A Fall of His Own Making

We don’t need to wait on history to recognize that the fall of Donald Trump’s literal and figurative fortunes over the last week is the stuff of a Greek tragedy, not lacking the Furies driving him from the stage. On the morning of January 6th, Trump had lost the presidential election, yes, but he was still a force to be reckoned with. Twitter account in hand, he was, for better or worse, the front runner for the GOP’s presidential candidate slot in 2024 — and if he couldn’t be or didn’t want to be the candidate, he could still exert massive influence on who would get the slot. If not king, then the kingmaker. Skeptics (waves) would and did point out the myriad of legal and financial issues awaiting Trump in his post-presidency. But Trump had been in legal and financial quagmires before, and had always managed to fail upwards. It was possible, against all odds and with a pool of fervent, credulous former voters, that he could do so again.

On the evening of January 13th — a mere one week later — the best Trump could do for himself was keep his presidential pension. He was, most obviously, impeached for a second time, on the (accurate) charge of inciting an insurrection. His senate trial will apparently have to wait, but the historic shame of a second impeachment is his forever. He is literally half the presidential impeachments in the history of the United States. He is radioactive politically; all but the dimmest of QAnonic political figures have (correctly) disavowed him, in name if not in policy.

Trump’s business and financial connections have severed themselves from him dramatically and unambiguously; he has no way to raise money in his post-presidency now, and has hundreds of millions in debt waiting for him. His biggest fans are now wanted by the FBI. His Twitter account, the violent nuclear heart of his power, is no more. He doesn’t even have Parler at this point; at most he can settle for Gab. And of course he still has all the legal issues he had before the attempted coup — and more now, all waiting for him when he’s finally shown the other side of the White House door six days from today.

Who is to blame for this historic fail, and this monumental fall? Why, he is, of course. Trump’s inability to process defeat and his abject terror at being branded a loser is the very cause of him becoming, definitively, the biggest loser in American history. He has lost not just an election; he has lost his power. He’s lost his aura, his invincibility, his mojo, his swagger. In place of his heedless and fear-inducing bluster, he now has a querulous whine, a mutter as he wanders the White House halls, complaining not to social media but to hapless, bored aides about an election that wasn’t, in fact, stolen from him and which he now has no power to make others pretend it was. Here is a defeat of his own making, one for which he cannot blame others, although he will, since he is psychologically incapable of blaming himself.

We don’t have to wait on history, but as it happens, this is how history will remember Donald Trump: Not as a forceful, charismatic authoritarian, but as a corrupt and pathetic wretch, who spent the final days of his presidency shouting at the walls about how the world is against him.

He is correct in that much. The world is against him, because the world, finally, no longer has to pretend to tolerate him. He has done this to himself through fear and hubris and a smallness of soul. The rest of his life will be spent in the full knowledge that his name represents not success, but a failure so abject and profound that there is no other comparison to it.

He will pretend it doesn’t bother him. We all know that will be a lie. It will bother him, every day, from now to his end. He will deserve every moment of it.

— JS

107 Comments on “A Fall of His Own Making”

  1. Incidentally, this is not my summation of his presidency. That will wait for next week, when he is safely out of the White House.

    And for everyone going “He still has six days to fuck us all!” Yes he does, and I suspect Mitch McConnell has sent someone to tell him that if he doesn’t behave during that time, he will call the Senate back and he will give the Democrats the seventeen Republican votes they need to punt him out on the street early and without his Secret Service detail (and pension). We’ll see if I’m wrong!

    Also: Political post, Mallet, behave yourselves, please. Also keep the sea-lioning to a minimum this time around, thank you in advance.

  2. There used to be a story — told by Kissinger? — about a drunken Nixon wandering the midnight halls of the White House shouting at the portraits of his predecessors. I somehow doubt we’ll get anything as colorful regarding Trump. (For one thing, I doubt he knows the names of more than a handful of former presidents.)

  3. All completely true. But he’s unleashed the hounds of hell. It’s still nerve-wracking hoping nothing goes wrong at the inauguration. What do you think about Biden still planning for a public event albeit less populated? Is there any security in the world that can really protect them?

