Saturday, January 16, 2021

Trump's Coup Attempt

I take a few weeks off from this site to concentrate on the Day Job and what happens? The Orange Buffoon tries to incite the overthrow of the US government. And since it didn't work he denies that he tried it.
I don't have too much to say about this that hasn't already been said more eloquently by plenty of people on Facebook and other places. Let's review a few points that are important to keep in mind.
Soon to be former President Donald "Grab em by the p****!" Trump lost the election to Joe "If you don't vote for me you ain't Black!" Biden. It wasn't even all that close. Plenty of people on both sides came out to vote but more Americans voted for Biden. More importantly, more people voted for Biden in the precise combination of states needed for victory. 
The Republican Party is uncompetitive nationally in the Northeast and coastal West. It's starting to show weakness in the Southwest. It lost ground in the Midwest. And even in its Southern stronghold, there were some growing hairline fractures, specifically in Georgia and Virginia. Biden won by 306-232 in the Electoral College with a popular vote margin of seven million votes. 
It was a solid victory for Biden. 
Now when Democrats lose by that margin or even a smaller difference, there is no shortage of people ready to line up and tell Democrats where they went wrong and what they must do to reach out to the people who rejected them.
But Republicans tend not to do self-reflection, take criticism, or accept that their sales pitch didn't work. They tend not to believe that either their policies or approach can ever be wrong. 
Trump, and Republicans in general don't believe in free and fair elections that they don't win. Trump believes in lies. He spent the past two months creating a Big Lie narrative that the Democrats cheated. He offered no evidence of this, in or out of court. His flying monkey minions brought sixty cases to court to try to overturn the election. They lost. There was no evidence of widespread voter fraud by Democrats to cheat for Joe Biden. None. 
In fact the only specific evidence of fraud found was by a Trump voter. Votes were counted and recounted and recounted. The same outcome was found over and over again. Biden won. Trump lost. Even some Trump appointees who oversaw the election said that the election was free and fair without fraud.

This didn't stop Trump or his mouth breathing supporters from continuing to claim that the election had been stolen. They intended to stop it. This culminated in the January 6 assault on the Capitol in which right wing Trump backed thugs and terrorists invaded the Capitol and assaulted and murdered police officers. 
The rioters built a working gallows from which they intended to hang Vice-President Mike Pence and presumably other politicians who were on their list. The rioters brought zip ties to kidnap, and most likely rape and kill Congressmen/women and Senators. They waved their Confederate Battle flags and wore their Camp Auschwitz T-shirts. They bought pipe bombs. 
They did physical damage to buildings. They defaced the Capitol by defecating and urinating all over the place, which of course like the animals they were, they then tracked all over the Capitol. They apparently even deliberately smeared feces on walls or floors. Because most of these people were Caucasian, the Capitol Police force did not take their threat seriously. Some police officers removed barriers for the rioters. Other officers poised for selfies or expressed sympathy.  

It was apparent policy from the top not to take an aggressive stance against the rioters even though they were engaged in an attempt to install Trump as President over the expressed will of the American voters. Encouraged by the weak responses, the rioters almost gained access to Senators and Representatives, who were just barely evacuated in time. Finally one of the Capitol Police found his nerve and used deadly force against a female rioter who was trying to climb through a broken window to reach the Senators and Representatives. 
The rioters stole various items from Congress, including mail, lecterns, and who knows what else. 
Certain Democratic Representatives believe that because some rioters seemed to have good knowledge about the layouts of Congressional offices they may have had inside knowledge presumably given to them by any number of Republican nutjobs. Some of those Republican nut jobs like Missouri Senator Hawley, who showed support for the rioters, have remained defiant and unrepentant in their belief that the election was stolen. Trump was impeached for a second time.

There are a number of takeaways from this: 
  • The Republican Party has almost completely turned into a white supremacist cult. It can't tolerate an election that it loses without lying about it. It doesn't believe that any voters except white conservative ones are real Americans. So because of that, it supports attempts to suppress the vote of Blacks or throw out election results that it doesn't like.
  • Trump and his acolytes really are a clear and present danger to American democracy. It's impossible to complete a second impeachment trial in the Senate before Trump's out. Legal experts differ on the impact or legality of an impeachment trial after Trump is gone. I say go for it. There is also the possibility of state or federal criminal charges given that Trump tried to bully Georgia officials into "finding" enough votes to declare him the winner.
  • I can't imagine any time in American history that a predominantly Black mob could have stormed the Capitol without a shocking and significant loss of life among the mob. The Capitol/DC police, the FBI, Homeland Security, Secret Service, the National Guard, the Marines, the Army, damn near any government agent licensed to carry a gun and arrest or shoot someone would have been there in force. We've seen how Black or even left-wing protests are met: cops in full body armor, helicopters, drones, dogs, tear gas, sonic weapons, night sticks, water cannon, rubber bullets, live rounds, armored personnel carriers, snipers, punches, kicks, etc. That didn't happen to the mostly white Capitol rioters. No one is surprised about that. Think about that. 
  • Some people (mostly on the right) have whispered apologia for this attack. They claim that this was about the "forgotten" economically desperate White Americans. Bullshit. There were bankers and politicians in the mob. This was about a racist disdain for democracy. You don't get to wave Confederate flags and scream racist vitriol at Black police officers and then tell me that you're making a class based cry for help.
  • Shamefully, a few left leaning people have argued that Representatives should be scared of the people or that Black people should have joined in this riot. I lack words to describe how stupid that is. You can be a Black pro 2nd Amendment voter. You can not find common ground with white racists who support an expansive view of the 2nd Amendment and also fervently believe that Black Americans have no business voting or breathing up all the White man's air. Those Confederate flags they're waving let us know what they think of Black people. We have legitimate methods to express concerns to elected representatives. Threatening and attempting to assault, rape, and murder them aren't legitimate. Deciding elections by who can put more button men on the streets isn't good for democracy...or Black people.
  • President-elect Biden and his Attorney General must ensure that every single person involved in the attack is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Otherwise they will do it again. To quote the noted statesman John Gotti: "You want to challenge the Administration? Ok, muyerfuyer, we will meet the challenge and sever your muyerfuying head!!". If you want free and fair elections you can't tolerate violence. Otherwise we'll repeat the post Reconstruction experiences, where conservatives overturned election results through violence and disenfranchised Black Americans for the next sixty years.
If this were a horror movie we'd be at the point where the nubile coed realizes that the killer is making calls to her from inside her home. America needs to have it out about race and politics. We would have much fewer of these problems today if post Civil War, the Confederates had been hanged for treason. The biggest terrorist threats aren't from some religious nutjob in the Middle East or Central Asia. The biggest threats are coming from our fellow Americans who DO believe in white supremacy and DO NOT believe that every vote should count.
To conclude, this is not a time where we can say well, both sides have issues, or all's well that ends well. A significant number of Republicans believe Trump's Big Lie and more ominously, believe that the coup attempt on January 6 was justified. They need to be confronted at every opportunity. There can be no unity with them. None. I am convinced that anyone who talks about unity at this point is badly mistaken. Trump failed in his coup attempt. But what about the next Trump, who is more competent? What about the next crop of domestic terrorists who are smarter and more knowledgeable about legislative security procedures?
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