With the inauguration of President Biden, people are hoping there will be a return to normal, following four years of chaos when what people said at 3 AM was completely turned around by 3PM.
Not so fast.
On his first day in office Biden got right to work reversing some of the most harmful policies of the past administration. Yet, we still have dangerously high numbers related to COVID. And we still have those who refuse to accept that Biden won, and by an overwhelming majority.
Walking and Chewing Gum
When it comes to the Senate trial for the Trump impeachment, Republicans cautioned that it would prevent the quick confirmation of many of Biden’s cabinet picks and overwhelm the Congressional calendar.
Democrats countered by stating that “Congress can walk and chew gum”, meaning they can pursue impeachment in the morning sessions and other duties later in the day. But they eventually agreed to begin Trump’s second impeachment trial February 9th, which would allow Biden’s cabinet to be confirmed, and hopefully his COVID relief plan to be adopted.
The second impeachment trial, with its single count of “incitement of insurrection” promises to be shorter than the first. Still, there is strong opposition from Republicans who argue that the purpose of an impeachment conviction is to remove someone from office. This point is moot, since Trump is already out of office, they contend. However, it’s the important follow-up to conviction that those who support it say matters. If Trump is convicted, the Senate could vote to ban him from ever seeking office again.
Ever the political animal, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sees convicting Trump as an opportunity to release the stranglehold that Trump has had on the Republican Party. Therefore, he has openly stated that Trump is responsible for inciting the violence and is encouraging members of his party to to vote their conscience.
The Patriot Party
Even if convicted and banned from a future presidential bid, Trump still can be a threat to the Republican Party. Trump has suggested that he would form his own Patriot Party to oppose Republicans who did not support him. This blatant attempt at political blackmail may be enough to sway those senators who were leaning towards conviction to once again acquit him despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Past incarnations of the Patriot Party were the American Patriot Party; a socialist group of anti-fascists that existed in the 1960s and 70s, and the White Patriot Party. The American Patriot Party was comprised of mainly poor, rural whites from Appalachia and the Pacific Northwest. Despite being a Whites only group, it adopted many of the community outreach programs initially used by the Black Panther Party.
The far right, and more militant White Patriot Party came to be in the 1970s. It was an outgrowth of the Carolina Ku Klux Klan and predictably adopted a policy of White supremacy and anti-Semitism. This incarnation is more in line with the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and other white supremacist organizations.
By threatening to form his own party, Trump is holding a proverbial knife to the throat of Republicans by taking away the support of his base. Even if he’s not allowed to run for office, Trump could still propose a candidate that would siphon votes from Republicans, making it difficult, if not impossible, for Republicans to ever win without his base.
Boo Hoo Q
QAnon, the right-wing conspiracy theory group that claims the Democratic Party is comprised of satan-worshipping pedophiles who drank the blood of innocents; who claimed there was a “Deep State” that was actually behind the inner workings of the government, and that voter fraud and a stolen election were facts, was especially upset at President Biden’s inauguration. They had expected a surprise uprising that would “rightfully” make Trump president again.
Many of those who took part in the January 6th insurrection were supporters of QAnon. They sought to prevent the certification of the Electoral College votes and demanded that then Vice President Mike Pence declare Trump the victor by using an alternate slate of pro-Trump electors. Q signs were prominent during the insurrection, as was the self-proclaimed QAnon shaman.
When the insurrection failed, QAnon seized upon another baseless conspiracy theory. What they called “the Storm”was their belief that, during the inauguration, Trump and his supporters would launch a two-week internet and power outage. During this time, Biden would be arrested, Trump would seize power seize power and declare martial law.
When this didn't happen, many adherents lost hope in Qanon’s conspiracy theories, and in government itself. Others claimed Trump would actually still be controlling things through a “shadow government”; the very definition of a “Deep State” they swore to oppose.
The current state of QAnon is a group in disarray. The very conspiracy theories it survived upon for years are imploding on themselves as plan after plan either fell through, or failed to materialize at all.
Unity, at a Cost
After years of divisive rhetoric and claims of a “radical left” cabal and Antifa terrorists, Republicans are suddenly calling for unity. Unfortunately, it is unity with strings attached. While many still refuse to acknowledge President Biden’s victory, they also are demanding that Democrats stop their efforts to convict Donald Trump “in the name of unity”.
In other words, Republicans want everyone to ignore the insurrection as a way to allow the country to “move on”. Yet, there are still those who claimed voter fraud and a stolen election, even after the insurrection, prompting calls for the resignation of Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO).
Yeah, they want unity.
Until there is justice, until ALL Republicans acknowledge the facts, until we agree upon who ultimately was responsible, things will be far from “normal”.