The coup attempt of January 6 was a brief, bizarre, and terrifying moment that exposed the fragility of American democracy. This week in OtherWords, we look at the shape of things a year later.

For a moment, it looked like there was a silver lining to the violence. As even Republicans condemned the Capitol riot — and the White House for instigating it — it looked briefly like the violence, conspiracy theories, and brazen contempt for democracy that had long marked the underbelly of the Trumpist movement had at last been permanently discredited.

Well, it wasn’t to be. A year out, writes John Feffer, the animating forces of the January 6 riot have been institutionalized by the Republican Party, right-wing media, and deep pocketed funders. If we want to save democracy in this country, he writes, it’s up to the rest of us now.

Speaking of those funders, a good many include corporations who loudly promised after the coup attempt to shut down their campaign contributions to members of Congress who’d enabled it. But as Kyle Herrig reports this week, many started writing big checks again only months later. Will a little sunlight get them back on track?

Finally, Robin Savannah Carver writes about what it was like actually living in D.C. during the unrest — and why it makes the case for D.C. statehood all the more pressing for the whole country.

I hope you had a good holiday and a happy New Year. Looking forward to sending you more soon!

New This Week…

The Party of January 6 | John Feffer
The coup attempt turned into a road map for the national GOP. Whether democracy survives is up to us.

Selling Out Democracy for Political Influence | Kyle Herrig
One year after January 6, corporations are once again filling the campaign coffers of politicians who tried to overthrow the last election.

January 6 Showed Why D.C. Deserves Statehood | Robin Savannah Carver
When I think of January 6, I remember the overwhelming helplessness — a familiar feeling to residents of the capital.

The ‘Failed’ Coup? | Khalil Bendib
Did January 6 actually fail?

In Case You Missed It…

A Few Magnificent Things That Happened in 2021 | Peter Certo
Feeling bleak? Well, 2021 wasn’t all bad — here are a few astounding things ordinary people won at home and abroad.

Three Reasons to Be Hopeful as a Hard Year Comes to a Close | Karen Dolan
The year to come could still see big changes for the better. Here’s how.

Affordable Child Care is the Boost Our Economy Needs | Mary C. King
High quality child care helps parents earn more now, kids earn more later, and keeps entire communities afloat.

Don’t Blame Benefits for Inflation — Blame the Global Economy | Sonali Kolhatkar
Ending child care subsidies won’t restock store shelves. A fairer, more sustainable global economy might.

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Peter Certo

Peter Certo is the editorial manager of the Institute for Policy Studies and editor of

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