1/6/21 – 11/5/24

It feels like we’re in the interim, a tense time when we’re waiting to see what happens next.

January 6, 2021 was one of those days when people needed to stand up and be counted. It was like December 7, 1941. Leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor there was a robust isolationist movement in the United States. The country was divided about entry into WW II. But after the attack, America came together. The leading isolationist organization, the America First Committee, shuttered itself and threw its support behind the war effort. Charles Lindbergh, an isolationist and Nazi sympathizer to that point, got himself assigned to the South Pacific as a civilian advisor but cajoled his way into the cockpit, eventually flying 50 combat missions over the South Pacific.

So, January 6, 2021 was that kind of inflection point. Who showed up to be modern day Lindberghs? Well, there were seven Republican senators and 10 GOP congressmen who voted to impeach Donald Trump for his role in the Insurrection. But most Republicans followed the lead of the likes of Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy. They started out saying the right things, then trimmed their sails after testing the political winds, and now they’re in full denial. The Insurrection? Just a handful of over-enthusiastic citizens on a Capitol tour. Nothing to see there.

Donald Trump incites a riot a year ago today.

It quickly became painfully clear that there would be no coming together. In my view, the months after the Insurrection marked the end of the Republican Party as an institution of liberal American democracy. It’s now essentially the Fascist Party of America. Despite my problems with the Democratic left, I cannot imagine ever not voting for a Democrat for any office simply to keep any Republican out of it.

So, now that we understand that nothing can bring the Republicans back from a brink they have plunged over, what happens next? Well, we’ll know by the next presidential election on November 5, 2024. What happens then, or in the weeks following, will determine how American democracy goes forward or if it does at all.

Republicans are gearing up to give the election to Trump, assuming he runs again, regardless of how the votes actually go down. Here’s a scenario that isn’t out of the question. Gov. Tony Evers is defeated this year by Republican Rebecca Kleefisch, a Trump sycophant if there ever was one. Republicans pass legislation, already talked about, to put election oversight directly into the hands of the Legislature they control. Without Evers there to block it, it becomes law. The Democrat again narrowly defeats Trump, but now the Legislature takes control and rules ballots in Madison, Milwaukee and Green Bay invalid based on false claims of fraud. The conservative majority on the Supreme Court upholds them. The election once again comes down to three states, Wisconsin among them. Similar tactics take place in Michigan and Arizona.

Now, it’s Democrats who scream that the election has been stolen, only in this case they’re right. But Trump and acolytes like Robin Vos have spent four years muddying the waters and raising doubts about our electoral process. They’ve claimed that a fair and accurate system was broken, then they actually did break it with their own “fixes.” Now they claim that their rigged results are the true and correct ones. And what happens after that is anybody’s guess.

That scenario is far too possible, but it’s also far from certain. Evers may well win reelection as might Democratic governors in other crucial states. Trump may not run after all or he might die before then, and I have some hope that no other Republican can quite pull off what he did. Trump is as thoroughly an awful human being as has ever walked the planet. I like to think (maybe I delude myself) that other Republicans, in the absence of his malign presence, would do the right thing when faced with a stark choice like this.

I wish I didn’t have to write this, but unfortunately, we’ll see.

Welcome to the 322nd consecutive day of posts here at YSDA. Thanks for reading.


Published by dave cieslewicz

Madison/Upper Peninsula based writer. Mayor of Madison, WI from 2003 to 2011.

7 thoughts on “1/6/21 – 11/5/24

  1. I wonder why Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy were not true leaders and voted for impeachment? Yes, there would have been some bellyaching about it for a while then it would have faded away after a while.

    It would have shown principle over politics. Furthermore it’s not like they would have lost in a primary. Plus it would not have rewarded Trump’s selfish nature. I am not of either Biden (that has been my view since the 80s) and Trump lost because he was his own worst enemy.

    Those are my thoughts for what they are worth

    Either way this too will pass.


  2. Thanks for the clear and perceptive writing.

    Yeah, this is a big deal. With only 2 parties to pick from, having one go so far down the cult of personality into la la land is a terrible outcome for all of us. The next 10 years will be a test for our country (us… all of us…). Love or hate, unity or division?


  3. I must respectfully decline your kind invitation to join you in your hallucination.

    Insurrection? Seriously? Insurrections have recognized leaders, a plan to achieve a specific goal, AND a plan of how to proceed once the goal is attained. The Jan. 6th riot lacked any perceptible, rational, plan what so ever. Trump said the things that his people wanted to hear, but no one was willing to DIE for him. The delusion that he is a “Svengali” is just that, a delusion. None of those rotting in jail for the last year woke up that morning with a realistic expectation of making it to the Capitol Building, much less inside.

