Trump’s MAGA Mob and Georgia’s Big Blue Wins
We come to you on an extraordinary day in American history,” says Toure on this week’s episode of democracy-ish, recorded as tear gas still lingered in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol after the president incited a violent, insurrectionist attack on Congress.
Thousands of Trump supporters rioted and looted in the U.S. Capitol after the lame-duck president urged them to protest the “fraudulent” election.
Meanwhile, a number of Republican lawmakers performed ceremonial “objections” to the certified Electoral College results.
Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock won runoff races in Georgia, turning the state blue for the first time in a generation and flipping the balance of power in the Senate.
Now that Mitch McConnell will lose his gavel, what can we expect from a Biden administration with a Democratic majority in Congress?
“We've been doing this show for a hot fucking minute,” says Danielle. “I have said it before: These treasonous fucking don't-tread-on-me white motherfuckers were going to try to invoke a civil war. And here we are.”
“Thousands of deranged anarchist terrorists attacked the Capitol Building,” says Toure. “It was a white riot –– with looting, while Republican elected officials tried to steal the election by challenging the Electoral College results.”
There’s no doubt the president himself provoked the hours-long insurrectionist melee. For weeks, he told his supporters to congregate in Washington on January 6 to protest the “stolen,” “fraudulent” election.
“It was a disgusting display of white privilege, of white power, of Republican stupidity,” says Toure.
Meanwhile, news outlets called Jon Ossoff the winner of his Georgia Senate runoff race with incumbent David Perdue.
The night before, the Rev. Raphael Warnock won Georgia’s other Senate seat, recently occupied by insider-trading traitor Kelly Loeffler.
And so, in the midst of unprecedented crises (sedition, pandemic, et cetera) we should get used to the idea of Senate Minority Leader McConnell.
We’d be celebrating if the seat of our government wasn’t under attack. But with Trump still in the White House, apparently all bets are off until Inauguration Day.
Let’s get into it.
Episode Highlights –– An Insane Day
Unmasked insurgents at the gates
Wednesday’s domestic-beer-hall coup was “a perfect culmination of the horrifying Trump presidency,” Toure says.
“If a movie ended with the moronic Trump deplorables on Capitol Hill, I'd be like, get the fuck out of here; that would never happen. The cops would shoot them all dead. But no, cops are taking selfies with the terrorists.”
Danielle wonders: “What more does America need to see to understand that white privilege is a thing? These people are so brazen, they’re not even wearing masks. And I'm not talking about face masks to protect against the global pandemic we are all still battling at this very fucking moment. I'm talking about masks so they don't get arrested.”
Essentially, the pro-Trump attackers were confident their whiteness was the only protection they need, she adds.
Furthermore, she believes the attack was enabled through “a coordinated effort” by the U.S. Capitol Police and the Department of Defense.
“When I worked on Capitol Hill, I stood in line for a long time to get inside that building,” she says. “It is not an easy feat to walk through. There are police everywhere. Now all of a sudden these motherfuckers were caught off guard? And feel so secure they take selfies?”
Law enforcement and (dis)order
“Apparently if you show up with 30,000 of your closest friends, you'll get right in,” says Toure of the security breach at the Capitol.
“The amount of restraint they showed, as opposed to the lack thereof shown to Black protesters threatening far less over the summer, is extraordinary.”
He points out that “the Republican party, especially under Trump, has been all about law and order, following the rules. And what Black Lives Matter wanted was completely made irrelevant because somebody somewhere threw a rock through an Apple store window.”
Just months ago, “William Barr gave the go-ahead for police on horseback to tear-gas peaceful protesters to clear the way so Donald Trump could stand in front of a church he doesn't attend, to hold up a book he doesn't read, to take a fucking photo,” Danielle adds.
So why couldn’t law enforcement control a violent, anarchist, treasonous MAGA mob that was threatening members of Congress?
The lie of American exceptionalism
For hours on Wednesday, politicians of every stripe urged the president to respond to the crisis at the Capitol with more than “milquetoast tweets,” Toure says.
But it wasn’t until President-Elect Biden did so on live TV that Trump finally released a videotaped statement –– in which “he again lied that the election was stolen … and congratulated the terrorists.”
To be precise, Trump’s remarks ended with: “This was a fraudulent election but we can't play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. We love you. You're very special. You've seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace.”
Toure can’t help but worry how this looks to people abroad who once saw this country as a beacon.
“American exceptionalism is bullshit, but the world bought it,” he says. “Imagine the shock and the horror undulating through the entire planet right now. And Donald Trump gives a taped statement?”
Trump’s ‘suicide caucus’
“This is, by far, the lowest moment in the history of the Trump movement,” says Toure. “But earlier in the day, we had elected officials who fucking know better resisting the counting of votes in Arizona. It was going to be a day-long effort. So the message to these morons on the street comes from up high.”
Not just Trump: lawmakers like Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley encouraged the insurrectors, “telling them we must do everything we can to resist the coming of Joe Biden,” Toure adds.
Even though these Republicans knew their ridiculous measure wouldn’t work, they insisted on “challenging” the already-certified Electoral College votes just for show, even as Mitch McConnell and Mike Pence stressed the need to move forward.
“I had to go through the extraordinary emotional circumstance of watching a McConnell speech and agreeing with almost every word,” says Toure. “It was fairly extraordinary that he, of all people, was getting it right: It doesn't make any fucking sense to throw out the election.”
But the physical insurrection was thus followed “by a parliamentary effort at the same thing” by the forever-Trumpers in Congress, who Toure calls “a suicide caucus, willing to wage completely ridiculous ceremonial battles on his behalf, even though he lost and he is about to be thrown out with the trash.”
