Two Sides Now

TPM alum Greg Sargent has a column up at the Post looking at the work of experts in the field of democratic breakdown. Not collapse — that’s a bit different. We hear a lot of predictions about a coming U.S. civil war. But if the analog is the civil war of the 1860s that’s never been realistic. If nothing else the political geography doesn’t work. This would rather be an era of chronic political violence and instability: with episodes of paramilitary violence often egged on by elected leaders, assassinations, bombings, political crises, claimed stolen elections and actual stolen elections.

Earlier I noted that one of the most conspicuous aspects of the Jan. 6th hearings is the relative silence of elected Republicans. Where are the Republican electeds running to the cameras to counter-program at every intermission? Where are the outraged press conferences. Greg notes the same silence, but from the other direction. The scholars I referenced above note what a bad sign it is that we have this detailed look at an organized coup attempt by an outgoing president using political violence as a tool and yet Republican leaders are saying nothing about it.

“It would make all the difference in the world,” one of these scholars, Steven Levitsky, told Sargent, if Republicans would take this moment to definitively say that events like Jan. 6th and the lead up to it are beyond the pale, unacceptable in America. And yet, very clearly they’re not.

From one vantage point it may seem like Greg and I are saying diametrically opposed things. But I don’t think that’s the case. I also don’t think this is just the same as all those earlier times when Trump did something horrible or absurd and Republicans kept scurrying away after pretending not to hear reporters’ questions. They want Trumpism but they’re ready to be done with Trump. In a way they are playing out the dynamic which Florida Governor Ron DeSantis embodies. He’s a man who has not only remodeled his whole political persona around Trump but even apes his most signature hand mannerisms. And yet DeSantis is focused not on being Trump’s number one fan but his replacement. They seem to have learned not to love the Jan. 6 Committee but to appreciate its convenience.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest Edblog
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: