What happens next? ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

January 13, 2021

Understand more. Argue less.

Good morning. Political protest is an integral part of American politics; an avenue for discourse and compromise. Our democracy provides us the opportunities to influence the government in an effective and peaceful manner. This is part of what makes America strong.

Did someone forward this to you? Subscribe here


Seven Days Later

Kevin Lenthe

All Congressional Democrats and the majority of their Republican peers have condemned the Capitol Hill violence, although a few of Trump’s strongest supporters in Congress have not. Nonetheless, the blowback for Trump has been significant. 

House Democrats asserted Trump was responsible for the riots and should be removed from power via the 25th Amendment. Yesterday evening, Vice President Pence declined to invoke the 25th and become acting President. Democratic legislators have now turned to their plan B in an effort to make Trump the first U.S. President to be impeached twice. Later today, the House will vote and most likely pass a single impeachment charge: inciting an insurrection. However, for Trump to actually be convicted and removed from office, the Senate still has to hold a trial. They won’t have time to do so until after January 20th: Biden’s Inauguration.

In the meantime, Twitter and Snapchat permanently banned Trump, while Instagram and Facebook have done so until Biden is sworn in on January 20th. Some have pushed back with claims of censorship and violation of First Amendment rights, while others have said this was long overdue. As it stands, the First Amendment only applies to the government, not private companies. 

Here’s what else you need to know.

The Facts

  • 25th Amendment: Section 4. The vice president can become acting president if the majority of the Cabinet and the vice president vote to remove the sitting president. That sentence was confusing for us too, blame the Founding Fathers. (Constitute Project)

  • What’s next? On January 20th, the Democrats will gain a 50-50 Senate majority (with Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote). However, an impeachment conviction requires a two-thirds Senate majority, meaning 18 Republicans would have to vote in support of conviction for it to pass. (The Conversation)

  • Parler shown the door. The social media platform centered around free speech has grown exponentially in the last few months. It was removed from Apple and Google app stores after some Parler users were tied to organizing the violence last week. Amazon Web Services also banned Parler, citing 98 instances of posts encouraging violence. (Bloomberg)


How It's Being Spun

Katherine Chuang

Here are the narratives from both sides, along with supporting headlines and article snippets. These are not necessarily factual, but instead illustrate the news coverage that solidifies the narrative from each side. The bias ratings refer to news outlets as a whole, not a specific article.

Narrative from the Right

The hypocrisy of the Left never seems to fail. They were quick to overlook the summer violence, but now condemn conservatives after seeing a “peaceful protest” up close. Trump endorsed a lawful protest, not the wrongful insurrection that ensued. Impeaching and censoring him because of it is laughable posturing. 

Headlines & Snippets

Derschowitz Blasts Democrats' Impeachment Push

Congress does not have the power to hold an impeachment trial for any official after they've left office, Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz argued on "Hannity" Monday. (Fox News)

Manchin: ‘Ill-Advised’ to Impeach Trump Now, House Dems ‘Know the Votes Aren’t There’

I think this is so ill-advised for Joe Biden to be coming in, trying to heal the country, trying to be the president of all the people when we’re going to be so divided and fighting again. (Breitbart)

Exploiting The Capitol Riot To Kill Trump

Donald Trump has stumbled and fallen, and the establishment is not going to let slip this last opportunity to stomp him and his movement to death. (Breitbart)

Narrative from the Left

Trump and GOP politicians repeatedly preyed on economic and social turmoil to embolden their constituents. It finally caught up to them. Trump and the 135 Congressional Republicans who planned to object to the Electoral votes must be held responsible; they undermined our democracy with baseless claims of fraud.