  4. “His senate trial will apparently have to wait,”
    It’s interesting what Anne Applebaum said about that…

    “A long pause between impeachment and a Senate trial might not be a bad idea, given how much there is to learn about the Capitol insurrection. Questions to answer include: Did Trump plan to use the military? Did GOP Congressmen collaborate? What about Capitol police? Is this why we had those weird personnel changes at the Pentagon? Is this why Dick Cheney organized 10 ex-SecDefs to sign a letter? Did other people see this coming?”

    https://twitter.com/anneapplebaum/status/1349632017693106177?s=20

  5. Well said. With the things people in this world get away with, it nice to see some poetic justice, if not real justice, for a change.

  6. Wiredog:

    Yup, and I also said as much the other day. Every day he’s away from the presidency is a day is power and influence is lessened even further (and is a day when the 2024 presidential aspirants will want him cleared off the board).

  7. the best Trump could do for himself was keep his presidential pension.

    You’re way more optimistic than I am. He’s still got the support of three quarters of GOP voters (75% in a post Jan 6 poll). Only ten GOP Representatives voted in favor of impeachment (as opposed to 190+) who voted against. That sounds like Trump still has substantial support within the GOP, especially with the Republican base

  8. The president’s pension is about $220,000 a year. He might have some other benefits that will cost us, the taxpayers, more than his pension (Secret Service, for instance).

    The good news is that he’ll still have Giuliani . . . Oh wait a minute, maybe not.

  9. The word “schadenfreude” has become a staple term in my house and I have to admit to feeling oodles of it as I picture Trump wallowing in his own bitter defeat, waiting for the day they move him out of the WH and wondering what’s coming next

  10. Even if he is impeached and disqualified from running again, he still has a time-honored option: run a proxy. Ivanka (most likely) or one of his sons could run. Or even Kushner. It’s been done before, many times.

    This is probably what will happen in the alternate timeline where he won this election and wanted a third term.

  11. FYI, shared this article on Facebook, and I find that the preview picture Facebook shows for pages from your site is quite badly mangled. This may be a problem with your WordPress template that is worth addressing.

  12. “The most we can hope for is to get you buried in secrecy so your grave don’t get violated!”

    Charlie (Lawyer) to Lincoln F Strern, “Stern”, Heavy Metal

  13. We still have people waving confederate flags 155 years after the defeat of the confederacy.
    So it will be with trump flags. In the coming decades those flags will wave together.
    Enduring symbols of hate.

  14. Rafe B. – that’s really harsh on Macbeth, who wasn’t mad and historically was a decent king. Shakespeare’s play was a hatchet job.

    If you want to make historical parallels, perhaps James VII/II or Louis XVI, minus the guillotines. So far, anyway.

  15. Yes, he’s the definition of “Fail.”

    But the chaos he has set in motion still threatens the US generally, and is a direct personal threat to those of us who work for state and local governments. The state agency for which I work has its headquarters one block away from the state capitol. They’ve boarded up the capitol building, reasonably enough, but there are still employees required to report in person to a building that is a block away from the likely epicenter of a domestic terrorism event next week, and that is very clearly labeled as a state-owned building occupied by state employees.

    I’ll be thrilled to see him leave, but I am terrified of what his fanatical followers will do in the wake of his departure. And that is all on his head. Not that he’ll care. But if the historians are thorough, they’ll take note of the people whose lives, health, safety and livelihoods are threatened by him even after he leaves office.

  16. One interesting question, though, is what this particular means and speed of fall is going to do not to the Orange One himself, but to his children’s (and son-in-law’s) various ambitions. The least-condemnatory thing I can say about any of them is that they’ve been loyal to their family (which is sort of like saying that Susan Atkins remained loyal to her “family”). But, unless individually indicted*, they’re going to remain eligible for office; the prohibition on Bills of Attainder prevents the splashing of any orange paint upon them (funhouse-mirror parallels to the Glorious Revolution and the role of “orange” in that are for the excessively cynical).

    It’s going to be fascinating to see how/whether/when any of their ambitions play out in the political arena. Whether they try to “mobilize the base” and claim martyrdom, or distance themselves as having been (inadequate) “moderating influences” (e.g., Jared’s purported squashing of the Orange One’s attempts to expand onto other antisocial-media platforms after Faceplant restricted things). I won’t be excessively surprised to see them — Ivanka in particular — try both, even in the same speeches; there’s a long tradition in the fashion industry of talking out of both sides of one’s mouth at the same time. Which usually leads to really disturbing facial expressions.

