Storming the Capitol: Trump stress-testing US democracy

Author : Georgiy Kuhaleyshvili

Source : 112 Ukraine

While Ukraine is celebrating Orthodox Christmas, the political crisis in the United States has reached its climax
10:00, 11 January 2021

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The thousands-strong rally of President Donald Trump in Washington on January 6 ended with the storming of the Capitol. The President refused to admit his defeat in the presidential election, accused the Democrats of falsifying the voting results in the states of Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, Michigan, Georgia, called on Vice President Mike Pence not to approve the election results during the session of both houses of the US Congress, which he chaired, to count the votes again in the states. Following this, Trump urged the protesters to move towards the government office.

Related: Twitter permanently suspends Trump's account

However, Trump's supporters went too far: they broke into the building of Congress and disrupted the session of members of the Senate and House of Representatives, which summed up the election results. Vandals damaged the office of House Democratic Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and destroyed several more congressional jobs. Until recently, the United States was considered one of the most democratic countries in the world, but you can argue with that, watching the actions of Trump’s supporters. In the entire history of the United States, no president has tried to obstruct the process of power transfer by force. Donald Trump's term expires on January 20, the day of Democrat Joe Biden's inauguration, but the political crisis in the United States will not end there.

There is safety in numbers

Trump and his supporters were in the minority and turned against themselves not only Democrats but also Republicans. Vice President Mike Pence refused to follow the instructions of his chief and bluntly stated that, according to the US Constitution, he does not have the authority to determine the outcome of the presidential election and he will not violate the principle of separation of powers, destroy the system of checks and contradictions on which the American state is based. The congressional session continued after police ousted the provocateurs from the Capitol. Earlier, the US Supreme Court, where the majority of judges were appointed during the presidency of the Republican presidents, dismissed the claim for violation of the vote-counting procedure in certain states.

Most Republicans did not join the Trumpists and accepted defeat with dignity. Senate Majority Chairman Mitch McConnell, who congratulated Joe Biden on his victory back in December, called Trump's actions a threat to democracy. Most members of the Republican-dominated Senate voted against proposals by Trump supporters not to approve election results in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada, Georgia. In particular, only seven Republican senators, including Ted Cruz from Texas and Rick Scott from Florida, voted to not approve the election results in Pennsylvania.

Related: Trump not to attend Biden's inauguration

Trump's mistake is that while holding public office, he continues to think in terms of business. However, the US political system is not the Trump Organization, where he could determine strategy and make decisions at his discretion. In light of recent events, Trump and his supporters will become outcasts among Republicans, as they put personal ambitions above the interests of their party and state. This casts doubt on Trump's prospects for running for president in 2024.

A blow to Republicans’ image

The state of affairs in the Republican Party is unenviable. In Georgia, the counting of votes for the rerun Senate elections continues, led by Democratic candidates John Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. If they win, the Democratic Party will gain control of the majority of seats in both houses of Congress. Trump added fuel to the fire with his undignified behavior.

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He disgraces the Republican Party because he resembles a suspicious dictator like Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who does not know how to lose and is trying by any means to keep power in his hands. Trumpists are not ashamed to violate law and order, to arrange provocations against officials. Tampering with a Congress building is not the only such case. In December, armed Trump supporters surrounded the home of Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, shouting threats and insults at her family. Trumpists have painted the facade of the house of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Trump has surpassed even ex-President George W. Bush, who, in the minds of American ordinary people, unleashed "eternal wars" in Afghanistan and Iraq, sacrificed thousands of military lives for the sake of fighting for resources, allowed the special services to wiretap telephone conversations and invade the privacy of millions of people under a pretext for the fight against terrorism. The GOP could not get rid of the plume of negativity left behind by Bush Jr. for eight years, and its candidates lost in the presidential elections until 2016.

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The only way for the GOP to shake off Trump's legacy is to write it off, but that won't be easy. The President is considering taking part in the 2024 presidential election. He has promised to nominate his associates for the next GOP primaries.

Related: Republican to consider Democrats' effort to impeach Trump after Capitol assault

A split in American society

The ongoing protests of Trump’s supporters signal that American society is split. In these elections, more than 74 million citizens voted for Donald Trump, and more than 81 million for Joe Biden. The incumbent president enjoys the support of the overwhelming majority of white Americans, mainly residents of the province and people of working professions. They perceive Biden as the successor of the cause of ex-President Barack Obama, unpopular among them, they see him as a protégé of large corporations, the establishment that does not care about the fate of ordinary people, the interests of small business, and they doubt that the former vice president will be able to cope with negative social the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Therefore, Trump feels so confident that he is trying to challenge the election results with the help of street protests and Republican officials from Texas and 17 other states. The protests of Trump’s supporters will probably not subside in American cities even after Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20. Like members of the Black lives matter human rights movement, they will destabilize the socio-political situation. It is an active minority with far-right and anti-migrant views that advocate reducing US participation in global initiatives.

Clashes with the police, damage to movable and immovable property, high-profile scandals will continue for at least the first half of 2021. The use of firearms is possible. Ironically, after the murder by law enforcement officers of one of Trump's supporters near the Capitol, shares of American arms companies Vista Outdoor, Sturm Ruger, Smith & Wesson went up 10-15%.

Related: Biden has no intentions to initiate impeachment procedure against Trump

Zero-sum game

President Donald Trump, like the Civil War southerner separatists such as Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, or General Robert Lee, will go down in history as a politician who tried to openly oppose the US political system. In any case, his zero-sum game is doomed to failure. If in Ukraine or Kyrgyzstan, where there is a problem of corruption and bureaucratic arbitrariness, it was possible to achieve repeat elections with the help of protest actions, then in such a mature democratic country like the United States, where laws work, this is impossible. Police arrested 62 protesters and shot four people, despite the fact that they began to storm the Capitol under the impression of the rally of the incumbent.

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Trump can be accused of inciting protestors to riot, as he urged them to go to the Capitol. It will not be possible to file a lawsuit against Trump in the coming days, since the Basic Law gives the head of state legal immunity. According to the Constitution, an American president can be removed from power through an impeachment procedure. This proposal was made by a member of the House of Representatives from the Democratic Party, Ilhan Omar, known for her ultra-left views. The Democratic Party and some Republicans have called on Vice President Pence to begin the process of removing Trump from power and temporarily taking the presidency (under the 25th Amendment to the Constitution). This is possible in case of the removal of the president or his incapacity.

There is no urgent need for this. Trump's presidency expires in two weeks, and then his opponents can sue him. Realizing this, Trump promised on January 7 to peacefully transfer power to Biden, although he never admitted defeat in the election.

Related: Iraq issues arrest warrant for Donald Trump

Biden can influence the future of Trump. In 1974, President Gerald Ford pardoned the retired ex-President Richard Nixon, who tried to install wiretaps at Democratic headquarters during the 1972 election campaign (Watergate scandal). However, Ford and Nixon worked in the same administration and were united by their membership in the Republican Party, unlike the antipodes of Trump and Biden. In addition, the condescending attitude towards Trump is unlikely to be understood in the Democratic Party. Trump wants it or not, he will have to come to terms with his biggest defeat. Otherwise, American law enforcement officers will deal with it.

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