Almost every clich of political theory has been used to describe the events of January 6 carnage, coup, even riot. But while Donald Trump may have incited the mob, the events at the United States Capitol were the unfortunate but logical conclusion of the way in which a dominant section of the Republican Party has articulated its political strategy over the last decade or more.
The swearing-in of Joe Biden as President on January 20 may, therefore, formally end the tenure of Donald Trump, but unless and until the Republican Party transforms itself, January 6 will be one more marker on the route of destructive politics that is dividing the US more strikingly than at any time since the American civil war.
In many ways, the events of January 6 could have been foretold when Trump and the core of his support base refused to accept that he had lost the presidential election. It was clear that Trump would not, to paraphrase Dylan Thomas, go gentle into the good night.
For most of his term, almost everyone who has observed Trump closely including many who have worked with him have been convinced that the incumbent in the Oval office is not entirely stable.
Almost a year ago, nearly 350 psychiatrists and other mental professionals petitioned to Congress that the Presidents mental health was rapidly deteriorating. At least two well-known psychiatrists from Yale and George Washington University stated that Trump appeared to be showing signs of delusion by doubling down on falsehoods and conspiracy theories. They concluded there was real potential that Trump could be ever more dangerous, a threat to the safety of our nation.
These delusions have only aggravated since the election, which Trump was convinced was stolen from him by fraud committed by the Democratic Party in collusion with local officials.
The dangerous politics of the Republican Party
However, the deeper cause that goes beyond the delusions of Trump lies within the Republican Party itself. While its core support is derived from an elite who are attracted to it on the basis of free market fundamentalism and what the writer-thinker Ayn Rand described as the virtue of selfishness (Rands The Fountainhead and its story of the architect Howard Roark is Trumps favourite novel), it needs a wider base to become electable.
In his review of Jacob S Hacker and Paul Piersons Let Them Eat Tweets: How the Right Rules in an Age of Extreme Inequality, Franklin Foer wrote in The New York Times: From their 19th-century inception, political parties of the right have faced an electoral disadvantage since, for the most part, they emerged as vessels for the wealthy, a definitionally small coterie. Their growth seemed further constrained by the fact that they could never match their opponents enticing promises of government largesse because their wealthy backers steadfastly refused to pay higher taxes
In order to become electable, the Republican Party has had to widen its constituency by adding toxic emotional content to its political ideology that has helped it to win the support of sections of the white working class.
It has done so by appealing to faith, patriotism, racial prejudice, and the so-called core American values and by exploiting the sense of victimhood of the white working class. While pre-Trump, much of the messaging was limited to dog whistling, the President was brazen in representing the Democratic Party as being against God and American values and freedoms (including the right to bear arms), and responsible for disenfranchising white voters by weakening voting laws and following pro immigration policies. Even the obvious need to wear masks during the Covid-19 pandemic was projected as an attempt by Democrats to undermine the fundamental rights of American citizens.
In the period after the election, Trump was publicly elusive, but was using the subterranean web and social media to mobilise his supporters to gather at the Capitol on the day Congress was to certify Joe Bidens election victory. His message was simple and direct: We will never give up, we will never concede You dont concede when theres theft involved. The former Mayor of New York and Trumps personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani added: Lets have trial by combat.
What followed at the US Capitol was a reflection of the delusional personality of Trump and the dangerous politics of the Republican Party, particularly aggrieved by losing both Senate seats from Georgia which was to a large extent due to an unprecedented mobilisation of black voters by Stacey Abrams, who almost single-handedly built a coalition of grassroots support for the Democratic Party in the state.
Capitol consequences, case for 25th Amendment
The short-term consequences of the events of January 6 are obvious. There is widespread outrage within most sections of public opinion, akin to a political catharsis. Internationally, US democracy is no longer the shining city on the hill.
But whether the outrage will be a moment of awakening, or epiphany as the Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi put it, remains to be seen. Much will depend on whether the Republican Party realises the limits of destructive Trumpism; there is some evidence in the distancing of key figures of the party from Trump and his follies.
