During and in the immediate aftermath of Wednesday’s shameful attack on the U.S. Capitol building, Republicans and conservatives across the board voiced swift condemnation of the rioters. It was an attack on a sacred symbol of the American legislative branch, Americans were killed, and dozens more were badly injured. It was sad, it was frightening, it was lawless, and no party believed the guilty parties should escape swift justice.
Now, if 2020 memories can be stretched so far, compare this with the night of Aug. 27, when senators, congressman, government officials, volunteers, husbands, wives, and children exited the White House grounds. They had been celebrating the final night of the Republican National Convention, while outside in the darkness raging mobs stalked the streets waiting to attack.
I recall checking in that evening with friends and colleagues in the gardens. It was frightening, they’d said, hearing the chanting, drumming, and taunts surrounding the sacred seat of the American executive branch, and knowing they had to go into those mobs defenseless.
That night, footage showed Sen. Rand Paul and his wife fleeing while police defended them from violent attackers. An old man was punched in the head. One couple I spoke with escaped by following as closely as they could behind an official convoy, while others clung together while running for safety.
In the days after, we heard not a word about our sacred institutions, nor an utterance of insurrection, rebellion, or coup.
The corporate press has scurried to cover for this broad Democratic failure to speak up against left-wing political violence, piecing together scattered denouncements spread over months of rising mayhem. Meanwhile, corporate media glossed over noteworthy incidents like Vice President-elect Kamala Harris helping to raise money to indiscriminately bail out violent rioters, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler claiming Antifa is “a myth,” and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser gifting the White House rioters the base of operations they used to set up a mock guillotine and launch their White House attack.
But fine — here we are. Seven months after The Atlantic declared political riots “The American Way,” and six months after Democrats shot down a Senate resolution condemning mob violence, the left appears ready to finally seriously tackle the danger political violence poses to us all.
This sounds like a positive development for the entire country, but it unfortunately turns out their plan is the mass suppression of opposing speech, the weaponization of corporate donations, the destruction of the Republican Party’s tech infrastructure, the exile of prominent elected conservatives from the legislature, and a general “cleansing” of the GOP.
Over the past few days, we’ve seen Democrats and their corporate allies execute this plan. Social media sites, gun sites, and others have been unceremoniously deplatformed, the essential infrastructure of center-right tech has been shaken, countless independent voices have been silenced, and in addition to impeachment and disbarment, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee suggested adding Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley to a list of terrorists banned from flying. No evidence has yet been presented that any of the private companies deplatformed were involved in the riots, and the senators’ crime is simply demanding an election-fraud investigation, but no matter.
With a few brave exceptions, the Republican response to this onslaught has thus far been the equivalent of bringing notes of apology to their political hangings. Sens. Pat Toomey and Lisa Murkowski, for example, appear too focused on impeaching the outgoing president to defend their constituents’ constitutional rights.
Unsurprisingly, Democrats aren’t slowing their onslaught. Seeing their political opponents cowed, and further emboldened by impending control of both the legislative and executive branches of government, they’ve tacked even further left, with even fake-moderate West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin declining to rule out statehood for Puerto Rico or Washington, D.C.
With Democrats in control, Republicans are seriously short on options for the next two years. Working to force hard votes, fighting to hold up radical nominees, and bringing unrelenting pressure on the floor and in the media will have to suffice in a time the filibuster’s days are almost certainly numbered.
That doesn’t, however, mean it will not be essential to speak for the half of Americans who are about to lose their power in the federal government. Just two months ago, 74 million Americans — law-abiding, peaceful Americans — voted for President Donald Trump’s second term, and they do not disappear because it appears momentarily easy for Republicans to ignore them in the hope the left eats them last.
We are currently witnessing the biggest corporate-government power-grab in modern history. It’s an attack on our basic rights, it’s a chill on the myth of free competition in tech, it’s devastating to the minority party’s online outreach and fundraising, and it’s downright un-American.
What it is not is some magic wand to erase 74 million of us and call it “unity.” Despite these crackdowns, for now we still live in a two-party, minority-majority country. Now as much as ever, Republican lawmakers must recognize why — and fight for us all.