Because I’m feeling mischievous, let me pose a hypothetical.
The events of January 6th 2021 were ostensibly as follows: Congress began the vote count that would confirm the presidency of the United States. A large group of pro-Trump protestors arrived to hear their god-king speak at the Elipse after he invoked them to join him on a “Save America March”. Trump then directed his loyalists to walk down to the Capitol to pressure Republican members of the Senate to defy the Electoral College.
Trump was preceded by other speakers: Congressman Mo Brooks announced that “today is the day American Patriots start taking down names and kicking ass“. Congressman Madison Cawthorn likewise denounced his fellow Republicans as the “cowards … I serve with“. Lawyer Rudy Giuliani referred to “the plan for today” and called for “trial by combat” to a roaring crowd. Nicely provoked, most went home, but some hundreds formed the angry mob that marched on the Capitol (minus Trump, who also went home).
At least one insurrectionist brought zip cuffs. Many wore paramilitary gear, including full face helmets and body armour. A gallows was erected outside the Capitol. The crowd chanted “Hang Mike Pence!” Police later located firearms and explosives. Among those arrested was a male who had threatened to “put a bullet” in Nancy Pelosi. A Republican congresswomen — QAnon supporter Lauren Bonbert — tweeted Pelosi’s location live to the crowd as they stormed the building. The Capitol was besieged, if only for about 30 scary minutes.
Police barricades were overwhelmed. The mob violently confronted Capitol security. Five people died; and while no member of Congress was harmed, many were in fear for their lives. The event drew widespread condemnation, and resulted in ten Republicans crossing the floor in an historic bipartisan vote to impeach Donald Trump for a second time. While too late to remove him from office, successful impeachment would deny Trump a 2024 tilt at the presidency.
Maybe that was the whole point.
The size and demeanour of the Save America March would have surprised nobody. The volatile members of the pro-Trump movement would have been under surveillance. The threats to Pelosi and Pence would have been known well ahead of time. The logical explanation is that the Dems and Reps let it happen. Why? Because they all knew Trump couldn’t help himself: he would provoke the crowd, some would riot, and articles of impeachment would flow. Together, they could remove the existential threat of Trump forever, and get their revenge.
It’s clear that both sides of US politics want him gone. That’s why the ultimate political cynic Mitch McConnell so quickly sold him out. Even Trump’s lapdog Lindsey Graham nipped the hand that fed it. Poor old Rudy Giuliani thought he had a plan, but neither he, nor the crowd, let alone the lame-duck president, knew about the actual plan. The pro-Trumpists got played. And if there happened to be a couple of ANTIFA old-boys in the mob stoking the fire, then so be it. Sometimes the ends justify the means.
Back in reality-world, let me also be clear that I’m glad the fat orange fool is gone. The GOP were always going to have to excise him, like a stubborn wart. What this has done, however, is presage a new era of conservatism. There are millions of Trump supporters out there who will be looking for a home. They’ll want one much further to the right than the Establishment can provide. Expect much ranting about secession and civil war among the troglodytes.
While the Democrats might be quietly celebrating their massive win with a medium-bodied yet racy cabernet from Château de Prétense, they shouldn’t reach for a second glass just yet.