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‘Maybe our supporters have the right idea’


Dan Balz/WaPo:

Ignoring the Jan. 6 hearings? Michael Luttig explains why you shouldn’t.

J. Michael Luttig did more than demolish Trump’s claims that Pence could have stopped the electoral counting. He delivered a frightening analysis of American democracy on the brink and the former president’s role in bringing the country to the edge of further chaos.

Luttig was there because he had advised Vice President Mike Pence that Pence could not legally do what President Donald Trump wanted him to do, which was to interject himself in the process of ratifying the electoral count on Jan. 6 and prepare the ground to have the election overturned.
But the former federal appellate court judge far more than demolished the legal arguments Trump had bought into. His prepared statement was a clear-and-present-danger document, describing the fraught state of American democracy, the war that rages internally, and the role Trump and his followers have played to bring us to this moment.

NY Times:

Gun Talks Snag on Tricky Question: What Counts as a Boyfriend?

Among the sticking points holding up a final agreement on gun legislation is how to define a boyfriend in a provision meant to keep guns away from domestic abusers.

Current law bars people convicted of domestic violence or subject to a domestic violence restraining order from being able to buy a gun, but it applies only if they have been married to or lived with the victim, or had a child with them. Lawmakers have worked unsuccessfully for years to close what has come to be known as the “boyfriend loophole” by expanding the law to include other intimate partners. Taking such a step is seen as one of the more publicly popular and effective ways to reduce gun violence.



White Parents Rallied to Chase a Black Educator Out of Town. Then, They Followed Her to the Next One.

[Cecilia] Lewis was beginning to prepare for her move South, spending as much time with friends and family as possible, when she got a strange call from an official in her new school district. The person on the line — Lewis won’t say who — asked if she had ever heard of CRT.

Lewis responded, “Yes — culturally responsive teaching.” She was thinking of the philosophy that connects a child’s cultural background to what they learn in school. For Lewis, who’d studied Japanese and Russian in college and more recently traveled to Ghana with the Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad program for teachers, language and culture were essential to understanding anyone’s experience.

At that point, she wasn’t even familiar with the other CRT, critical race theory, which maintains that racial bias is embedded in America’s laws and institutions and has caused disproportionate harm to people of color. In a speech the previous fall, then-President Donald Trump condemned CRT as “toxic propaganda” and “ideological poison.


Greg Sargent/WaPo:

Stunning Trump revelations raise fears of a dark, violent future

At the close of Thursday’s Jan. 6 select committee hearing, J. Michael Luttig, a former federal judge widely respected by conservatives, issued a long-term warning. Trump and his allies pose a “clear and present danger to American democracy,” Luttig said, and pledge to “succeed in 2024 where they failed in 2020.”
“The former president and his allies,” Luttig continued, “are executing that blueprint for 2024 in open and plain view of the American public.”
This might seem like a narrow procedural prediction: If 2024 is super-close, they’ll attempt the same manipulation of our creaky electoral college machinery as last time. They might succeed. They’re putting those pieces in place right now.
That’s all true. But Luttig’s testimony, along with the shocking new revelations, point to something more fundamental at stake. These hearings are about what kind of long-term democratic future lies ahead: They represent an effort to minimize the possibility that we’re sliding headlong into a protracted era of chronic instability and rising political violence.

LA Times:

Inside the MAGA world scramble to produce findings suggesting the 2020 election was stolen

Since the violent attempt on Jan. 6, 2021, to stop certification of the 2020 election results, much of the scrutiny has been trained on what Trump knew, as well as the involvement of those closest to him, including his chief of staff, Mark Meadows. But it was dozens of true believers gathered in hotels in Washington and at the South Carolina plantation who collected the information upon which the Trump campaign based its unsubstantiated claims that the election was stolen, information also used to enlist state and federal lawmakers to assist in a bid to overturn the election results.


Jamelle Bouie/NY Times:

Ginni Thomas Has a Lot of Explaining to Do

Imagine what would have happened if Barack Obama had plotted to subvert and overturn a presidential election that he had lost.

Republicans would have lost their minds. Having whipped themselves into a lather over fake scandals and manufactured controversies during the actual Obama administration, they would have exploded into paroxysms of partisan rage over any one of these misdeeds. The Benghazi hearings would have looked like a sober-minded investigation compared with what Republicans would have unleashed if the shoe had been on the other foot.

NY Times:

Amid Jan. 6 Revelations, Election Lies Still Dominate the G.O.P.

The hearings have demolished the myth of a stolen presidential election, but with the 2022 primary season in full tilt, the revelations have not loosened the grip of the lie on Republicans.

The first three hearings of the House Jan. 6 committee have deeply undercut, if not demolished, the postelection myths repeated incessantly by former President Donald J. Trump and his supporters and embraced and amplified by Republicans in Congress.

A parade of Republican witnesses — his attorney general, William P. Barr, his daughter Ivanka Trump, and his own campaign lawyers — knew he had lost the election and told him so. Mr. Trump was informed that the demands he was making of Mr. Pence to block his defeat unilaterally were illegal. Even the most active coup plotter, the conservative lawyer John C. Eastman, conceded before Jan. 6 that his scheme was illegal and unconstitutional, then sought a presidential pardon after it led to mob violence.

Yet the most striking revelation so far may be how deeply Mr. Trump’s disregard for the truth and the rule of law have penetrated into the Republican Party, taking root in the fertile soil of a right-wing electorate stewing in conspiracy theories and well tended by their media of choice. The Republican response to the hearings — a combination of indifference, diversion and doubling down — reflects how central the lie of a stolen election has become to the party’s identity.

Jonathan Weiler/Substack:

Understanding Trumpism

Trump’s clownish bombast, his incessant name-calling, his delight in playing to the worst instincts of an increasingly worked up and bloodthirsty crowd, the way he reveled in playing the “heel,” – all of this mimicked the world that Vince McMahon, wrestling’s master promoter, turned into marketing gold.

In doing so, Trump rejected a core element of the old GOP. To return to Gerstle’s first point above, Trump had no use for the pro-trade tenets that Republican elites – however selectively – had long hewed to. In conjunction with his repudiation of those ideas, Trump had little patience for traditional conservative moralizing. By the lights of that older conservatism, one critical rationale for reducing the role of government was to reduce “dependency.” Freed from such shackles, individuals would have to cultivate for themselves a sense of initiative, industry and purpose that would be the building blocks of a virtuous society. Trump, by contrast, according to Gerstle, “regarded this GOP moralizing as both boring and out of touch with the real world….[Trump] was more interested in thrills and power than in integrity and discipline.” Trump supported deregulation, but not because he thought that free markets were virtuous institutions capable of instilling [in participants] ethical behavior.” Instead, for Trump, markets were “built for manipulation, contracts were made to be broken.”

All of the above provides a roadmap for understanding Trumpism generally, and for making sense specifically of his motives and behavior as he insisted that a coup be carried out on his behalf. Some have wondered whether Trump “knew” what he insisted on was wrong, or whether he was deluded into really believing that the election had been stolen out from under him. But all of that presumes, first of all, that Trump possesses a normal mind and a set of life experiences that ordinary people could even conceivably relate to.

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