Those who attempted to subvert democracy have faced few political or legal consequences. As is typical, some rioters are facing prosecution while the elites who tried to overthrow the election through more bureaucratic or procedural means remain in good standing with their peers. The failure to impose accountability for an attempt to overthrow the constitutional order will encourage further such efforts.Meanwhile, those rare Republicans who did stand up against this attempt to destroy American democracy are the only ones dealing with real political consequences from their party, facing primary challenges, being forced into retirement, or being stripped of their leadership positions. Republican officials who were unwilling to use their office to overturn the election results are seeing challenges from Trump devotees who will, should the opportunity arise again.If Trump had succeeded, many of those downplaying the former president’s actions would today be rationalizing an American coup.
Not only is this right, it is inarguable. The biggest lessons from January 6 are (1) in the political sphere, elite conservatives have near-infinite layers of insulation from consequences, no matter how far they
stray blitz across the line of democracy and rule of law and (2) there is no illiberal, anti-democratic, or unlawful act taken by Trump and his lackeys which -- after a two or three week cooling down period -- elite conservatives will not find it in themselves to rationalize, explain away, or contend that "Biden/Harris/Clinton did the same thing, but worse." Minor nobodies may be sacrificed here and there, but if you get big enough in the right-wing ecosystem, it is impossible to fall from grace (unless you do the truly unthinkable heresy of standing against Trump for any reason on any subject).