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Downtown Washington, DC is currently under what essentially amounts to military occupation. Streets are locked down, guarded by Army vehicles and blocked off by huge, garish checkpoints. Vehicular traffic is limited to motorists who can show papers demonstrating that, as one Guardsman told me, they are conducting “legitimate business.” (Apparently this includes Uber drivers and food delivery workers.) According to official estimates, 25,000 military personnel are now deployed to the area — on top of countless federal, state, and local law enforcement agents. Troops roam around carrying rifles with no ammo loaded. …


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The mob that barged into the Capitol Building on Wednesday accomplished a few things. First, it cemented the electoral demise of Donald Trump, whose termination from the presidency was merely delayed for a few hours by the chaos. Second, it put forward a public perception of Trump’s most ardent supporters as a collection of conspiracy-addled violent loons. Third, it humiliated and discredited Trump, who meekly conceded defeat the following day. There was no real “coup attempt,” despite incessant politician and media histrionics to that effect. Just a pitiful outburst that was quickly dispersed.

It was clear within about ten minutes of the intrusion that the most severe consequences would stem not from the incident itself, but the deliberately-stoked over-reaction. The bipartisan political and media class, whether cynically or sincerely, is broadcasting their steadfast conviction that this was something like a “MAGA Terrorist Insurrection” — which is literally how it’s being described on CNN. Under such allegedly extreme circumstances, of course extreme remedial action is going to be demanded. …


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We’re in the midst of what is likely the most extreme corporate censorship crusade in modern history — whereby oligarchic tech officials have moved to simultaneously purge the sitting, democratically-elected President from all the internet’s most-used public communications platforms — and the reaction among media activists (a more apt term than “journalists”) is 100% predictable: complete jubilation.

They absolutely love corporate censorship, and their ecstasy at its implementation grows in direct proportion to how ruthless and politically vengeful that censorship is. …


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We are being told that a “coup attempt” no longer needs to be understood as constituting an “attempt” to seize control of the government — as had generally been the common understanding of the term before the events of yesterday, which have caused the entire political and media establishment to go completely haywire.

Is it unusual for a mob to breach the Capitol Building — ransacking offices, taking goofy selfies, and disrupting the proceedings of Congress for a few hours? Yes, that’s unusual. But the idea that this was a real attempt at a “coup” — meaning an attempt to seize by force the reins of the most powerful state in world history — is so preposterous that you really have to be a special kind of deluded in order to believe it. Or if not deluded, you have to believe that using such terminology serves some other political purpose. Such as, perhaps, imposing even more stringent censorship on social media, where the “coup” is reported to have been organized. Or inflicting punishment on the man who is accused of “inciting” the coup, which you’ve spent four years desperately craving to do anyway. He’s already been effectively banned from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter — a rubicon-crossing event in the suppression of political speech which, of course, is being cheered by all the usual suspects who otherwise claim to be stalwart defenders of enlightened liberal values. …


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Electoral College protest in Harrisburg, PA — December 2016

Anyone who was remotely sentient during the aftermath of the 2016 election should be the furthest thing from surprised that the frenzy of that period has now been replicated in the aftermath of the 2020 election, albeit with a different partisan and temperamental hue.

I attended the official meeting of the Electoral College in Harrisburg, PA — December 2016 — and it was quite a mind-melting experience. Once an uneventful formality that hardly anyone except hardcore obsessives even knew was happening, the actual convening of the Electoral College had become an object of national fascination. Protesters, egged on by Democratic-affiliated advocacy groups and frenetic social media campaigns, had shown up at the State Capitol to berate Pennsylvania’s Republican electors and demand that they not vote to certify the state’s popular vote outcome for Donald Trump — on the ground that Trump had committed “treason,” and therefore posed such a dire national security threat that centuries of precedent should be summarily thrown out the window in order to block his assumption of office. The precise nature of this alleged “treason” was seldom clarified. …


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This was an election which blessedly provided more than enough fodder to make everyone feel a bit stupid. Pollsters and “modelers,” who spent months upon months projecting smug certitude about a massive-scale repudiation of Donald Trump, were once again embarrassed by huge systematic error in Trump’s favor — thus rendering much of what they had said worthless. On this score their predictions were even more error-riddled than 2016, undoubtedly the previous high watermark of phony media-crafted perceptions versus reality. …


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If your online feeds are anything like mine at the moment, you are being inundated with claims of fraud, rigging, and other malfeasance related to the election. Of course, these are coming almost entirely from aggrieved supporters of President Donald J. Trump — who seem to believe that there’s absolutely no possible way he could’ve lost legitimately. …


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From the moment Donald J. Trump took office, I argued it was necessary that he face a rational opposition — with an emphasis on “rational.” Discerning, targeted, evidence-based criticism would be imperative to counteract against Trump’s worst impulses, I maintained at the time, given his hardly-disguised penchant for blusterous, petty authoritarianism. …


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I generally think it’s good practice for journalists to be maximally transparent about their voting behavior. Or at least, I don’t think arguments that journalists should conceal their voting behavior from readers, viewers, and listeners are particularly defensible. The general need for transparency extends beyond mere voting to other domains of political belief, although I do have to say that my views about the desirability of journo-transparency have been challenged by the past four years. Journalists and everybody else who today operates under the putative banner of “media” generally have no compunction whatsoever about being 100% transparent regarding their burning hatred for Donald J. Trump — which often gets expressed through self-involved, self-pitying narratives about their supposed “lived experience.” Like going through the Trump era as well-compensated, socially and culturally cloistered employees of major media institutions was so deeply traumatic and personally endangering. I almost don’t need to know anything more about the interior lives and political beliefs of journalists; we’ve been overloaded with them. …


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Joe Biden’s relatively pain-free victory in the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries — notwithstanding a historically large and diverse field of candidates, some of whom had ardent followings and vast resources — prompted conspicuously little self-evaluation among Democratic Party elites. For most of the election cycle, he was far from the favored candidate of activists and journalists aligned with the party. In certain quarters the very notion of him running was considered offensive. Even operatives who worked directly with Biden in the Obama Administration and two winning presidential campaigns expressed reluctance to support him. There were several reasons for this widespread apprehension, but the principal one was his race and gender characteristics. “I’m over white men running the country,” LaTosha Brown, a “philanthropic consultant” founder of the group “Black Voters Matter,” inveighed in April 2019 when asked about the prospect of a Biden presidency. …

About

Michael Tracey

Roving journalist

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