Time moves quickly in politics and yesterday’s abstract questions are being worked out far quicker than I thought possible. A few quick points:
Looking past the unprecedented images, is this a demonstration that America’s democratic institutions were, when push came to shove, more resilient than some thought? That no matter how faint and far away, there was a red line for the Republican Party. Since the storming of the Capitol, several Senators who had planned to object to the certification of votes have changed their minds. Kelly Loeffler, who lost her Georgia by-election, has retracted her claims about electoral fraud. Mitch McConnell has condemned a “failed insurrection.”
The counter-argument is that these events say nothing about institutions, and instead the pivot away from Trump is cynical politics. Trumps electoral value has taken a hit with the Republicans losing in Georgia, and now the scenes on the Capitol. Those who had hoped to hitch themselves to a winning wagon are now rushing to get off a runaway train.
This is clearly true, but the political failure of a strategy premised on undermining democracy is a demonstration of the structural limits of the strategy itself.