Conservatives have long harnessed the extremist, far-right energies of their base to animate the party
In the days and weeks after the attack on the Capitol, Republican leaders publicly acknowledged Donald Trump’s culpability. Last week’s January 6 hearings presented footage of House minority leader Kevin McCarthy declaring Trump should have “immediately denounced” the attack, and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell accusing Trump of ignoring his duty as president. It was a striking reminder that immediately after the insurrection, elected Republicans as well as some of Trump’s allies in the rightwing media were rattled by what had happened, uncertain of how to continue.
But the moment quickly passed. January 6 obviously wasn’t enough for Republicans in Congress to actually impeach or for conservatives to break with Trump in any meaningful way. Instead, they closed ranks and rallied behind Trump: Republicans first acquitted him, then they started obstructing every attempt to hold him accountable, and now a majority of GOP candidates are running on the Big Lie, denying the legitimacy of the 2020 election. The few who broke with Trump have been fully marginalized or even ostracized from the party. Republicans did not come to see January 6 as the end of the line, the outrageous conclusion of the Trumpian experiment – they have come to see it as a blueprint: never concede an election, never accept defeat at the hands of what they see as a fundamentally “un-American” enemy.
Donald Trump | The Guardian
1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites)