Saturday, January 09, 2021

The Difference Between Insurrection and Resistance Is Corporate Sponsorship...,

newyorker |   This is precisely what Trump wanted. It was Trump who repeatedly called on his supporters to travel to Washington, D.C., for the joint session, after his efforts to overturn the election through the courts had failed. It was Trump who repeatedly told those same supporters that the election had been stolen, and that the result needed to be reversed. And it was Trump who ignored reports that some of his supporters were planning to go far beyond the peaceful protest that he claimed to be calling for. Online forums popular with Trump supporters were “filled with violent rhetoric directed at a wide range of perceived enemies,” the Anti-Defamation League warned. “In response to a user who wondered what happens if Congress ignores ‘evidence’ that President Trump won the election, a user wrote, ‘Storm the capitol.’ ”

Before the mob broke into the Capitol, Trump addressed a large group of his supporters who had gathered on the Ellipse, the park just south of the White House. Referring to the election, he declared, “There has never been anything like this—it’s a pure theft—in American history.” Later on, after repeating a long litany of bogus claims about voter fraud, he said, “This is a criminal enterprise.” He ended his speech by saying, “We’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Ave. . . . We’re going to try and give our Republicans—the weak ones, because the strong ones don’t need any of our help—we’re going to try and give them kind of pride and boldness they need to take back our country.”

For the past four years, there has been a tendency in some quarters to downplay Trump’s incendiary rhetoric. Ever since the election, it has been incessant. With Mitch McConnell and other leading Republicans pledging to accept the election results, Trump’s attempt to bully Congress into submission was—and is—destined to fail. But, when you are dealing with would-be authoritarians like Trump, it is a mistake to focus exclusively on the formal institutions of government; the danger comes from outside the system.

It’s been clear all along that Trump’s supporters took his claims of voter fraud seriously. And when he complained to them that McConnell and even Mike Pence, Trump’s ultra-loyal Vice-President, were preparing to sell him out, they were perfectly willing to believe it. They were even willing to storm the Capitol and terrorize members of Congress on Trump’s behalf. That is how democracies perish. Fist tap Dale for psionically sensing my struggle and turning this liminal foetus into a complete, coherent, and finished thought.