Donald Trump’s supporters probably thought it couldn’t get any worse than Election Day, or more precisely the hours and days afterward when the votes swung shockingly in Joe Biden’s favor—the day the winning stopped. Then came January 6, and the attack on the Capitol.

No citizen, no constitutionalist, no conservative could regard that day’s outrages with anything but dismay and indignation. To attempt to interrupt or intimidate the Congress in the performance of one of its highest constitutional duties, counting the electoral votes in order to select the next president, is a flagrant offense against the constitutional order. It would be like a violent mob storming the Supreme Court in order to prevent it from hearing oral arguments or from issuing a ruling in a case.

That it was “the people,” or rather a self-proclaimed subset of them, who assaulted the People’s House makes no difference. Nor is it an excuse that many of them surely thought they were trying to protect the country and the Constitution from a massive electoral fraud. “No grievance,” said Abraham Lincoln, “is a fit object of redress by mob law.” The Bill of Rights guarantees only “the right of the people peaceably [emphasis added] to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

It is true that the mob on January 6 started out as part of a peaceful crowd at a Trump rally on the Ellipse. Mobs often start out peacefully, but it is also true that most crowds don’t take such a violent turn. There was probably a selection effect at work, as Steve Sailer speculated on his blog. When Trump attends a rally in the hinterlands, his crowds “are the salt of the earth. But when he calls for his supporters to come to him from all across the country,” wrote Sailer, the cost of travel, as well as other factors, select for more passionate enthusiasm.

So he winds up with a crowd that consists of tens of thousands of law-abiding citizens, a few thousand adventurers who are up for taking selfies inside the Capitol, a few hundred street brawlers up for a good old fight…, and a few dozen real crazies.

On December 19, in a tweet announcing his adviser Peter Navarro’s conclusion that it was “statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 election,” President Trump added, “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!” The odd juxtaposition of statistics and “wild” protest would scar the day itself. A large crowd, variously estimated to range from the tens of thousands to several hundred thousand people, gathered peaceably at the “Stop the Steal” rally. After listening to several hours of arguments statistical, historical, and political, they were adjured to march to the Capitol to make their voices heard. At that point, the sheer fact of mass became important. Tens of thousands began to stream toward the Capitol to do what, exactly? No petitions had been prepared to present to their members of Congress. No preparations had been made to organize protests by, or to address, a crowd of that size, or even to contain them safely. They were left, apparently, to lap up against the building like waves pounding a breakwater.

The president didn’t address them. His rally was over, after all. He had returned to the White House to watch the unfolding protest on television. It was wild, unscripted, reality TV, with the participants left to make it up as they went along. No one knew whether the resulting show would be drama or comedy. It turned out to be tragedy.

The Second Impeachment

The Left and the Never Trump Republicans had long insisted that Donald Trump was a threat to American democracy. The reasons were exhaustive, from Russia collusion to his alleged racism and bad character. He was denounced as (depending on the expert) an authoritarian, a populist, or even an authoritarian populist.

In one afternoon, in broad daylight, Trump seemingly gave them the proof they had been looking for. “Suddenly all but the most fanatical partisans,” exclaimed Michelle Goldberg in the New York Times, “admitted that Trump was exactly who his fiercest critics have always said he was…. The siege of the Capitol wasn’t a departure for Trump, it was an apotheosis.” Almost instantly, the House of Representatives impeached him for “incitement of insurrection.” Within days, a general delegitimization or shaming set in: a law firm dropped the Trump Organization as a client; the PGA yanked a tournament from one of his golf courses; Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and other social media platforms banned him from their pages.

He gave them the rope with which to hang him, someone said. Five years after Watergate, reflecting to interviewer David Frost, Richard Nixon admitted something similar: “I gave them a sword and they stuck it in and they twisted it with relish. I guess if I’d been in their position, I’d have done the same thing.” More than two years passed between the Watergate burglars’ arrest and Nixon’s resignation. The campaign to delegitimize Trump is going much quicker, though its ultimate success is less sure. The point is the same: to push the violator of democratic norms, the alleged threat to democracy, into a kind of internal exile, to exclude him, in effect, from polite society and from any possible political role. Nixon accepted his ostracism quietly, and went on to write many interesting books. Trump won’t do either.

