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The Capitol riot and revisionist history: the battle over the Jan. 6 legacy – Fox News

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MediaBuzz host Howard Kurtz discusses President Biden’s stance on DOJ prosecutions of former Trump officials
In cold-hearted political terms, the Jan. 6th riot seemed like a loser.
The storming of the Capitol, the attacks on police officers, the violent chants against the vice president, the sordid spectacle of an assault on democracy—all this left a deep scar on the country. The mob failed spectacularly in its attempt to overturn an election, to block the certification of Joe Biden as president. And Donald Trump, who summoned his supporters to Washington and sent them up Pennsylvania Avenue with a fiery speech, was harshly criticized by some leaders of his own party.
That was then.
Now, for many Republicans, the situation has been turned on its head. It’s not just that people’s memories have faded or the country has moved on. Somehow, in some quarters, the riot is now being portrayed as a plus.
The legal maneuvering is front and center. Trump has just sued Congress and the National Archives to block the release of any documents related to Jan. 6 on grounds of executive privilege. Trump argues this is a political ploy by Biden, who has refused to invoke executive privilege, and his “partisan allies.” The committee argues this is obstructionism and that nothing could be more important than investigating an attack on American democracy.
FILE – In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo insurrections loyal to President Donald Trump rally at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)
But the battle for public opinion could last far longer. The Atlantic calls the pro-Trump crusade “The New Lost Cause.”
And Politico says that Democratic attacks on GOP lawmakers who were either there or supported challenging the Electoral College results actually wound up helping the Republicans.
Trump, obviously, has been leading the effort at revisionist history battle. So it’s easy to ascribe the current stance of many Republican politicians as just not wanting the cross the party’s de facto leader and possible 2024 nominee. But what’s happening is deeper than that, underlining the two clashing realities that dominate American politics today.
The belief that Jan. 6 was a righteous cause that somehow went awry requires an equally strong belief that the 2020 election was in fact stolen from Trump—as he argues virtually every day, despite the investigations and lawsuits to the contrary. More than half the country, and the vast majority of the media, see that as ridiculous, but polls indicate that for many Republicans it has become an article of faith.
The Atlantic likens Trump’s crusade to the Confederacy, which of course mounted an armed rebellion against the United States largely to uphold the evils of slavery. And yet the politicians and generals who led that effort in secession have been venerated in the South for generations—until recent years, when the tide shifted and the statues started to come down.
“The New Lost Cause, like the old one, seeks to convert a shameful catastrophe into a celebration of the valor and honor of the culprits and portray those who attacked the country as the true patriots,” the piece says. “But lost causes have a pernicious tendency to be less lost than we might hope. Just as neo-Confederate revisionism shaped racial violence and oppression after the war, Trump’s New Lost Cause poses a continuing peril to the hope of ‘one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’”
Author David Graham allows that it was awful for Ashli Babbitt to have been fatally shot by a police officer as she tried to break into the House chamber. Trump has been celebrating her and recently mentioned her birthday.
President Donald Trump speaks with reporters before boarding Air Force One with first lady Melania Trump at Morristown Municipal Airport in Morristown, N.J., Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019, en route to Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
But while lost causes may have their martyrs, says the magazine, ticking off historical examples, the problem is that “they emphasize the valor of the people involved while whitewashing what they were doing.” The soldiers of the Confederacy “might well have been brave, and they might well have been good fathers, brothers, and sons, but they died in service of a treasonous war to preserve the institution of slavery, and that is why their actions do not deserve celebration. The January 6 insurrection was an attempt to subvert the Constitution and steal an election.”
Politico examines the situation more at the ground-game level.  
Weeks after the riot, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee ran digital ads in three states with this narration of the images of destruction: “Republican legislators fanned the flames. Some were even there.”
Not much happened. In fact, the ads backfired when they targeted a Pennsylvania Republican state senator named Doug Mastriano, who was tagged by a colleague in a Facebook photo as being at the Capitol on that tragic day.
“His street cred went up,” the Senate’s Democratic leader admitted. “There’s no question.”
The DLCC went after 21 lawmakers who were either at the Trump rally or with the Capitol protesters, and 600 others who signed letters or otherwise promoted “Stop the Steal” rhetoric. But the Democratic group misread the mood of the GOP:
“Rather than shaming Republican state lawmakers out of office, Democrats found that many of the names on the list avoided pushback from party leaders in their state, grew their political platform and online following, and in at least three cases are now running for statewide office.”
Even with Trump having told his supporters in the midst of the violence “go home, we love you,” some have tried to justify what happened that day. Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham, among others, castigated Trump for his role in fomenting the riot, but have since quieted their criticism.
History, it is said, is written by the winners. But in this case, those who lost the campaign to overturn the election, and have minimized Jan. 6, have convinced a whole lot of Americans of their version.
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This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2021 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. Quotes displayed in real-time or delayed by at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Factset. Powered and implemented by FactSet Digital Solutions. Legal Statement. Mutual Fund and ETF data provided by Refinitiv Lipper.