Update: It appears that both the RNC rank-and-file and the majority of Republicans in Congress are sticking with President Trump despite his role in yesterday's violence at the Capitol. Given the electoral incentives for GOP members to forget the attempted coup and move on, it appears unlikely that there will be any meaningful accountability for the leaders who made yesterday's insurrection so likely. We are in a very bad place. https://twitter.com/alexanderchee/status/1347262673315094529?s=20

Expand full comment

Thank you for your thoughtful article. I am glad that you can already think of some solutions to the electoral parts of this mess. I would like people to quit talking about this COUP in the past tense. This is ongoing and worsening rapidly. I hope I'm wrong, but every time I've thought Republicans would finally do the right thing, they have not.

Expand full comment

Thanks for your reflective post. I am intrigued, however, that like so many other commentators, you have made no mention of the role played by the selection of candidates via primaries in bringing the USA to its current state. They undermine almost completely the role of political parties as "gatekeepers", and empower extremist elements on both sides (witness Mr Trump's recent threats directed at officials in Georgia). By providing a rationale for people to become registered Republicans or Democrats, they reinforce psychologically, at least to some extent, an unhealthy degree of partisan identification. And it's pretty much unavoidable that voters in primaries will have only the vaguest idea of what their chosen candidate is really like: they are essentially voting for a carefully crafted image. Party insiders are much more likely to know which potential candidates are liars, narcissists, alcoholics, fraudsters, abusers etc; and while they often won't make that information public (in order to protect the party's image), they can take it into account when choosing who should be the party's standard bearers. (In a similar vein, one might wonder whether Boris Johnson would have made it to the Tory party leadership had it been left up to his colleagues in the House of Commons to decide, rather than a party membership again essentially voting for an image.) On the whole, primaries seem to provide as much a mechanism for infiltration of destructive elements as the spike on the outside of a coronavirus. In my country - Australia - primaries aren't used, and in general parties have made sensible choices of leaders, with only the odd exception. Ballot access is also easy: a party can register for federal purposes if it has 500 members nationwide. Those structural features make it very difficult for insurgents like Mr Trump and Senator Sanders to take over parties with which they have but limited historical connections, while still permitting them to engage politically by starting their own parties and contesting elections.

Expand full comment

Hi Elliott,

Forgive the possible grammatical errors and I'm less organized in my thoughts.

An attack on the United States Capital is a coup. I'm changing my position from earlier this week.

We're likely not a free and fair democracy at least in comparison when Gore, Kerry, McCain, and Romney lost and conceded. Hillary Clinton conceded after she lost in 2016, but the damage was done by Trump and him claiming if he lost the election, it was rigged.

Trump refusing to concede and Republicans "moving the goal posts."

Trump was never going to accept losing and his cult like followers weren't going to either. Congressional Republicans did something unprecedented and tried to "humor" Trump and refused to accept Biden's win as legitimate. Then, Republican's new excuse was wait until the Electoral College votes, then Biden becomes President-elect. Then it was, it isn't official until Congress tallies the votes. Finally, Republicans will challenge the Electoral Votes when during the joint session of Congress.

These images have stained the reputation of the United States.

The Confederate Flag in the Capital of the United States.


Images of Congressional police with their guns drawn and pointed at the protesters.


Headlines this morning in the United Kingdom.


The ZIP Ties and the Noose. Were protesters planning on taking members of Congress hostage and hanging them? This is quite terrifying.



We don't know what this means for the future of our country and that terrifying. The images themselves tell a story to ourselves and the rest of the world. What has America become?

Stay safe in DC.


Expand full comment