The Rolling Insurrection

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Democrats are rightly hitting Republicans for voting to “defund” the police in the form of federal law enforcement, and scheduling test votes like the one Majority Leader Chuck Schumer just announced. (This follows Trump’s demand that Republicans vote to cut off funding for the DOJ and FBI to force the end of the various prosecutions that await him.) This comes after Democrats have voted several times since the beginning of the pandemic to increase funding for law enforcement and Republicans have voted no. But there’s a broader and more sinister process unfolding that needs to be at the center of national conversation.

Donald Trump is demanding his followers break the federal government in order to protect him, in order to shut down investigations that imperil his personal freedom. The federal government isn’t only the Department of Justice and the FBI, of course. But the administration of criminal and civil law is a central, core governmental responsibility. In our system, that is carried out by the Department of Justice with the FBI providing the bulk of the policing and investigatory power to back up that administration. Whether we agree with the DOJ’s and the FBI’s current policies or whether we believe they are in need of some reform, no government can exist without such administration and powers.

Trump’s message is clear: my safety and freedom from accountability is more important than the public safety and the safety of the state itself. I come before the republic and the state. Trump’s party, or at least the better part of it, seems ready to comply with his demand. This isn’t identical to the Jan. 6 insurrection or other efforts to give Trump dictatorial powers. But it’s a branch of the same authoritarian, anti-constitutional tree. Trump’s war against the American republic continues as long as it doesn’t answer directly to him. It’s the Jan. 6 insurrection by other means.

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