Recently at The Bulwark:
SECRET POD: The Final Humiliation 🔐
SONNY BUNCH: Should 'Spider-Man: No Way Home' Be in the Best Picture Race? and a ‘Licorice Pizza’ Review
CHARLIE SYKES: Ted Cruz and the Politics of Groveling
You can support The Bulwark by subscribing to Bulwark+ or just by sharing this newsletter with someone you think would value it.
MATT JOHNSON writes: Jan. 6th Changed How the World Sees America.
Trump’s refusal to accept the results of the 2020 election, the first genuine challenge to the peaceful transition of power in the United States since the Civil War, further eroded the image of stability and order long projected by the United States, especially because Trump’s challenge was mounted on the flimsiest of pretexts. During an unhinged press conference in November 2020, Rudy Giuliani alleged “massive fraud” without a scrap of evidence. Sidney Powell, another member of Trump’s legal team, claimed that Dominion Voting Systems used vote-counting machines commissioned by Hugo Chavez and accused the company of conspiring with George Soros and Venezuelan intelligence agents in a plot to steal the election. Trump told Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.” The sight of an outgoing American president using the crudest banana republic tactics to cling to power has tarnished the United States’ reputation as a mature democracy—and it has done so at a time when America’s democratic example is more important than ever.
When Trump was impeached, a second time, for inciting the January 6 insurrection, Romney was joined by six of his Republican colleagues, but the Senate still fell ten votes short of conviction. Just as the entire world was watching when the Capitol was breached on live television, it was still watching when Congress failed to hold Trump accountable for creating the conditions for the insurrection. Much has been made of Trump’s pre-riot speech: “If you don’t fight like hell,” he told the crowd right before urging it to march toward the Capitol, “you’re not going to have a country anymore.” But the insurrectionist riot wouldn’t have been possible without Trump’s tireless campaign to delegitimize the election in advance. “This is going to be a fraud like you’ve never seen,” he announced. The election would be “rigged.” In a repeat of his behavior before the 2016 election, he declined to make a public commitment that he would respect the results. And sure enough, after his defeat, it was suddenly incumbent upon all patriots to “Stop the Steal”—the name of the rally on January 6.
Ted Cruz found out what happens when you don't use the language of the MAGA woke orthodoxy. Plus, liberals grousing about Dick Cheney: Do you want a pro- democracy coalition or don’t you? Tim Miller joins Charlie Sykes on today's podcast.
NY Times columnist Bret Stephens joins the panel, including Norm Ornstein, to discuss the GOP in the wake of Jan 6 and whether the Democrats are missing the boat on ECA and voting reform.
THURSDAY NIGHT BULWARK: Charlie Sykes, Amanda Carpenter, Jonathan Last, and Sarah Longwell discuss and dissect the January 6 insurrection one year later—what happened, what we still don’t know, and what we need to do to defend democracy.
Historian, journalist, and essayist Anne Applebaum joins Eric and Eliot from Poland. They discuss Vladimir Putin's grand strategy, the conflict between democracy and authoritarianism, why the "bad guys are winning," as well as the state of American democracy and the January 6 insurrection.
LIAM KERR on What Didn’t Happen After Jan. 6th.
In an alternate universe, those five dozen Blue Dogs who came to Washington with Barack Obama would have been recruiting potential Red Dog members of Congress (and their voters) to form a majority that could protect democracy. Instead, the Blue Dogs were themselves an endangered species.
But not all is lost. There are potential leaders with bipartisan credentials who have stepped forward to try to win back districts held by Trump-allied Republicans. These are January 7th Democrats: citizens with appealing backgrounds working across the aisle who have since emerged as strong candidates in winnable Republican-held congressional districts. There’s Will Rollins, a former aide to Governor Schwarzenneger, who credits January 6 with his decision to challenge GOP incumbent Ken Calvert (who supported Trump’s attempts to overturn the election). And Ben Samuels, a former advisor to Republican governor Charlie Baker, who cites the insurrection in his decision to do the same.
It’s not enough. But having a couple dynamic former aides to Republicans running as Democrats to knock out authoritarian-abetting GOP incumbents is a good start.
The Last Time We Had an Insurrectionist President by DANIEL GULLOTTA.
With the rise of Andrew Jackson and the Democratic party in the 1820s and 1830s, Tyler struggled to find his place in the emerging political order. He had initially opposed Jackson in 1824, only to support him reluctantly in 1828. But Jackson’s actions as president only further validated Tyler’s distrust. As a Southerner, he was appalled by Jackson’s militant hostility toward South Carolina throughout the nullification crisis, and he viewed Jackson’s war against the Second Bank of the United States as an abuse of executive power. Such experiences led Tyler to break with the Democrats and make common cause with the emerging anti-Jacksonian alliance, the Whig party.
Because of his status as of prominent Democratic defector from the South, Tyler was twice nominated by the Whigs for the vice presidency. Led by William Henry Harrison, the elderly hero of the battle of Tippecanoe, Tyler and the Whigs unseated Martin Van Buren in 1840. Following Harrison’s sudden death a mere 31 days after his inauguration, Tyler was elevated to the presidency and found himself at odds with most of his Whig compatriots: After he vetoed a bill to establish a National Bank, his whole cabinet resigned (except for Daniel Webster) and the Whig party expelled him. Now a president without a party, Tyler continued to feud with Congress to the point that a faction of Whigs attempted to impeach him. Because of his unpopularity and the way in which he had become president, Tyler was often mockingly called “His Accidency.” When his term ended in 1845, he left office spurned and politically homeless.
On the Jukebox… Richard Ashcroft live, The Drugs Don’t Work.
January 6th and “smearing” people. Tim Alberta is on fire.
People who were there on January 6… A WSJ profile of folks in the Capitol.
That’s it for me. Tech support questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions for me? Respond to this message.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. For full credits, please consult the article.