As coups go, this was pathetic.
The mob acted on Trump’s orders, as if there were some sort of plan. Given that “Trump” and “plan” should never appear in the same sentence, what were they thinking?
Suppose they actually did stop the certification of the electors. Then what?
Did they think this would magically give Trump a second term? Or make him president for life? Or that they could shoot Nancy Pelosi, hang Mike Pence, strafe the floor of Congress with AR-15s, then go out and party?
What was the fantasy? It’s an important question, because several thousand of these morons assembled, on Trump’s whim, to act out that fantasy.
Maybe they thought Trump would reward them. Give them medals, or at least pardons. If so, they haven’t paid much attention for the last four years. Loyalty is something Trump leeches from others. He never, ever returns it. It’s a quid with no chance of a pro quo. Trump stiffs everybody.
A bunch of these morons are now looking at multi-year prison terms. Their lives are now all about second thoughts.
The media is getting a lot of mileage out of telling us what a near miss this riot was, and in some ways they’re right. The death toll and property damage could indeed have been far worse.
But just to be clear, the Trump Insurrection didn’t come within a million miles of overturning the election, let alone taking over the government. Members of Congress were indisputably in danger, but the election results were not.
The certification ceremony was just that — a ceremony. If it hadn’t happened, the election results would not have changed. Once your marriage is registered at City Hall, it doesn’t matter if your religious ceremony gets cancelled — you’re still married.
The Capitol is but one building in a city teeming with police of many jurisdictions. It sits four miles from the headquarters of the biggest military in the history of the planet. Let’s suppose these morons actually did manage to take that one building, or even torch it, Reichstag-style. Then what?
In a real coup d’état, you don’t go after the capitol building first. That’s way down the list.
You start with the airports, so that no one gets in or out. Then you go for the media, especially the TV stations. These days, you shut down the internet, if you have the chops to do it. Then you take over the army barracks and you kill any soldiers who aren’t with you. Ruthlessness is important. The capitol building is not.
This is Dictatorship 101. This is Coup D’Etat For Dummies. It’s how the real autocracies roll.
And by the way, real dictators need a real military. Not Chad Wolfe’s DHS clowns. And certainly not the so-called militias who run around the Michigan woods shooting up squirrels and wiping themselves with poison ivy.
It’s also worth mentioning that when the real coups fail, the failed participants are inevitably tortured and executed. Which probably won’t happen here.
Even if Trump had, from the start of his presidency, curried favor with the military, the chances of a successful coup were practically zero. Even now, after all the damage Trump has done, the country still has enough surviving institutions, enough checks and balances, and enough sane, responsible citizens to make a serious coup the longest of long shots.
But it’s a moot question anyway, because far from cultivating the military, Trump famously called them all a bunch of suckers and losers. Even John McCain. Once again, the man doesn’t plan.
So the coup was a non-starter. All Trump did was sow chaos, which is what he does best. There was no forethought, no consideration of possible consequences to anyone, least of all himself.
The media is skating over Trump’s motives here. It was never about a political comeback. It was always about a scam. As usual.
He’s milking his rubes for every penny he can get. I’ve heard it’s up to $300 million and counting.
The scam is there for only one reason: Trump’s recurring nightmare. The one where he’s wearing an orange jumpsuit that matches his hair. Where he’s sharing a six-by-ten-foot cell with a large coked-up weightlifter named Stormy, who finds him attractive.
Right now, Trump is the target of criminal investigations in Georgia, New York, and possibly DC. Copious federal charges are no doubt being contemplated as we speak. He has civil suits that could easily turn criminal, and monumental debts that could cost him his properties. He’s facing possible prison terms for more felonies than even he can keep track of. Donnie and Stormy, sittin’ in a tree…
So he needs the money. Money for legal fees. Money for balloon payments. Money for keeping up the appearance that he’s not just another whining loser.
So the scam must go on. Donations to his PACs must continue to be collected, no matter what. The fiction must forever be preserved:
The election will always be stolen. Trump will never concede. Trump will never be a mere former president. Trump will always be the 45th president. Who wouldn’t pay good money for that fantasy?
The gullibility of Trump’s base is apparently infinite. They’ll just keep believing, no matter what. They’ll just keep tithing to his phony PACs. They’ll just keep falling for the scam.
Some will lose their life savings. Some will go to prison. Some will catch Covid. Some will get violent, or more violent, in the name of this monster they’ve chosen to love. Trump is the abusive parent who brings out the worst in them.
Some of them just might come to understand the abuse. They might see how badly they’ve been played. But I wouldn’t bet on it.
When Trump stiffs you, you stay stiffed.