In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's record of disregarding the rule of law. Our next book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection. Trump and his minions falsely claimed that he won the election, and have kept repeating the Big Lie. And we now know how close he came to subverting the Constitution.
On December 30, 2020, [Proud Boys chairman Enrique] Tarrio received an intriguing document titled, “1776 Returns.”136 The document was apparently sent to him by cryptocurrency investors in South Florida.137 The file’s author(s) divided their plan into five parts, “Infiltrate, Execution, Distract, Occupy and Sit-In,” with the goal of overrunning several Federal buildings around the U.S. Capitol. The plan specifically mentioned House and Senate office buildings, setting forth steps for occupying them. The author(s) called for “the masses to rush the building[s],” distract law enforcement in the area by pulling fire alarms around the city, target specific Senators’ offices, and disguise participants’ identities with COVID masks.138
One proposal mentioned in the document is titled, “Storm the Winter Palace.”139 This is a reference to a dramatic reenactment of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, during which Vladimir Lenin ordered his forces to take over the Romanovs’ residence in Petrograd. The “Winter Palace” was the seat of the provisional government, which had held out against the Bolshevik revolutionaries. The Proud Boys would frame their actions on January 6th as part of the American Revolution. But the “1776 Returns” document shows their inspiration came at least in part from the Communist Revolution, which led to 70-plus years of totalitarian rule. No historical event has been less American.
There is an odd connection between the right and left. Ex-communists such as Whittaker Chambers played an important part in the early days of the modern conservative movement. And the modern hard right envies and imitates the hard left.