Roughly 70 million people voted for Trump in the 2020 election.
I say that, by the way, only because I happen to believe that the election results were accurately counted. Otherwise, I would not believe that so many voted for him. Of course, the election was a full month before Trump’s attempted coup. If a new election were held today, he would certainly not do that well.
Not all 70 million of those voters are seditionists and terrorists. In fact, I’m pretty sure almost all of them are grandparents, students, laborers, high-rise executives, retail clerks, teachers, ministers, just like all the rest of us. I think almost all of the people who voted for Trump were as horrified as I was by the attempted violent coup on January 6, 2021. It appears that most of them are profoundly confused, now: the evidence is coming out in the open, and it’s very clear that this was Trump’s coup: he was the cause, instigating it, inflaming it, and finally, turning it loose.
70 million people are all slowly coming to terms with the fact that Trump has been lying to them. Some will never accept it. But the rest are starting to see it, and it is a large and bitter pill to swallow.
There’s a lot still to be investigated and exposed. There’s a lot that will probably never be fully exposed to the public. But what is out there now is sufficient to make a few observations.
The mob was, indeed, an out-of-control mob, a group of people from around the nation, raised to a fever pitch by inches since the election, and then lit on fire at the rally on January 6, by Trump, Trump Jr., and Giuliani. It became a mindless, screaming mob, shot out of Trump’s mouth like a bullet, aimed at the Capitol.
But it had other people mixed in with the mob, and they had an agenda. A covert agenda.
It seems reasonably clear that the agenda was three-fold: first, break into the Capitol building; second, find the electoral votes and destroy them; third, capture, terrorize, and possibly kill various politicians, perhaps on livestream video.
There is increasing evidence of planning and conspiracy within the Capitol Police, the Department of Defense, and the Republican Party in Congress. Panic buttons had been torn out of the walls in safe-rooms. Capitol Police forces had been reduced to unusually low levels, on a day when both houses and the Vice President were present. National Guard assistance was blocked. Members of Congress had given an unusual number of tours to some of the terrorists the day before the attack, to orient them to the large and confusing building.
And still, the coup failed.
I say this with some confidence, because it makes absolutely zero sense for Trump to have so carefully nurtured this terrorist attack, and then have it turn out as it did.
It has been a catastrophe for Trump. No matter what he does at this point, the best he can hope for now is to go down in history as the twice-impeached Sedition President, who endured the third-hardest election spanking of any incumbent in US history (only Hoover and Van Buren got spanked harder). But it will likely not go down that gently for him. He’s been permanently banned from most social media, and to get the attention he requires as his daily breath, he’s going to be stuck roaming the Internet underbelly with Alex Jones and Glenn Beck. The last bank that would loan him money has stopped doing business with him. The PGA Tournament has gone elsewhere. His “brand” is deeply, deeply tarnished, if not ruined. And, of course, all those New York indictments are waiting for him like limousine drivers at the airport, each holding up a little sign with his name on it.
It has also been a catastrophe for the Republican Party, which is now starting to fracture because of the coup attempt. Their corporate campaign donors are closing their wallets. Their constituents are angry with the Party, and will grow angrier as they come to terms with Trump’s lies. They lost control of the Senate. As the FBI continues to investigate, some of them are going to have to answer questions they don’t want to answer, and they may lose their seats. A few might even end up in prison. There are no good optics in this for them, anywhere. The Party itself may split, and if it does, it will take decades for them to regain any power.
On the other hand, had the coup succeeded — had the electoral votes been destroyed, and politicians been killed on livestream video — the country would have been in a terrifyingly different place. And Trump would probably remain President, or rather, Dictator, under some emergency pretext until he died.
That potential outcome, in a murder investigation, would be called “motive.”
At the moment, though, I am more interested in the failure. Why did it fail?
I’d like to turn back to a (perhaps) slightly-prescient post I wrote just after the fourth of July in 2017.
Some of the people caught up in the chaos of the coup were without a doubt exactly that: caught up in the chaos. Extras on the set of Ben Hur. They came for the rally, and stayed for the coup. Once inside the Capitol, they wandered around, staring at the ceiling, taking selfies, stealing stuff, and defecating on the carpets. But there was another group that went in, armed and equipped.
Those folks certainly weren’t MOSSAD, or FSB, or rogue SEAL, or rogue FBI. Maybe rogue CIA, channeling the spirit of the Bay of Pigs invasion…? Nah. Whoever they were, they were not a real team.
I think I know who they were.
They were the American Gun-Toting Patriots I wrote about in 2017. The AGTP. Those who have been arrested certainly sound like AGTP.
I’ve known a few of these folk, and they really believe that Government Is The Problem. When they say “limited government,” they really mean “government that will never tell me anything I don’t want to hear.” Like wear a mask. Or a seatbelt. Or pay taxes. They don’t particularly care what the government forces undesirables — black people, Native people, non-Christian people, Democrats, women — to do, or under what conditions. But if it infringes on their “rights,” boy-howdy do they get themselves riled.
Remember the Bundy Boys, up at that bird refuge in Oregon? Protesting the government? Using the Internet to plead for groceries, to be delivered by the USPS?
I don’t want to make light of what these domestic terrorists did on January 6. It was as serious as cancer. The FBI is talking about charges of sedition, in the legal sense, and them’s big guns. At least one of the terrorists will be charged with murder, once they track him down. There was nothing humorous about this.
But I think they failed for the same reason the Bundy Boys eventually walked away from their rebellion, and at root, it’s because they were everything but Patriots. Somewhere along the way, they lost their faith in (and in some cases, their sworn loyalty to) a nation of people, and replaced it with loyalty to a slick-talking con-man who convinced them that he, and he alone, could restore their lost faith. They weren’t really ready to die for their cause. They weren’t even prepared to die for their team. There was no higher cause, there was no team.
They were, however, ready to shit on the carpets, and to terrorize, and to do murder. And then — somehow — thought they would walk away free and clear, lauded as heroes.
There is reason to believe that this twice-impeached Sedition President has more foul deeds up his sleeve, and if there is one thing we have learned about Donald Trump, it is that there is no bottom to how low he will go. The mob of AGTPs he has riled up may cause more trouble. He may still cause trouble.
So stay safe, all of you. If you see crowds wearing MAGA hats, stay away from them. They’re crazy, and dangerous.
And especially to Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi — and I know you are already acting on this advice — please take a lot of extra precautions.
Our hopes are with you.