As of now, for many, every one of the next 13 days that Trump has remaining in the Oval Office is a day too many; this is true for Americans as well as for the world. Trump is still in charge of the worlds largest nuclear arsenal, weapons that could destroy the planet as we know it several times over.
Therefore, there are serious moves to invoke the 25th Amendment. The Amendment, ratified in February 1967, deals with presidential disability and succession. While Section 3 of the 25th Amendment allows a President to declare his own inability (and has been invoked in the past during the Reagan and Bush eras), Section 4, which allows the Vice President and Cabinet to declare the Presidents inability, has never been invoked before. This is the critical section at issue today.
Under Section 4, if Vice President Mike Pence and the majority of the Trump Cabinet or another body approved by Congress give a written declaration to the President pro tempore of the Senate, Chuck Grassley, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, stating that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, Vice President Pence would assume power as the Acting President.
Thereafter, President Trump would have the right to challenge the decision through a written declaration stating that no inability exists. The Vice President and the majority of the Cabinet (or another body approved by Congress) would then have another four days to provide a second written declaration of the Presidents inability.
Within 21 days of this declaration, Congress would need to confirm the Presidents inability through a two-thirds vote of both Houses. However, this step would be unnecessary in Trumps case, because his term ends on January 20.
The American constitutional law scholar, Joel K Goldstein, has argued that while the 25th Amendment does not provide a definition of inability, legislative authorities indicate that Sections 3 and 4 of the Amendment refer to a wide range of physical and mental inabilities, which could be produced by attack, injury, illnessor could result from a degenerative process.
This definition could clearly encompass a range of possible psychological assessments of Trump. Moreover, as Goldstein points out, Section 4 applies both when a Presidential candidate refuses to recognise an inability, as well as when he is unable to do so. Thus, Trumps refusal to accept an assessment of his inability is irrelevant to an invocation of Section 4.
Going forward, India and post-Trump United States
Will the Trump Administrations perceived proximity to India cast a shadow on bilateral relations during the Biden-Harris era?
India-US relations have bipartisan support and a majority within the US Congress recognise the importance of India, given particularly the rise of a belligerent China. Nonetheless, it is critical for New Delhi to dispel the impression that it had a special relationship with the Trump Administration or that it would have been more comfortable with the re-election of a Republican President.
This demands also subtly tempering sections of the India diaspora who were enthusiastic Trump supporters, and reaching out to Democrats beyond key figures within the Biden-Harris administration. A willingness to engage with critics within the Democratic Party, and to be more open on sensitive issues could help to quickly ensure that the transition from Trump to Biden could be seamless at least for bilateral relations.
Read the original:
- Will the Democrats Trust Me? - Splice Today - June 4th, 2021
- Nothing to See Here - The American Prospect - June 4th, 2021
- The bill was never introduced, but Sisolak's Blockchains concept is still alive - Nevada Current - June 4th, 2021
- Step inside Ram Gopal Varma's office, where rooms are named after Donald Trump and Dawood Ibrahim - Hindustan Times - June 4th, 2021
- ALL CREATURES GRATE ON FOX'S 'HOUSEBROKEN' - The Republic - June 4th, 2021
