Today’s events were the expression of a dangerous authoritarian movement that has been long in the making.
By David Sirota
Two months ago, The Daily Poster published a series of reports on the growing threat of a coup attempt, wondering why it wasn’t being taken more seriously by Democrats and the media. We were scoffed at and eye-rolled, as if such things could never happen in America.
Nobody is scoffing or eye-rolling anymore after today’s events at the U.S. Capitol. There, insurrectionists stormed the building and halted the certification of the national election, as security forces allowed them to breach the Senate chamber and shut down the proceedings. There was a notable difference in the way federal security forces met last year’s Black Lives Matter protests with a show of force, and the way they allowed the Capitol to be overrun by right-wing authoritarians that they knew were coming.
About a decade ago, I wrote a book called “The Uprising,” which described how we were entering an era of chaos where right-wing groups would try to seize power under the guise of populism. Clearly, that has been happening — we saw it speed up during the Tea Party backlash and it was further accelerated by Donald Trump, who is a unique president in his willingness to use the White House megaphone to foment and destabilize.
Today’s events were the result of all that incitement. It was a culmination that happened inside a culture of total impunity — and it is worth considering five points of context to understand what we’re really dealing with here, because it will likely continue after Trump leaves the White House.
1. We have long known that the far-right — and specifically many Trump supporters — are hostile to democracy. 2019 polling data from Monmouth University found about a third of the strongest supporters of Trump scored in the highest ratings for authoritarian tendencies. In all, Democracy Fund data show that roughly a third of Americans “say that an authoritarian alternative to democracy would be favorable.” That’s what was on display today.
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