There is, to begin with, the little matter of the second impeachment and trial. The Democrats and their allies don’t need these to remove Trump from office. He’s already out the door. They want to anathematize him. History assigns every great man, Claire Boothe Luce used to say, one short sentence to describe his achievement—e.g., Lincoln freed the slaves. Well, Nancy Pelosi thinks Trump’s will be: the only president impeached twice. And she has in mind this lagniappe, that by a separate, majority vote the Senate may disqualify Trump from ever running for president again. Problem solved.

Speaker Pelosi’s theory is that two impeachments are twice as opprobrious as one. Maybe, but there is also the law of diminishing returns. The second may be only half as shameful as the first. This is likelier as impeachments become more politically routine. In the republic’s first 185 or so years, Americans impeached one president. In the past 47 years roughly (since 1974), we impeached four, counting Trump twice and including Nixon’s close call. (He resigned before he could be impeached.) Of the past four presidents, two have been impeached.

There is also this potential stumbling block to her theory: that Trump’s second impeachment is constitutionally dubious. “The President…shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of…,” says the Constitution, but Trump is no longer “[t]he President.” He is a former president. Besides, to the layman the late impeachment might look like a late hit in football, a cheap shot after the play is over.

To overcome that potential obstacle, Pelosi and her supporters must make the case that Trump is uniquely dangerous, a continuing threat to democracy, and that impeachment is justified as the only way to get to the Senate’s power to forbid Trump from holding and enjoying “any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States,” as the Constitution provides. This is Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s explicit argument, that in Trump’s case impeachment is a necessary means to what the Constitution calls “disqualification,” i.e., to legally barring him from running again in 2024. But it is the disqualification that is sought.

I understand why Congress members took the January assault on Congress personally. But is it wise, really, for the Democrats and a few outraged Republicans to proscribe a man from office for whom almost 75 million Americans have just voted? Wouldn’t it tend to confirm his frequent charges that the electoral system is undemocratic and rigged against him? And insofar as a Senate majority vote to proscribe Trump could presumably be overturned by a subsequent majority vote to requalify him as a candidate, wouldn’t this tactic lead to further electoral and other pressure on the Senate from indignant Trump supporters, further congressional involvement in the 2024 presidential race, and further confusion in the constitutional separation of powers?

Incitement and Insurrection

If Trump were guilty of “incitement of insurrection,” such an extraordinary and risky resort to disqualification from future office might make sense. Any stick to beat a mad dog, after all. But is he guilty as charged?

According to the House’s single article of impeachment:

Shortly before the Joint Session [of Congress] commenced, President Trump addressed a crowd at the Ellipse…. There, he reiterated false claims that we won this election, and we won it by a landslide.” He also willfully made statements that, in context, encouraged—and foreseeably resulted in—lawless action at the Capitol, such as: if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.” Thus incited by President Trump, members of the crowd,…in an attempt to interfere…with the Joint Session’s solemn constitutional duty,…unlawfully breached and vandalized the Capitol, injured and killed law enforcement personnel, menaced members of Congress…and engaged in other violent, deadly, destructive, and seditious acts.

Such crimes, if incited by a president, would certainly constitute grounds for impeachment. But the statement adduced by the House from Trump’s address on January 6 is hardly dispositive, as the indictment admits: it depends on other “statements” too and on their “context.” One has to look at the whole speech, therefore, to begin to judge the charge of incitement.

If Trump’s speech has a political target, it’s the “weak Republicans” who acquiesce in election fraud and will not fight in the trenches alongside him—the “Liz Cheneys of the world,” as he calls them. (And of course this was before she came out for his impeachment!) “We’ve got to get rid of them,” he says. He specifies how that should be done: “we have to ‘primary’ the hell out of the ones that don’t fight. You primary them.” Later he adds, “in a year from now, you’re going to start working on Congress and we’ve to get rid of the weak congresspeople, the ones that aren’t any good.” A year from now means as the 2022 election cycle gears up. His incitement, so to speak, is to oppose the weak Republicans by challenging them in the normal process of American primary elections.