- Congress Is Trying to Give Jeff Bezos's Space Firm $10 Billion of Your Tax Dollars | Hannah Cox - Foundation for Economic Education - June 4th, 2021
- My Turn: To those who fear non-leftists - The Recorder - May 29th, 2021
- The GOP Cant Be Savedand Neither Can Paul Ryan - The Nation - May 29th, 2021
- Army of the Dead mashes a heist flick with zombies - New Times SLO - May 27th, 2021
- Nepal Is the Boat of Democracy on The Road Ahead - IDN InDepthNews | Analysis That Matters - May 27th, 2021
- Video Games That Are Based on Novels Film Daily - Film Daily - May 27th, 2021
- Wisconsin Examiner Kids are getting their shots so should Ron Johnson - Wisconsin Examiner - May 16th, 2021
- Kids Are Getting VaccinatedSo Should Ron Johnson - Progressive.org - May 16th, 2021
- Reverential and referential: A review of the Hebrew Bible for Shavuot eve - The Jewish Standard - May 16th, 2021
- People Share the Book Titles That Would Make Them Walk Out of a First Date - Newsweek - May 11th, 2021
- Zack Snyder Has Delayed The Fountainhead Because He Thinks It Will Freak Everyone Out - MovieWeb - May 11th, 2021
- Rushs music taught me that I could grow, that I could change - The Globe and Mail - May 7th, 2021
- These COVID-19 patients coped with isolation and anxiety in their own uplifting ways - The Hindu - May 7th, 2021
- Climate targets must be realistic -- and demand the impossible - The Harvell gazette - May 7th, 2021
- Emily at the Edge of Chaos Peering over the precipice [MOVIE REVIEW] - Easy Reader - May 4th, 2021
- THE TEACHER'S DESK: We're almost there | Columns | thetimestribune.com - Times Tribune of Corbin - April 11th, 2021
- Allison Hanes: Laissez-faire fatalism seems to have infected Legault - Montreal Gazette - March 31st, 2021
- Letter: Re: Ethan Orr's Article on the Middle Class - Arizona Daily Star - March 31st, 2021
- Reaching Active Minds: Ayn Rand and the Ford Hall Forum - New Ideal - March 25th, 2021
- In Mosaic's darkly funny 'Inherit the Windbag,' an epic bickerfest (ep. 3) - DC Metro Theater Arts - March 25th, 2021
- Ralph Nader on Corporatism's Threat to Democracy - Progressive.org - March 25th, 2021
- There is such a thing as society: it has overcome Covid and restored the truth - TheArticle - March 20th, 2021
- Letter to the editor | UPJ nowhere to be found on Outlier site - TribDem.com - March 20th, 2021
- Talks of replacing Woody Allen in Ann Arbor mural reignited after new documentary - MLive.com - March 20th, 2021
- We wince; therefore, we are | Our Readers Speak | register-herald.com - Beckley Register-Herald - March 20th, 2021
- Why We Need Shakespeare and Beethoven - The Dispatch - March 20th, 2021
- B1G tourney preview: After 20 wins in NCAA regular season, Gophers still have something to prove in playoffs - Brainerd Dispatch - March 20th, 2021
- The Worst Ted Cruz Moments in History - Dallas Observer - March 20th, 2021
- The Books That Shaped Tina Howard and Teas to Pair With Them - Fort Worth Magazine - March 7th, 2021
- Are You Bullish or Bearish on America and Wall Street? - Stock Investor - March 7th, 2021
- Satire: Why two beers is the perfect amount - The State Press - March 7th, 2021
- Elon Musk and Amber Heard: How Did the Two Celebrities Meet? - Showbiz Cheat Sheet - March 7th, 2021
- CPAC Exposed the GOP's Fight for the Working Class as Just Another Culture War | Opinion - Newsweek - March 7th, 2021
- An Excerpt From 'Peter and the Wolves' by Adele Bertei on the Brief, Brilliant Life of Peter Laughner - Cleveland Scene - February 10th, 2021
- Our nation has never fully agreed on much, but it hasn't always torn itself apart | TheHill - The Hill - February 8th, 2021
- Paul and Romney embarrass themselves by lashing out at trans athletes - Outsports - February 8th, 2021
- Why Telling Students to 'Trust the Experts' Is Poor Advice | Caroline Breashears - Foundation for Economic Education - February 8th, 2021