Headlines & Snippets

Dems Eye Punishing Republicans Who Challenged Biden’s Win

Multiple Democrats raised the idea Monday that House chairs could keep any legislation co-sponsored by anti-certification Republicans from seeing the light of day. (Politico)

Rep. Liz Cheney Just Backed Impeaching Trump — And Even Mitch McConnell May Be Open To It

For the first time, there were signs Tuesday that some top Republican leaders might really be willing to take action against President Donald Trump — by supporting his impeachment or conviction. (Vox)

Impeachment Could Affect Trump Even As He Leaves Office

“A world in which the first populist president is not only impeached twice but is convicted sends a very strong signal about which direction they should go.” (BuzzFeed)

But, It's Not All Bias 

Sometimes, the news gets it right. Here are two cases where traditionally biased news outlets reported with relative objectivity, conceding a point to the other side's narrative.

Trump’s Path To The Political Graveyard

He was a classic protest candidate whose causes are largely exhausted. Recession and disease as well as his rhetoric have stemmed immigration; the bloom is off the rose of ‘neoliberalism’ in trade policy; the Supreme Court has been tamed; and there is reduced enthusiasm for regime-change wars. (American Conservative)

Why the Democrats should not impeach Donald Trump

“To pursue him now looks like a vendetta; not just against him, but against his cause and supporters. It is one thing to hate Trump but another to hate those who voted for him, and who in their hearts may yet admire Trump’s extremism and eccentricity and see him as their spokesman.” (Guardian)


What Does It All Mean?

Political protests are a central part of American democracy; the First Amendment protects the right to peacefully protest. It’s almost universally agreed that last Wednesday’s riots fell firmly outside the realm of “peaceful”, but opinions on how to handle the aftermath have not been as unanimous. Depending on where you get your news, these opinions may sound something like this:

  • If your news outlets lean left, you’re frustrated with the Republicans who shirked any responsibility for the riots.You want the politicians who enabled the violence to be held accountable… especially the president. If those that stormed the Capitol do not see consequences, you’re extremely worried by the very real threat of more unrest before Inauguration Day. 

  • If your news outlets lean right, you acknowledge that breaching the Capitol was wrong.However, it’s frustrating to watch the mainstream media group all conservatives in with the violent extremists. You’ll feel that with another witch-hunt, more Big Tech censorship, and a Democrat-run federal government, things will only get worse and you’ll seldom be heard.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is reportedly pleased with the impeachment proceedings, but even with moderate Democrat Joe Manchin opposing impeachment, getting the 18 Republicans needed to convict the president will be a tall order. At the moment, we don’t know how many will break party lines. A Senate acquittal like the one we saw back in February, albeit with potential Republican defections, appears to be the more realistic outcome.

If convicted, the Senate could vote on a subsequent ruling to bar Trump from holding public office in the future. That motion would require a simple 50-vote majority to pass (and not the two-thirds needed to impeach).

Whether he’s taken out of office or not, Trump still claims that he isn’t to blame for the Capitol chaos. It remains to be seen if party loyalty and voter opinion will impact how Congressional Republicans vote on impeachment: 96% of Democrats polled believed the Capitol Hill violence was Trump's fault, compared to just 30% of Republicans (though 82% do oppose the riots in general).

That fierce partisanship could further increase tensions in the lead up to Joe Biden’s Inauguration next Wednesday; the FBI has warned of the potential for armed pro-Trump gatherings at all 50 state capitals leading up to Joe Biden’s Inauguration on January 20th. The Pentagon authorized 15,000 national guard members to secure Washington D.C. before then.

All signs point to another busy and confusing week. As always, we’ll be here to break down what happened next Wednesday.

Civility Reflection

Now that you understand what's really going on, you're ready to take the next step and reflect on your week.

In this climate, what does civility look like in your life?

Reply to this email with your response and we’ll feature the winner next week!

Last Week's Winner

How do you feel about the Georgia elections? Can you see where the other side is coming from?

"I'm usually someone who obsessively checks Twitter during elections of big news cycles. During the Georgia elections, I tried just taking a break. I feel strongly about my candidates, but I can't change the outcome whether I obsess over them or not. I think it was a healthy change. Do I struggle to see where the other side is coming from? Definitely. Thankfully, your newsletter helped me out with that!"

Want to Learn More?

See you next Wednesday!