In the meantime, he calls on the audience to “walk down to the Capitol” in order to “cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and -women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them, because you’ll never take back your country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong.” He adds: “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.” It isn’t sedition to “peacefully and patriotically” protest, to cheer on brave legislators and boo (or in some cases, buck up with “pride and boldness”) the weak ones.

And what if, as Trump hints is likely, the protestors are ignored and Biden receives a majority of the electoral votes and becomes president, what then? “We’re going to see whether or not we have great and courageous leaders or whether or not we have leaders that should be ashamed of themselves throughout history, throughout eternity.” The penalty he points to is eventual public and private obloquy. “If they do the wrong thing, we should never, ever forget that they did, never forget. We should never, ever forget.” Despite his constant, characteristic, and exaggerated appeals to strength versus weakness, his ultimate appeal is not so much to might but to a form of right, based not merely in history but in “eternity.” To know you have acted shamefully is the worst penalty, he advises, or ought to be, which is where public opinion—and the possibility of later electoral defeat—comes to bear as an external sanction against the otherwise shameless.

This glimpse suggests how far Trump’s speech is from being a call to substitute might for right by inciting his partisans to riot. In fact, the chief business of the speech is a long, informative rehearsal of the facts behind the fraud he alleges took place in seven states. Though it has humorous moments, the statement is pretty dry, and he even apologizes for that. He wraps it up by calling for a series of changes in election laws to require voter ID and to prohibit ballot harvesting, unsecured drop boxes, universal unsolicited mail-in balloting, and the like. It surely didn’t sound like a rallying cry to trash the Capitol.

The House’s article of impeachment quotes from the conclusion of this long section and of the address: “And we fight. We fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” But the context proves that the fight Trump was calling for was political and legal, not criminal. Rather than seeking to obstruct the democratic process, he was urging his followers to use it to the fullest extent of the law. In my judgment, there isn’t a word of “incitement of insurrection” in the speech.

One other quotation from Trump is adduced by the House in its indictment: “we won this election, and we won it by a landslide.” He said that, and many similar things at the Ellipse. For example: “They’ve used the pandemic as a way of defrauding the people in a proper election.” “[O]ur election was so corrupt that in the history of this country, we’ve never seen anything like it.” “Make no mistake, this election was stolen from you, from me and from the country.” Speaker Pelosi and her allies called these “false claims.” She refrained, however, from asserting that telling untruths was by itself an impeachable offense. Professional courtesy, perhaps.

Nonetheless, she and her colleagues could not ignore these so-called false—or to use other adjectives in favor with Trump’s critics—baseless, absurd, and discredited claims. Truth is, of course, that claims are “baseless” only until such time as a base of evidence appears for them. After enduring more than two years of the Russia collusion affair, in which the media and political establishment scorned Trump’s protestations of innocence, only to have the case against him collapse utterly—be proven baseless, “no collusion” and “no quid pro quo”—why shouldn’t Americans, burned more than once over the past four years, be twice and thrice shy of the establishment’s unanimous verdict this time?

Trump’s supporters’ reluctance to go along is fueled, too, by the galling fact that Pelosi and Schumer and Joe Biden continue to speak of “Russia collusion” as though it were real. Nothing is true or false until they say so, apparently. Thus they treat electoral fraud in 2020 not as an empirical question open to proof or disproof but as a superstition or delusion “discredited” in advance. Trump’s “false claims” that the election had been stolen marked the beginning, as they see it, of his demagogic incitement to overthrow the election, which culminated in the attack on the Capitol. So even if there isn’t anything in his speech explicitly urging insurrection, the speech implicitly was a giant incitement to it.

By that logic, the entire four years of the Trump Administration could qualify as a standing incitement of insurrection,” now defined as governing in ways of which the Democratic Party heartily disapproves. The impeachers are careful not to highlight that conclusion, really an assumption, in their public case for the Senate trial, but it is hardly a secret. Most Democrats, Never Trumpers, and academics regarded the Trump Administration as illegitimate from day one. And does the danger to democracy stop there? The New Republic, helpfully, takes the indictment one candid step further. Staff writer Osita Nwanevu declares that the impending impeachment should “put the Republican Party as a whole on trial.”