    What the world witnessed that day is, unfortunately, a condition that all of humanity is susceptible to, MOB MENTALITY. It is all too common for ordinary people to harbor a fascination with violence and destruction to some degree or another. Their fantasies are only acted upon in the relative anonymity of a mob. It affects people of all races, political identity, economic levels, etc.

    Public protests are, in general, worthless exercises. They are social events for the participants that sway no one’s opinion and accomplish nothing. ( NOTE- re: protests– Civil Rights and Women’s Suffrage were notable exceptions.) Those involving large numbers of people all have the potential to turn violent. Breaking things and fighting with cops will not change an election, it’s just a “peaceful Antifa/BLM protest” without the bricks, rocks, and firebombs. By the same token, torching buildings and injuring cops will not make the lives of Blacks matter more.

    Anyone referring to Jan 6th as an insurrection needs to dial back the hyperbole, and stop being an agent for more division. With over 70 MILLION voters, this was the best Republicans could do? With THOUSANDS of people on site why did so few choose to participate in the “coup attempt”? Where were the follow-up attacks in the following days? Why does the FBI, to this day, say there is no indication of a coordinated plot? Why has the Justice Dept. only charged these people with “trespassing”, “interfering with an officer”,”destruction of property”and the like? I have been a Republican/Conservative (or “fascist”, as you so eloquently put it) for 50 years and I have never considered treason or sedition as an option, am I out of the loop?

    I was absolutely sickened by what I witnessed from the President, Vice President , and so-called “leaders” in their solemn tribute to the victims of Jan 6th. (BUT, it isn’t a new idea.)

    England, in 1605, was more deeply divided than we are today, but along religious lines, rather than political ones. England was, and had been for some time, a firmly Protestant controlled country In that year, after years of abuse and anti-Catholic violence, a group of men hatched a REAL insurrection, attempting to blow up the King,his family, government officials, and Parliament itself. The so-called “Gunpowder Plot” was uncovered, the plotters were tortured, hung, drawn and quartered. The King, (James the First) decided that each year this event would be commemorated with bonfires and festivities celebrating the saving of the Monarchy. For the next 200 years the Catholics of the country were expected to stand mutely as effigies of the Pope were burned on “Guy Fawkes” night. Catholic officials were expected to voice their approval of the proceedings, lest they be accused of treason. The idea was so popular that it was exported to the American Colonies as “Pope Night”.

    I now fear that the man who claimed that he would “bring us all together and unite us” wants a Republican “Guy Fawkes Night” instead. Anyone who truly believes that Jan 6th belongs on the same page as Pearl Harbor or 911 needs to read a history book. The greatest “existential threat” facing Your nation, MY nation,or OUR nation is mob mentality, whether climbing through a Capitol window, or, repeating the hyperboles of others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I interpret the threat to democracy as the millions of people to believe an election was stolen without any evidence. The participants in Jan. 6th symbolize this and are the tip of that spear. That threat continues and is still being inflamed by too many in the Republican Party.

      In the world of theology we are free to believe things without evidence, but it’s not healthy or productive for that to apply in our politics.

      That you interpret any commemoration of the day as partisan only proves the point. Being against a mob invading Congress is not partisan – Who is hallucinating here?

      I find the author’s views far less hallucinationatory than those of QAnon or Trump devotees, I’ll tell you that. Not to mention “protests don’t work except for those times they do….”

      I liked your example of England. I agree that we should be United and not see each other as the enemy. Talking about Jan. 6 isn’t anti-Republican any more than talking about CRT is anti-Democrat.

      Say it with me: the election wasn’t stolen.


  4. Well said pANTIFArts Nice historical perspective.

    As to the clear and present danger to our democracy is far more likely from the left, at least in part because most of the left appears to be under ‘mass formation psychosis’ and unable to look in the mirror at their own actions.

    I say this as a non-partisan, ex-lifelong Democrat. I’m no fan of Trump’s return, though I voted for him in 2016 and again in 2020. I would not vote for him in 2024. He had his time, it’s passed. However the great advantage to his presidency was helping a large number of people voice by vote their utter dissatisfaction with the political status quo. Did he also awaken moron racists? Yes, a tiny noisy fraction of our population.

    In contrast, the vast majority of Biden’s followers appear to be enthusiastically on board for the final destruction of the Bill of Rights under the guise of ‘science’. I am hopeful that many people realize this and will be the main reason why the Democrats are going to get their clocks cleaned in 2022.

    Liked by 1 person

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