Good Faith Is Going To Doom The January 6 Commission

Good Faith Is Going To Doom The January 6 Commission

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Maybe you watched the January 6 Commission's first primetime presentation of the findings of their investigation into Republicans' failed 2021 coup, and maybe you felt your blood boil, and maybe you had to beat back dark thoughts spurred by the trauma of that dark day, and maybe you hoped against hope that yes, there would be justice delivered, that the insurrectionists who tried to murder our elected officials and overthrow the federal government would get their comeuppance, that evil people would pay a price for being evil.

Then you watched the technocrats deliver their findings and your blood pressure stabilized and your wishes for justice faded into the recesses of your mind, which knows better than to expect such a thing from a feckless Democratic Party leadership.

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The commission's presentation – and its investigation into the country's near fall into permanent autocracy – was as good as it could be. It was largely sober and fact based and coated in a veneer of red, white, and blue. They even tried to make it seem bipartisan, pointing to Liz Cheney as the representative of "sane" Republicans doing their damndest to maintain the republican for a few more years. Keeping some semblance of democratic norms is not a bipartisan effort. It's insulting, in fact, to pretend it is years after a fully-radicalized Republican Party has made its peace with a post-democratic future in which it will use anti-democratic institutions – the Electoral College and the U.S. Senate among them – to seize power and never, ever give it up.

The Superior, Bad-Faith Enemy

The January 6 Commission stands no chance to effectively addressing the breakdown of democratic norms because the commission's members have chosen an apolitical, good-faith approach as the counter to a rabid, blood-thirsty, messianic, bad-faith opposition. Underlying the Big Lie – that the 2020 presidential election was stolen by Democrats and an international Jewish/Muslim/Socialist/Communist/European/Canadian conspiracy – is an ocean of bad-faith politics used effectively to forge an electorate of millions of Republican voters who truly believe Donald Trump was robbed of his reelection and that the United States is ruled by an illegitimate administration.

Bad-faith arguments were the centerpiece of the effort to subvert the 2020 election and install Trump for a second term, similarly to how Supreme Court conservatives installed George W. Bush as president in 2000 (that's where our horrors begin: Not with Trump, but with the 2000 election, the catalyst for the inevitable fascist takeover of the U.S. government. The zoomers have no idea). Republicans argued Vice President Mike Pence had to ignore the 2020 election results and instead certify a fake slate of electors because the election had been stolen. They created a reason to steal the election so they could steal the election. It's as simple as it is politically genius.

And after all that bad faith, all those cascading lies piling on top of each other one at a time, we have a good-faith group of lawmakers trying to make it right and drain the fascism out of the Republican Party. It's a doomed mission – one that's already been lost.

Democrats had two stark choices after Americans stood at the precipice of autocracy in the months after Biden was declared the winner of the Electoral College. They could have built and supported a partisan counteroffensive to the existential threat that is the Republican Party, tearing down the barriers to a real democratic society (abolishing the filibuster or the entire Senate, expanding the Supreme Court, doing away with the Electoral College, passing comprehensive voting rights reforms that would override Republicans' overtly racist gerrymanders in the states) or taking a nonpartisan approach that would not be critical of the Republican Party, but rather valorize it and root for its existence as good-faith opposition, as if that has ever been the case. That's why you have Nancy Pelosi and other geriatric, ineffectual Democratic leaders rambling on and on about the country's need for a "strong" GOP. Pelosi and company think – stupidly, foolishly, dangerously – that talking up the Republican Party will inspire the kind of congeniality that will lead to a return of pre-Trump American politics.

The Democrats, as always, took the cowardly way out. Of course they did: Taking the first path – forging a hyper-partisan electorate to crush the Trumpist Republican Party – would mean empowering the left. The Democratic Party would rather live forever under the iron fist of authoritarianism than cede one inch to the left; they've made this clear time and again during the never-ended crises of the 21st Century.

But why, you might ask. The answer is simple and sobering: Roping the left wing into a coordinated partisan pushback against Trump's party would mean the left eventually has a say in policy. And when the left has a say in policy, the supremacy of capital is threatened. The Democratic Party's central function in the US is (and has been) to work with Republicans to keep capital expanding at any cost – environmental, human, or otherwise. The party's role in our political horror show is to toss some crumbs to the masses when the national temperature gets too hot, to offer meaningless platitudes to historically oppressed groups while doing nothing to improve their material conditions, and to mercilessly suppress any person or organization that could conceivably prioritize human beings over capital.

If you wince at this, if you say no, Denny, you're being too hard on the Dems, they mean well, look no further than what Barack Obama did as soon as he ceded the White House to Donald Trump. He intervened in elections to choose the next head of the Democratic National Committee to ensure the left did not gain a foothold that could lead to Bernie Sanders as the Democrats' 2020 presidential nominee. Obama installed his labor secretary, Tom Perez, as the DNC leader, guaranteeing the party would not move left on any issue during the Trump years. Four years later, we end up with Joe Biden, the most conservative Democratic politician of the past four decades, as Trump's successor.

An Apolitical Approach To A Political Problem

The January 6 Commission will continue its apolitical work to address a deeply political problem and hope Attorney General Merrick Garland – a literal Republican – will take up their efforts and use their findings to prosecute those involved in the 2021 coup attempt. They will continue to operate under political norms while their opponents run roughshod over any and all guardrails protecting us from autocracy, and they will fail completely and utterly.

Democrats think they can talk the Republican Party out of a Trumpist future while actual insurrectionists win Republican primaries and promise to imprison their enemies when in power. There is no stopping this fascist train with traditional politics. Or in the case of the January 6 Commission, no politics at all.

The Democrats' frail, failed, foolhardy leadership cannot comprehend our political moment. They either do not believe or do not understand that we have fallen into the abyss of authoritarianism, and largely got lucky in defeating it during what was likely a coup practice run in 2020 and early 2021. We are not overlooking the abyss. We are in it. Just look around you, for the love of fuck.

A politics-as-usual approach to sussing out the ghouls in a radicalized Republican Party is going to doom the Democrats, and eventually, the entire country.

Follow Denny Carter on Twitter @CDCarter13 for maximum alienation.