One reason for Pelosi and Schumer’s rhetorical caution is they need 17 Republican votes in the Senate to convict and disqualify Trump. Another reason is that the progressive Left still has a free-speech caucus which fears an elastic definition of “incitement to violence.” Thus Suzanne Nossel, the chief executive of PEN America, cautions in the New York Times that “those impeaching Mr. Trump for his abuses could make it more perilous for future dissenters and reformers to hold the powerful to account.” Libel, slander, and incitement are classic exceptions to First Amendment protections; and she does not want to see those exceptions grow. As delimited by the modern Supreme Court (in Brandenburg v. Ohio, 1969), incitement, to be illegal, must meet three criteria. In her words, “the advocacy must be intended to spur lawlessness. Second, the encouraged lawbreaking must be imminent…. Third, the speech must be likely to cause such lawbreaking to occur.” She thinks Trump’s speech satisfies the latter two but lacks a clearly stated intent to cause lawless violence. A judge would have to let him off, then, even according to the Times.

The legal case against Trump’s “incitement of insurrection” faces one further obstacle, which may become more formidable as the investigation of the Capitol Hill riot proceeds. Already the Washington Post, the New York Times, and CNN are reporting that the violence by “[s]elf-styled militia members” was plotted days or weeks ahead of the rally at the Ellipse. The arrests of several people with alleged ties to the Oath Keepers and similar groups suggest that the attack “was not just a protest that spiraled out of control” (CNN) “but an event instigated or exploited by organized groups” (Washington Post).

Trump still called for the rally and asked the crowd to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol building, without any clear preparations for what should occur next. For those actions he bears responsibility. Perhaps at some level he thought his supporters incapable of the sort of violence that left-wing protestors had inflicted on American cities over the spring and summer. At one point in his remarks that day, he said, “If this [election fraud] happened to the Democrats, there’d be hell all over the country going on.” But he assured the crowd, “You’re the people that built this nation. You’re not the people that tore down our nation.”

At the “Save America” rally preceding Trump’s speech, his son said something in the same vein. “I’m looking at the crowd here, and the tens of thousands—probably hundreds of thousands—of people here, and you did it all without burning down buildings! You did it without ripping down churches, without looting.” Don, Jr., then drew a moral: “According to the media, when you have a large gathering of ‘peaceful protestors,’ they’re supposed to burn it all down.” Neither he nor his father anticipated that outside groups who had plotted an incursion deep into the Capitol might be part of the crowd—and have in common with the summer’s abhorred left-wing rioters an itch for anarcho-violence. Neither reckoned, more generally, that in crowds, men and women are capable of doing things they would be ashamed of doing in private.

Finding the Fraud

Trump was reckless, in other words, in calling the rally for the very day Congress would be meeting and for encouraging the crowd to march down to the Capitol, without effective security precautions in place.

In Trump’s speech, he told the crowd they were there “to save our democracy” and “support our Constitution and protect our Constitution” by encouraging the “weak Republicans” on Capitol Hill to do the right thing. Though he didn’t call Vice President Mike Pence a weak Republican, he mentioned Pence at least seven times, urging him to have the courage to “send it back.” Trump’s theory, which he explained at the Ellipse, presumed that the state legislatures of several of the crucial states he had lost, now persuaded of fraudulent raw vote totals in their state or illegal acts by state officials, were prepared to reexamine and possibly revoke the Electoral College votes they had certified in December and certify new slates of Electors for Trump. As the theory’s principal author, John Eastman, explained to the American Mind (Setting the Record Straight on the POTUS Ask’,” January 18, 2021), Trump was not asking for Pence to single-handedly reverse the election, but to pause the process of counting long enough for the state legislatures to clarify for whom their states had actually voted.

To what extent the crowd understood this novel, complex theory is unclear, and how their march to the Capitol was supposed to further it is even more unclear. Trump himself, apparently, had just endorsed the theory the night before. According to Eastman, the vice president’s letter, much celebrated around the country, in which he declined to exercise “unilateral authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted,” rejected a task he had not been asked to do. Even Pence didn’t understand the theory! (Or perhaps he drew different conclusions from it than the president’s lawyers did.) In any event, none of the state legislatures in question had actually filed a formal request to withdraw and reexamine their state’s electoral votes. The game of “After you, my dear Alphonse” came to an end that afternoon when the mob breached the Capitol.

