How about the good news first! It looks like Zephyr Teachout is ready to run for New York State Attorney General. According to Danielle Tcholakian's reporting for Jezebel, "If Tish James runs for governor of New York, which appears highly likely, Zephyr Teachout will throw her hat in the ring for New York Attorney General. Speaking now in an exclusive interview with Jezebel, she’s seemingly reinvigorated, typically earnest in her excitement as to what that office holder could do for criminal justice reform and real economic development, not to mention breaking up the mega-monopolies 'designed to extract and abuse people actually doing the work.'"
OK, that's the end of the good news. Writing for Right Wing Watch, Karim Zidan reported that neo-Nazis are training for combat. And-- not unrelated-- in yesterday's New Yorker, Susan Glasser wrote that the Battle of January 6th has just begun. Trump told Glasser that his mob of violent misfits and would-be insurrections was "actually at the Capitol for the purpose of 'protesting the Fake Election results' [and that] The House select committee investigating the events that day is the new 'Witch Hunt,' he claimed, and the real evil was not the attack on Congress by a violent horde of Confederate flag-waving Trumpians but the 'rigged' election, which illegitimately installed 'weak and corrupt leadership' in the U.S. In fact, because of this terrible new regime 'we may very well end up in a war with China who no longer respects the USA.' The 'Radical Left Democrats' are 'destroying our Nation,' he added. 'Our Country is in big trouble-- we better get going fast!' And this was all on a Wednesday in October when nothing much was going on."
I understand and sympathize with the impulse to believe that Trump is done and over with, even if he has refused to go off into the largely silent retirement from public life embraced by his predecessors. Time marches on; he’s already seventy-five years old. He’s talking about running again, but maybe-- probably, hopefully-- he won’t. (And loser Presidents, Grover Cleveland aside, never actually succeed in coming back.) When a new Pew Research Center poll, released this week, showed that forty-four per cent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents wanted Trump to run for President again in 2024, the Republican former representative Barbara Comstock, a rare Never Trump holdout, tweeted, “Most Rs realize Trump is a once and future Sore Loser. Stop fearing this dangerous and delusional man.” If only that were the case.
You can dismiss Trump as a joke, a poor sport, a clown, and a fool. “The former guy,” as President Biden memorably described him some months back, is undoubtedly all of those things. What he is not, however, is irrelevant. Sure, Trump is banned from Twitter and rarely on TV, except for a few reunions now and then with friends from Fox, such as “the great Sean Hannity.” Even his wildest pronouncements are rarely covered on the front pages of the Times or the Washington Post or, for that matter, on the home pages of Breitbart or the Drudge Report. Trump is being written about less, and thus talked about less on social media-- fifty per cent less since March, according to Axios.
But look at where our politics are, nine months after the insurrection, and they tell a radically different story. Trump is, per Pew and other recent polls, both the overwhelming favorite among Republicans for 2024 and their continuing spiritual leader. (Two-thirds of the Republicans and Republican-leaning independents that Pew surveyed wanted Trump to continue to be a major national figure, a total that’s gone up by ten points since January. Yes, that’s not a typo-- it’s gone up.) Just as important, he has succeeded in selling his party on his Big Lie about the 2020 election, on January 6th revisionism, and on taking a series of specific actions-- from changing how states certify elections to purging state Republican officials who did not go along with his 2020 coup attempt-- that will affect American democracy for years to come, whether or not Trump runs again.
...Nine months ago, in the immediate aftermath of the insurrection, enough Republican leaders and Trump White House officials viewed the Trump-inspired attack on the democratic transition of power as an event of such horrifying excess that it was difficult to imagine them normalizing, justifying, and rationalizing it as they had the Trumpian excesses of the previous four years. Yet that is exactly what has taken place in the intervening months. “Republicans initially started down the road to a post-Trump party, as opposed to a Trump party... and they backed up in record time,” Larry Sabato, the director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, told me, on Thursday. “They have missed the historic opportunity to put Trump in the past.” The result is that the political crisis today is worse than it was, not better. The unacceptable has been accepted by a shockingly large part of the population and its political leadership.
...Eighty-four per cent of Trump voters said that Democratic officials are a “clear and present danger” to society; seventy-eight per cent of Trump voters also said that Americans who strongly support Democrats are a “clear and present danger.” This level of antipathy is fully reciprocated by Democrats; eighty per cent of Biden voters surveyed said that Republican officials represent a “clear and present danger,” and seventy-five per cent of them said the same about Americans who strongly support Republicans. Things are so bad that fifty-two per cent of Trump voters and forty-one per cent of Biden voters said that they would favor seceding from America. January 6th may not have been the end of Trump so much as the beginning of something even worse.
That's the letter from Steve Bannon's attorney explaining that he won't be obeying the subpoena from the House Select Committee investigating the attempted coup. Trump told him not to. Trump also told coup plotters Mark Meadows, Dan Scavino and Kash Patel not to comply. Trump ha no legitimate executive privilege and Biden, who does, says he is waiving it in these 4 cases. The transparent strategy is to drag out the process with court cases and appeals until the Republicans win back the House and McCarthy disbands the select committee. Politico reported this afternoon that Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) confirmed in a statement that the two Trump associates had been in touch with the panel. Thompson and Cheney also threatened criminal contempt for former Trump campaign chief Steve Bannon, who had informed the committee he wouldn't cooperate with their inquiry into the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.