    And I really pity any teenager or young adult going out on a date with Baron. Just think of the stellar examples throughout his family of how to treat others…

    Only Jared and Ivanka are theoretically subject to impeachment, as they both have formal offices within the United States government (even if not confirmed-by-the-Senate type offices). It’s highly doubtful — not certain, but highly doubtful — that even leaving aside the end of the Orange One’s term and their departure, an impeachment could or would stand. This is a failure in the clause as much as anything else: Despite centuries of examples of corrupt hangers-on of nobility who didn’t have formal office but “mere” councillor status, the Founders appear to have believed that their new form of government was immune from such.

  17. I’m still worried about the 140+ GOP legislators who refused to accept the election results after the Capitol had been stormed, and to the best of my knowledge have not yet publicly disavowed their prior statements and implications that the election was stolen. Until there’s a broad, general repudiation in the GOP of Trump’s claims that he was cheated out of a victory, his shadow will still be large over that party, and over the prospects for a peaceful democracy.

  18. That’s pretty much spot on. The only thing I would disagree with is this.

    “…In place of his heedless and fear-inducing bluster, he now has a querulous whine…”

    And while the querulous whine is absolutely on the mark, my position is that is all he has ever had. I don’t know who (outside of congressmen representing Trumper districts) his bluster would cause fear, because all I ever heard out of his pie hole is a four year old’s querulous whine telling me it wasn’t their fault and how unfair the whole world is.

  19. Yeah, I’m not convinced that that is how history will remember him. I think there’s a decent chance he might be eligible for image rehabilitation: throw a new coat of paint on him and he’s a charismatic maverick who had impulse-control problems but spoke to the concerns of millions of Americans. And that’s if we return to something resembling sanity. Give Tom Cotton two terms in the White House (God forbid) and he’ll build an altar to Trump on the Mall.

  20. How soon before we can add his name to the dictionary as a synonym for massive failure? As an additional definition under the word trump? Or as spelled tRump?

    Like: Wow, what a spectacular tRump, all that’s left is a smoking crater!
    or He tRumped that up, we’ll have to cordon it off for 1000 years, like Chernobyl!

  21. Agree with every point but one.

    This is not a greek tragedy. Its tragic when the hero falls from grace, when good turns to evil.

    Trump was a sociopath from the day he was born. His presidency was defined from the beginning to be based on lies, hate, and bigotry. That he is finally getting the slightest penalties he so richly deserves is not “tragedy”

    its justice.

  22. I keep hearing people say “x% of Republicans still support Trump”. But, in fact, the correct statement should be, “x% of Republicans who were called by a pollster and answered their phone, and then agreed to take the poll support Trump.” Polls are not what they used to be in the age of mobile phones. I have heard that few millennials will answer a call from someone they don’t know. It may be that the majority of Republicans taking the polls are seniors with landlines, which would probably skew the results. And how many people do the legitimate pollsters call anyway? It annoys me that in election years, I almost never have a chance to answer a real, not push or fundraising, poll. I don’t get the calls. (I am a Democrat, BTW)

  23. How very Downfall …. I suspect he will sidle off to Mar-A-Largo this weekend; I can’t imagine hi wanting to be faced with removal from the WH next week.

  24. I cant find anything that John said in this piece that i don’t strongly agree with. He is done. Pack him up, put him in a cave and let him molder away because he is persona au gratin in all respects.

    Trump is crude, and he lies a lot, but a certain amount of crude can be seen as earthy, and all politicians lie to some extent. He embodied many of the worst traits of a stereotypical to s large degree, but I don’t think that’s largely responsible for his downfall. I’m no fan of the single factor analysis, but I think the largest contributor to his downfall was one of strategy, or perhaps his nature. A President has to be partisan to get into office. Once in office though he needs to do something about the half of the country that did not vote for him, and the politicians that represent them. It might be asking too much to think you can bring them into the fold, but you have to try. You have to represent their interests and try to create a loyal opposition, even as they fight against you.

    Trump’s political opponents (half the country) were always his enemy in his eyes, to be ridiculed, opposed, stymied and if possible, humiliated and destroyed. With a strategy like that, you pay the price when the tables turn.

    Biden’s worst enemies generally have to concede that he seems to be a good and decent human being. I dont think he’ll make the same mistake. He seems to be hyper-aware that he needs to do something about the half of the country that opposes him. I think an uncomfortably large minority in his party is looking for payback and now considers scorched earth politics the status quo (nor is there any shortage of such thought in the opposing party.)

    Dealing with this will be his first challenge. I’m optimistic about his chances.