The question of the extent and significance of election fraud in 2020 thus ended murkily. Intelligent and experienced lawyers like Eastman and Cleta Mitchell thought the evidence of various kinds of fraud persuasive, and certainly worth urgent investigation. But the kooks and conspiracy theorists who had insinuated themselves, with Trump’s at least tacit consent, onto his free-floating legal team helped to ruin the chance for any serious inquiry. As Michael Anton explains in his essay in this issue, extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof. Though many legal hooks were baited with witnesses’ affidavits and lawyers’ pleadings, no state or federal court ever bit. The extraordinary (but not unprecedented) claim of a stolen presidential election was never met by the extraordinary proof it required.

Perhaps a national commission of inquiry or legislative investigations in the states may eventually discover such proof. At this point, it looks unlikely. Our political system is simply not designed to handle claims of systemic electoral fraud, and certainly not by January 20 at noon, the date set by the Constitution for one presidency to end and the next to begin. Our system presupposes a greater degree of political consensus than now exists.

In the meantime, there is persuasive evidence of a more normal sort pointing to a simpler explanation: Trump lost the election, narrowly (a few thousand votes in the right places would have turned it), even as he had won the 2016 election, narrowly. As Andrew Busch and William Voegeli explain in their essays in this issue, a loss is consistent with the commonsense analysis of political trends and precedents, with Trump’s middling approval ratings, the effects of his divisive personality, the enormity of COVID-19, and the unceasing and unsparing attacks on his legitimacy by every organ of the establishment.

The Future of Trump and Trumpism

Will he come back from this defeat? Assuming he isn’t disqualified from holding office again, Trump could pull a Grover Cleveland and run for the presidency in 2024. He would be much older than Cleveland (the 22nd and 24th president) when he ran the second time (78 versus 55), but also much richer. It may be that the pleasures of being a billionaire are more entrancing than Trump remembers, and he might decide just to enjoy life in Florida. Or his health might dictate it. But the appetite for high office, once indulged, is not easily renounced. Plus the awful, ignominious way his term ended will add the spur of honor (and vengeance) to his pursuit of approval. He wants to belong especially to any club that won’t have him as a member. Failing that, he will build his own bigger and better club, as he did with Mar-a-Lago.

He’s already let it be known he intends to primary, beginning in 2022, all the weak Republicans who deserted or betrayed him in the impeachment fight. He’s prepared for a civil war within the Republican ranks, thinks the other guy started it, but plans to finish it on his terms. It didn’t come to this in 2016 because the panjandrums of the GOP didn’t expect him to win, and he was a novice. Then, for years, they were intimidated by his popularity with the party’s base. Now that he is out of the White House, their sighs of relief and disdain are obvious. In grateful return, he would like to throw a lavish Red Wedding at Mar-a-Lago and invite all his erstwhile allies.

But the second impeachment, and a fortiori the tragedy at the Capitol, will weigh on Trump’s support. From his re-election triumph in 1972 (49 states, 520 electoral votes, almost 61% of the popular vote), Nixon fell hard. He left office with about 24% popular approval, and it never recovered from those levels. Trump hasn’t experienced a similar collapse, but an erosion has begun. Almost every poll shows his approval ratings, measured before and after January 6, tumbling: Pew Research shows him down from 38% to 29%, Quinnipiac from 44% to 34%, ABC News/Washington Post from 44% to 38%. In most polls, a majority of Americans say he deserves a great deal of blame for the events of January 6. CNN/SSRS reports that 77% nationally want the GOP to move on from Trump. Among Republicans, 43% say they want the party to continue to treat him as its leader; 55% prefer someone else, though no one knows who.

Although not catastrophic, those declines don’t augur well for a political comeback. The trends will probably worsen, at least temporarily, as the second impeachment plays out and as various state and federal prosecutors come after the ex-president. Even at the peak of his popularity and power, Trump’s approval ratings, as Busch points out, were stuck in the mid-40s.

Much will depend, however, on the comparisons offered up by the Biden Administration. If Biden were to fare as poorly as, say, Jimmy Carter did at both domestic and foreign policy, Trump and his administration would begin to look better in retrospect—and so might the prospect of a second Trump, or at least Trumpist, Administration.

