In this edition: The insurrection in Washington, DC, raised some interesting questions and some widespread anxieties.
Personal note: I signed a contract last week to begin to freelance for Investopedia.
Last week, while Congress was in session to certify the election results, an armed mob breached the Capitol.
This was the first insurrection against Congress in an attempt to overturn an election in American history, resulting in multiple deaths.
One consequence is a loss of standing on the world stage, since it will become nigh impossible to talk about democratic values to countries like Russia and China, and certainly impossible to persuade anyone that our incursions around the globe are in the name of safeguarding democracy. This comes at a time when we’ve undermined our standing across most international arenas and with many allies, and may have larger consequences down the line.
Some of the causal factors that likely fed into this are rising inequality, continued stress over representational expansion, weak political parties, polarization, and the idiosyncratic blusteringly incompetent bullshit of the president himself. (The title of last week’s edition— The Bullshit hits the fan— scans as ever more relevant.)
My piece was an exercise, of course, in what should happen not what is probably going to happen. Most responses have centered around whether or not to invoke the 25th Amendment or to attempt to force through a last minute impeachment. On both counts, these seem unlikely. Vice-president Mike Pence, who had to flee the insurrectionist mob, has flatly declined to invoke the twenty-fifth. Many of the secretaries in the cabinet have either resigned or scrambled for a soft way to avoid invoking/supporting it as well. As for an impeachment, it seems dubious that Congress has enough time to push it through. It is not even clear that they would have the votes to do it. Ultimately, this is a bad signal for the republic.