By Erin Doherty at Axios:
A New Jersey man on Friday became the first person to plead guilty to assaulting a law enforcement officer during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Scott Fairlamb’s attorneys say prosecutors will ask for a sentence of 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 years for the Jan. 6 riots, in which he participated in assaulting a police officer. “A video showed Fairlamb holding a collapsible baton and shouting, ‘What [do] patriots do? We f—— disarm them and then we storm the f—— Capitol!'”
3.5-4.5 years seems like a light sentence, but all he did was participate in an assault on the US Capitol with a goal of murdering the Vice President and Speaker of the House and overturning election results. Good thing for him he didn’t do anything super-serious, like paying with a possibly counterfeit $20 bill or selling loose cigarettes.
Are We Destined for a Trump Coup in 2024? — Ross Douthat at The New York Times.
Worries about a Republican coup in 2024 are reasonable, but doom-and-gloom pessimism is unreasonable, says Douthat. The GOP isn’t preparing for a coup, he says. The party’s attitude seems to be paying lip service to Trump and his supporters, throwing them a few bones, and outwaiting them.
Republican leaders say they support #StopTheSteal, but they’re doing nothing to advance the cause, and they’re not treating Biden as an illegitimate President or doing other things you’d expect if they were trying to foment an insurrection. Even the voter restrictions they’re putting in place on a state level are designed to head off claims of voter fraud.
Not said by Douthat: Yes, but the voter restrictions are unreasonable and disenfranchise likely Democratic voters.
… the key question is whether Trump and his allies will be able to consistently punish, not just a lightning rod like Raffensperger or the scattering of House Republicans who voted for impeachment, but the much larger number of G.O.P. officials who doomed the #StopTheSteal campaign through mere inaction — starting with Republican statehouse leaders in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Arizona and moving outward through the ranks from there.
Obsessing about a Republican coup could be counterproductive for Democrats, “whose immediate problem is a much more ordinary one: Its ideas and leaders in the last election cycle weren’t as popular as its activists imagined, and it’s therefore vulnerable not just to some future Trumpian chicanery but also to a relatively normal sort of repudiation, in which the democratic process works relatively smoothly — and rewards Republicans instead.”
Ben Jacobs at Vice:
One political scientist, the co-author of a book called “How Democracies Die,” put it bluntly: “I think we are headed for a crisis.”
The Republican Party’s rejection of democracy is unprecedented in history or world current events, say historians.
But Jan. 6 was like Fort Sumter. And so far the Democrats are a lot like Buchanan — inviting future bloodshed and crisis by failing to act decisively.
For the Republican Party, Jan. 6 was a training exercise. And it went pretty well for them overall.
The defining characteristics of true democracy are that the outcome of elections are uncertain, and the losing party cedes power. We’re seeing one of the major parties of the US reject both these principles.