The danger to the GOP and to the conservative movement is that the impending feud between pro- and anti-Trump forces could produce a long-term split that would hand 2024 and subsequent elections to the Democratic progressives. The Republicans haven’t seen an ideologically tinged feud like this since 1964 or, in its personal dimensions, perhaps since 1912, when Theodore Roosevelt squared off against his former friend and chosen successor (from 1908), William Howard Taft. Like T.R., Trump could run in the GOP primaries, fall short, and still take up a third party’s nomination—thus really sticking it to the Republican establishment!

And, not incidentally, sinking the legacy of all the wise policies he had pursued, and often delivered, in his own presidential term. What would happen then to Trumpism, assuming there is such a thing? Virginia Postrel writes that “Trumpism without Trump is like chocolate chip ice cream without chocolate chips. Missing its defining ingredient, it’s plain vanilla.” There’s something to her argument, and the way Trump has treated the party’s grandees over the years shows his impatience, to say the least, with the norms and formalities of political life, including the elaboration of his own political beliefs. He had four chiefs of staff, four national security advisers, two-and-a-half attorneys general, and the bad habit of disparaging them as they left. He loved to tell congressional Republicans one thing and then reverse himself the next day. Yet when he made a rhetorical mess of something, from the Charlottesville riot to the Ukrainian and Georgian (the American one where two Republican senators lost their seats) phone calls, he expected GOP legislators to come to his defense and clean up his mess.

He even saw to it that the Republican National Committee, which he effectively controlled, would forego writing a new party platform in 2020, blaming the decision partly on COVID strictures (which didn’t prevent the Democrats from writing a new one), partly on the self-defeating assertion that political rhetoric is just window dressing, after all. Instead, the RNC humbly passed a resolution affirming the party’s enthusiastic support for the president and his administration.

And yet he never could do without Republican supporters and policy ideas. First, there are not enough die-hard Trump voters to bring victory. In his narrow loss in 2020, fully 30% of those who voted for him, according to New York Times exit polls, said they did so primarily to oppose Biden rather than to support Trump. In the contested GOP primaries of 2016, Trump won about a third of the total votes. Despite the emotional bonds connecting him to his most fervid voters—“love” is how they often describe it—Trump needs the support of lots of Independents and Republicans who are just not that into him personally.

Second, the Trump agenda was never well prepared and thought through. To his own enthusiasms it added orthodox GOP thinking about tax cuts, judges, and deregulation. Trump made the resulting mix his own, however, and those policy commitments formed a working definition of Trumpism: economic protectionism, “internal improvements” or infrastructure spending, immigration reduced and tied to assimilation, a modest foreign policy mindful of the national interest, low taxes, judges willing to enforce the constitutional limits of legislative power, and a patriotic civic culture. As I argued four years ago (“The Republican Trump,” CRB, Winter 2016/17), this is a very old-fashioned Republican policy mix, adapted, in effect, from the party of Lincoln and Calvin Coolidge. In a surprising way Trump is leading the GOP back to its roots before the Cold War and World War II, back to when it was, not entirely coincidentally, the majority party. A lot has changed since then, but perhaps the essentials have changed less than we realize.

Most of these new (old) policy emphases will, I think, outlast him and his administration. Trumpism has a future, even without Trump’s continuing political presence; indeed, it’s possible it may have a brighter future without him. Even minus a new platform, the Republican National Convention put on an admirable show of fresh, attractive political talent last year, all within the Trump ambit: Tim Scott, Tom Cotton, Mike Pompeo, Kristi Noem, and others.

Presidential style in its individual dimensions tends, unlike COVID-19 and its dangerous variants, not to be very transmissible. Even his own children haven’t caught Trump’s distinctive political flair. Nonetheless, one element of his political manner needs to cross over from him personally to the movement he has led, and that is the courage he shows in confronting political correctness, cancel culture, and the scorn of progressive censors. His successors cannot afford to lose his wonderful effrontery in opposing, for example, the continuing ideological purges of American history and heroes.

In fact, the fate of the political movement he led, and hopes to lead again, will depend on being able to preserve that spirit of patriotic indignation from the rashness that led to January 6 and from the spirit of lawlessness unleashed at the Capitol.