiming hegemony. Similar declarations, of course, were made during vicious Republican primaries in 2015. They seemed very convincing at the time. But an open civil war amongst Republicans may only provide short-term advantages to Democrats, whose own divisions have been rubbed raw by Biden’s refusal to share power with progressives. Freed from Trump’s electronic fatwas, moreover, some of the younger Republican senators may prove to be much more formidable competitors for the white college-educated suburban vote than centrist Democrats realize. In any event, the only future that we can reliably foresee – a continuation of extreme socio-economic turbulence – renders political crystal balls useless.

-- Mike Davis in the New Left Review's new Sidecar blog, January 7, 2021

Trump/Raffensperger Election Call

There are but 16 days left in President Trump’s term, but there is no doubt that he will use all of his remaining time in office to inflict as much damage as he can on democracy — with members of a now-divided Republican Party acting as enablers.

That there are no limits to the lengths to which he will go in this ruinous effort was made clear from a phone call he made Saturday to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. In the call, Trump repeatedly urged Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to allow the secretary to recalculate the election results to show that the president, rather than President-elect Joe Biden, won the state.

The call, an audio of which was obtained by The Washington Post’s Amy Gardner, was as outrageous as it was chilling. Legal experts can debate how close to the line Trump was with the telephone call. Others can speculate about the president’s current state of mind. The content of the call speaks for itself, and the audio excerpts should be heard by anyone who cares about the integrity of elections in America.

Here was a desperate president alternately begging, pleading, cajoling and, yes, seeming to threaten a state official — and fellow Republican — by asking for a change in the outcome of an election that already had been recounted and then certified.

-- Dan Balz in The Washington Post, January 3, 2021