  25. @ David:

    “That sounds like Trump still has substantial support within the GOP, especially with the Republican base”

    It goes beyond “substantial support”. Almost half of Republican voters supported not only Trump’s incitement of terrorist violence, but the act itself. 75% of polled Republicans maintain that the election was stolen, despite absolute lack of credible evidence. Given that Republicans tend to be shy when polled about their political opinions, I imagine this percentage to be considerably higher. 75% of 74 million is fertile breeding ground for domestic terrorists. Al-Qaeda and Da’esh can only dream of such a base.

    Most importantly, over a hundred Republicans in the House and half a dozen in the Senate continued to knowingly spread lies about the election results and further inflame the mob. They will face no consequences for doing so. Trump is heading for the dungheap of history, and deservedly so, but the GOP shows no intention to purge itself of Trumpism.

  26. I used to manage a department in a large hospital system, which can be a jungle of politics. There was no way to do my job without making some people unhappy, but I always looked for the win-win. I never made enemies unnecessarily. Because when you leave a trail of enemies behind you, if you bully and betray and run over people, they’re all out there waiting to take their revenge. You may not even be aware that it’s happening–the budget that doesn’t get approved, the air conditioner that just can’t get fixed, the vote of the board of trustees that doesn’t go your way. Trump has littered the world with people he has ripped off, taken advantage of, and betrayed. The knives come out when he loses power.

  27. I’ve lived in Texas since 1979 after leaving the Army. To get elected in a GOP primary you have to love guns, Jesus, guns, more guns, and Jesus with guns. And hate abortion. A whiff of homophobia, racial animus and maybe some anti-Semitism might prove helpful, though frowned upon in the least rural counties and districts.

    Trump was their dream candidate though thoroughly irreligious. In Alabama, Tuberville was elected not so much because he was a coach as he embodies the worst tropes of the Old South. None of this is going away, the mob is just waiting for a new leader to self-annoint.

  28. @Margaret notes polling issues, all of which are accurate. But do you think that the poll does not mostly reflect GOP voters feelings?

  29. Not entirely sure I would call it a tragedy — for tragedy, you need to start as a noble figure (c.f Macbeth). But definitely just desserts. . .

  30. However despised Trump may be today, and even if he does end up spending some time in NY State prison, writing him off as a potential threat down the line would be a mistake.
    I purloined this from an essay by Mike Moritz @Sequoia; “…in 1923 Adolph Hitler led a failed coup and was briefly imprisoned, and subsequently manipulated his growing popularity to seize supreme power ten years later.”

  31. I worry the GOP will actively defend him, despite the rumours McConnell wants him out. Because if they keep supporting him, it’ll be four years before this old, out of shape rage fountain can run again. It’s unlikely he’ll survive that long, and when he dies (no matter how he dies) there’ll definitely be conspiracy theories blaming the Dems, and if they keep their base hopped up on the misinformation drugs, maybe the GOP will try to ride that. A plan which would have been far fetched four years ago but man, four years can take a toll on your expectations. Mind you, I didn’t think Trump would survive the stress of his presidency either, so what do I know?

  32. Bob Luke:

    That’s a great point. I’m worried about it in the context of one of those Greek myths, or time travel movies, where the attempt to avoid a thing leads to its creation. Maybe if they didn’t put Hitler in jail we would have gone back to painting bad pictures. Jail gave him the time to write Mein Kampf and get his act together. I dont like the idea of Trump being able to play the whole ‘wrongly imprisoned hero of the people’ card.

    Dont give him a chance to be an oppressed martyr. Let him build a gaudy presidential library with a big golden ‘T’ on it, eat Big Macs, and stew in his foolishness.

  33. I think the Twitter ban may save Trump his pension.

    Without the power of the tweet, he seems less dangerous. Once he loses his presidential power, Republican Senators may be more inclined to say that Trump’s a bad man, but he’s gone now and it’s time to heal.

    Getting to 67 votes in the Senate already seems unlikely. On the other hand, if 25 Senators call in sick on the day of the vote, it will only take 50 votes to convict.

  34. “and I suspect Mitch McConnell has sent someone to tell him that if he doesn’t behave during that time, he will call the Senate back and he will give the Democrats the seventeen Republican votes they need to punt him out on the street early and without his Secret Service detail (and pension). We’ll see if I’m wrong!”

    I’d like for this to be true, John, but I simply don’t see 16 GOP Senators willing to brave the wrath of their utterly unhinged base. They are living in stark, utter fear of their violent and vitriolic base and don’t have the cojones to stand up for what is right and decent.

