'The Republican elite have always seen Trump as a clown' -- but something's changed in the last year
Former US President Donald Trump, pictured in Florida on September 11, 2021, saw his bogus fraud claims debunked by courtrooms, state governments and Congress across the United States (AFP/CHANDAN KHANNA)

It was a surprising victory for Republicans in 2016 when then-candidate Donald J. Trump went from reality star to President of the United States. The party jumped at the opportunity to seize control of the government - even though they believed he was a clown, at best. Now, one year after Jan. 6, the Republican Party is aligning behind a new normal.

"Jan. 6, 2021, may be the most contentious date in American history. To Democrats and the surviving remnant of anti-Trump Republicans, the event was a spasm of right-wing political violence aimed at terminating the republican experiment," New York Magazine reported. "To most Republicans, it was something ranging from a noble uprising to a prank gone somewhat awry to, at worst, a minor lapse in judgment."

Republicans are referring to Jan. 6 as an "act of political theater" which, in itself, implies a direct response to an audience's reaction of pre-determined events.

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"For the Republican Party to be ripe for Trump’s takeover in 2016 required decades of degeneration. That degeneration accelerated under Trump," New York Magazine reported. "And in the past year, the pace has accelerated yet again: The party has changed more dramatically since he unwillingly left office than in the four years he held it. It is a party reborn, of a distinctly new and more dangerous cast, and Jan. 6 was its true founding."

"After the 2016 election, Republicans were stunned to find that control of government had fallen into their lap. Now, they confidently anticipate the chance to seize it. And when they do, they will not be as confused, divided, or gentle as last time," New York Magazine reported.