Rebels without a cause
What’s most confounding to Toure is right-wing insurrectionists’ lack of a core philosophy beyond four more years for Trump.
“What do you guys want, besides Trump to continue being president?” he asks. “It's not like they're fighting for a cause. They just want to be against us.”
Danielle thinks they do have a cause. It’s the “ability to oppress without impunity,” she says. “Their desire is the ability to kill us in the streets. For that to be celebrated.”
Furthermore, she adds: “They don't want a democracy. They don't believe in the Constitution. They want an authoritarian regime that will uphold their whiteness as their currency.”
She sees Wednesday’s attempted coup as “an escalation of what they’ve been trying to do since 1877. I've heard so many cable news folks say, oh my god, no one could have ever seen this coming. What? No one who doesn't have eyes. No one who refuses to see or believe the truth.”
Reverend, senator, groundbreaker
As MAGAts sacked the Capitol, the balance of power flipped in the Senate.
“Can we have a moment for a shout out to another black elected senator?” asks Toure. “Warnock will be the first black elected senator from the South since Reconstruction.”
And, as Danielle points out, only the 11th black person to serve in the upper body of Congress.
“It’s an extraordinary moment,” says Toure.
“This extraordinary person comes up from nothing and will join the United States Senate … one of the most exclusive clubs in the country. He beat that ridiculous thief and racist Kelly Leoffler. I wanted her to lose more than any of them.”
The new blue Georgia
Flipping Georgia (and the Senate) blue is all thanks to Stacey Abrams, whose organizing efforts included registering thousands of Black voters and inspiring many to get involved in the political process for the first time.
“Let this be a lesson: When they beat you, don't leave, don't shut down, don't abandon the game,” he adds. “Go deeper, and remake the game in the way you want it to be.”
Danielle saw a tweet this week that said we have to stop thinking of states as “red states” and see them as the most voter-suppressed states.
“When you give people their actual fucking rights to be able to show up and vote, they actually do,” she says.
Leaders like Stacey Abrams and LaTosha Brown prove that national-party money and rhetoric isn’t as important as knowing your people and doing the work, Danielle adds.
“This is something that can and should be replicated throughout the country.”
Stacey Abrams’ next act
Toure and Danielle are both curious to see where Stacey Abrams goes from here.
“Does she want to be a governor? The head of the DNC? She's clearly shown tremendous political prowess,” Toure says. “She could probably be pretty much whatever she wants to be.”
Over the years, pundits have said Abrams should run for the House, the Senate or whatever vacancy arises.
“I was one of those people,” says Danielle. “But Stacey Abrams was just like, no, I don't want those small seats. I'm going to shift the direction of this entire country and show you what’s possible. She can do whatever she fucking chooses from this point on. If she wanted to run fucking Apple, I would say, you know what? Bitch, do it. You’re an organizer; organize some shit.”
Majority Minority Mitch
Ever since Mitch McConnell became Majority Leader, obstruction has been the modus operandi of the Republican Party.
He was hellbent on stopping President Obama from doing anything that requires Senate approval because he wanted him to appear ineffectual. The most notorious example was blocking the confirmation of Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland (now Biden’s Attorney General pick).
“This level of obstruction is unusual in the history of America,” says Toure. “This is not the way the Democrats play the game. It’s not the way Republicans played it before. And it continued throughout the Trump presidency.”
That’s all about to change. With 50 Democratic seats (plus a tie-breaking vote from VP/Senate President Kamala Harris), Biden will have a lot more latitude to accomplish his agenda. Bills that languished in the House might be resurrected with a chance of actually passing the Senate.
But, asks Danielle, “how can we have a brand new day with a Senate Majority Leader Schumer, who did dick while he was Minority Leader? With the same septuagenarians and octogenarians who have been playing this game for decades?”
The GOP’s domestic disturbance
At this moment, in spite of cyberattacks from Russia and China, “the greatest threat to American democracy and the future of America is the Republican Party,” says Toure.
“The call is coming from inside the house. It's like domestic violence: The greatest threat to a wife is her husband, not the stranger who might jump out of nowhere in a parking lot.”
He’s not quite sure how we get out of this, “because Republicans are clearly digging in their heels, willing to attack our institutions, figuratively and literally. I don't know where the next four years will lead.”
Unlike Danielle, he does think the next Democratic presidential nominee will be Kamala Harris –– and yet he admits the right wing “will unleash hell and fury to prevent a black woman who’s badass, and has a swagger, to become president.”
Sorry, not sorry: Toure keeps it real
One of Toure’s takeaways from 2020 is an “even greater sense of being unapologetic.”
He thought he was unapologetic before, but he realized “there are definitely moments when I was like, let's not make the white people uncomfortable. We don't have to bring up our political grievances or emotional distress.”
But in the spring/summer of BLM, he “was like, fuck that. I will say whatever I want and whatever I'm feeling, whenever. You're gonna get the real me. I urge all our friends and fans to be as unapologetic as you wish. Because if the white people in your lives –– friends, family, coworkers –– are really your allies, they will accept you and love you when you are critical of white people or you're talking about the pain white people have caused.”
America, if we can keep it
When Reverend Warnock won and Jon Ossoff led in the final stretch of the Georgia race, Toure thought: Wow, we're gonna have a celebratory show. America is happening now.
But then, when Republicans interrupted the usually pro forma Electoral College certification and a mob attacked the Capitol Building, “I was like, ooh –– can we confidently say there will be an America next week?”
“It’s a motherfucking tossup, folks,” says Danielle.
But we'll be back next week. Pray about it –– and hang on, America.
Get your weekly rundown of the presidential election from a Black progressive point of view on democracy-ish. Consider Danielle Moodie and Toure as your tour guides, flight attendants and/or therapists as we move through this dumpster fire of an election cycle — together!