- Liz was Isolated as a Felon on the Run, Transitioning Alone: Nick Cammilleri and Zackary Drucker on Their HBO Docuseries The Lady and the Dale -... - February 8th, 2021
- Letter: Pleased that Newhouse defended Constitution | Letters To Editor | yakimaherald.com - Yakima Herald-Republic - January 29th, 2021
- The more I practice, the better my luck - Las Cruces Bulletin - January 29th, 2021
- Geddy Lee on the Genius of Neil Peart - Rolling Stone - January 29th, 2021
- The Lady and The Dale | Review - The GATE - January 29th, 2021
- Ayn Rand on Morality and the Misuse of Political Power - New Ideal - January 27th, 2021
- 'The Lady and the Dale': TV Review - Hollywood Reporter - January 27th, 2021
- Closer to the park: St. Catharines commissions artwork to honour Rush drummer Neil Peart - The Globe and Mail - January 27th, 2021
- No more echo chambers: the internet's best left-wing thinkers - Spectator.co.uk - January 27th, 2021
- Currencies get back to the task at hand - FXStreet - January 27th, 2021
- Wikipedia is the last bastion of idealism on the internet Prospect Magazine - Prospect Magazine - January 27th, 2021
- article image Op-Ed: Investors making big money, but where are the trillions going? - Digital Journal - January 19th, 2021
- Unmasking the Deceased Programmer Who Donated 28 Bitcoin to Capitol Hill Rioters - Crypto Briefing - January 19th, 2021
- PERRY: Mayor Coffman's mock-homeless close-up highlights the danger of unreality TV - Sentinel Colorado - January 15th, 2021
- The Meaning Of Work For A Happy Life (And New Year) - Forbes - January 15th, 2021
- Is It Selfish to Never Wear a Mask? - New Ideal - October 22nd, 2020
- Ayn Rands power isnt dimmed by the collectivist age of the pandemic - Telegraph.co.uk - October 20th, 2020
- What Tech Calls Thinking: Book Review | by Joshua Adams | Oct, 2020 - Medium - October 20th, 2020
- Welcome to Dystopia: 45 Visions of What Lies Ahead - Morning Star Online - October 20th, 2020
- The Dictatorial Impulse Behind the Shaming of PPP Recipients - New Ideal - July 21st, 2020
- Instead Of Open Or Closed, Dial Your Mind To Active - Forbes - July 21st, 2020
- Big problems with the Paycheck Protection Program? - The Week - July 21st, 2020
- Finally: Diamond and Silk are releasing a book - The Spectator USA - July 21st, 2020
- Tagore's Gora to Krishnamurthy's Ponniyin Selvan: Add these regional language books to your reading list - India Today - July 21st, 2020
- When MGM and the FBI Chased 'The Father of the Atomic Bomb' - WhoWhatWhy - July 21st, 2020
- What's Wrong With Ayn Rand's Philosophy? - The Objective ... - July 13th, 2020
- In sign of the times, Ayn Rand Institute approved for PPP loan - Reuters - July 13th, 2020
- 'We Took PPP Funds and Would Do It Again' - New Ideal - July 13th, 2020
- Auchter's Art: The confusing narrative of Betsy DeVos - Michigan Radio - July 13th, 2020
- Wisconsin school board member asked to resign after posting that 'George Floyd is drug free for 2 months' - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - July 13th, 2020
- St. Joseph reaps short-lived cash infusion - News-Press Now - July 13th, 2020
- Tips and Murmurs: Ayn Rand Institute gets government handout - Crikey - July 13th, 2020
- Local anti-tax groups find even they need big government aid sometimes - Seattle Times - July 13th, 2020
- Climbing aboard the PPP train | Opinion | citizensvoice.com - Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice - July 13th, 2020
- Prominent and politically connected Austin firms among those getting bailout loans - Austin American-Statesman - July 13th, 2020
- Indiana PPP loan recipients: See the full searchable list of who received them - Courier & Press - July 13th, 2020
- Mississippi PPP loan recipients: See the full searchable list of who received them - Hattiesburg American - July 13th, 2020
- Paycheck Protection Payouts Give Taxpayers Plenty To Ponder | K. Lloyd Billingsley - The Beacon - July 13th, 2020