This afternoon, a rally of Trump supporters — after being whipped up by Trump, repeating myths of a stolen election — stormed the Capitol building and stopped the electoral vote certification. Yes, it's an attempted coup.
Let's take a moment to acknowledge the emotional weight of this moment. This is awful and another line crossed by Trump's behavior. He called for the protest, spoke at it, and told his supporters to march to the Capitol. It is outrageous — broken windows, shots fired, explosive devices planted, 13 arrested with weapons confiscated inside the Capitol and one person shot under unclear circumstances. As members of the public, we're feeling angry and disheartened.
We always said a coup needs legitimacy to be successful. If the goal of today's seizure of the Capitol was to gain legitimacy, the action has backfired spectacularly.
The pillars of our democratic society are largely standing and supporting our democracy. This coup is not gaining traction or convincing the majority of lawmakers, particularly those required to certify election results. Police have successfully regained control of the Capitol (though questions will need to be answered about their taking selfies with occupiers inside the Capitol and the obvious disparate treatment of black protestors previously and the armed white protestors who just invaded the Capitol).
And it's not playing well in the public arena. In fact, the seizing of the Capitol is being decried widely by the right (some calling it domestic terrorism) — and even by politicians who supported stymying the election. This is a fluid situation.
Some other happenings of note:
Before the Capitol was breached, Pence signalled he will not and cannot stop certificationwith a letter to Congress;
Immediately after the insurrection at the Capitol, Politico reported a series of rapid condemnations of it from Trump-world — including people pleading with Trump to order protestors to go home;
Biden made a national speech demanding Trump unequivocally tell protestors to go home;
Eventually, Trump called on his supporters to "peacefully go home," while repeating myths about the election;
Meanwhile, calls are flooding in for Trump's resignation (e.g. from Piers Morgan), impeachment (e.g. from the NAACP), and for Pence to institute the 25th amendment (from the National Association of Manufacturers);
Twitter removed at least some of Trump's tweets;
Nancy Pelosi announced intention to resume the vote tally tonight.
You can be sure we are monitoring this situation. We are in discussion with allies around what development might call for a national mobilization. But strategically we think this is a last gasp and the risks are huge if we simply tell people to rush into the streets.
At this moment, we are not calling for mass protest. We think one of the most dangerous cocktails would be violent clashes between civilians. Tonight, we encourage people in the DC area to honor the curfew and stay home. Everyone at the Capitol should go home.
This violent coup attempt appears to be backfiring on its perpetrators, and they seem to be losing both in the electoral process and in the sphere of public opinion. They look out of control.
Tonight, the most effective action is to let the coup plotters expose how isolated and unsupported they are. Their actions are doing that.
We think it is strategic to get on with certification and finish it. Contact your Representatives to urge them to certify the results of the election ASAP. It's time to end this.
We are keeping a close eye to see if things change course. Some indications we're looking for are leaders of societal pillars — other than politicians or the Stop the Steal protestors — encouraging taking to the streets to support the coup OR, people successfully occupying the Capitol building and again delaying the vote certification.
Violence could escalate overnight, so it may be helpful to mentally prepare for that possibility. We think that behavior would only further isolate and discredit their effort to overturn the election.
We don't believe this coup attempt has the support necessary to overturn the election result. We believe we will see a democratic — if not peaceful — transfer of power on the 20th. And we return to the collective feeling: this is bad. This President's lies, urges to violence, and support of a coup attempt have done damage to our democracy that will take all of us to heal.
The Choose Democracy Team
and, deal with Trump.
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