  35. Regarding polls showing Republicans favorable to the attempted insurrection, the dismal numbers I see being talked about everywhere all seem to be based on one snap poll by YouGov. However, the YouGov poll is largely considered to be problematic by experts and other polls contradict it.

    For example, one of the criticisms of the YouGov poll is that it was taken during the attempted insurrection. From the poll itself, Most voters say the events at the US Capitol are a threat to democracy,

    “YouGov polled 1,448 registered voters, including 1,397 who were aware of the events at the Capitol. The survey was conducted on January 6, 2021 between 5:17 p.m. and 5:42 p.m. Eastern time.”

    The survey used to collect the data was active for a mere 25 minutes during the event and closed before it had ended. Snap polls like these are apparently notoriously problematic. It does seem ludicrous to give much weight to what self-selected survey takers (another common criticism) think of an event that can’t possibly know much of anything about it yet, except in the most general outline.

    For comparison, here is another poll, by PBS-Marist, PBS-NewsHour_Marist-Poll_USA-NOS-and-Tables_202101081001. On page 11 are results for the following question . . .

    “Trump supporters broke into the US Capitol to disrupt the process of certifying the results of the presidential election that showed Joe Biden won. From what you’ve read or heard, do you strongly support, support, oppose, or strongly oppose the actions of the Trump supporters who broke into the U.S. Capitol?”

    The results for Republicans for that question were, Strongly Support – 7%, Support – 10%, Oppose – 36%, Strongly Oppose – 45%, Unsure – 2%.

    To summarize, according to this poll only 17% of Republicans supported the wanna-be insurrectionists while 81% opposed their actions. There may yet be room for hope that finally Trump and his most rabid supporters have done something so obviously shitty that it may cost them significant support. If so, I’ll take it, but too bad it took so long and caused so much damage along the way.

  36. Unfortunately I think you’re being optimistic at how quickly the orange clown fades away. As noted above, more than half of “people” who identify as Republicans don’t think he did anything wrong, and his lies about a stolen election have sunk deep, supporting another massive Lost Cause grievance for his white male base, which will be tapped into by the rest of the snivelling wretches in the GOP (the Canadian Rafael Cruz, Hawley, Tom Cotton, etc). If someone installs him in a TV network (let’s face it, he’s way too incompetent to set one up himself) then he will continue to have an outside platform. Maybe Putin, call it Voice of America (despite the conflict in names) and sit back and watch the “fun” – it’s way cheaper than a nuclear submarine and far more effective in wrecking America.

    The best hope of him crashing in flames is if the banks really do cut him off, forcing him into a firesale of his properties (the vast majority of which are hemorrhaging cash) and everyone else trying to break the licensing agreements (if they can). But even then, his apologists will all be “the libs did it”. He’ll be in court for the rest of his life but will never see the inside of a jail cell, there will always be at least one die-hard Trumper on any jury in the country so he’ll never be convicted.

    As for one of the large adult sons or Ivanka taking over, Don Jr’s coke addiction seems to be accelerating, Eric is a moron, and Ivanka is not pretty enough to appeal to the Fox news crowd. Kushner has fallen into the uncanny valley and can’t get up, and is wholly owned by the gulf states.

    Incidentally, where is all this crap about Biden being owned by the CCP coming from? Did they miss Trumps multi-million dollar Chinese bank account and Eileen Chao?

  37. @Snuggledorf: The chaos was always there; all Trump did was provide it a focus. And with two hundred Representatives, almost half of one house, and at least a third of the other already publicly declaring they are perfectly fine with violent overthrow of US democracy, your real risk now is that their next lens could be a competent one—and then your world will burn.

    Every decent ethical person in America, from its next president down, needs to go crack a book on Domestic Violence right now and learn the right techniques for identifying and responding to (and how not to respond to) abusers. Because that is what you are up against, and you cannot afford to pull your punches any longer.

    https://twitter.com/lilithsaintcrow/status/1347293759155838976

    https://twitter.com/CoriBush/status/1349449279388200962

    https://jezebel.com/i-was-raised-on-the-lie-of-the-reluctant-rural-insurre-1846006392

    Abusers don’t win by being abusive. They win by convincing the rest of us to apologise.

  38. I think you are way too optimistic, John. As others have noted, the vast majority of republicans support him and did not vote to impeach. The vast majority of Republican representatives voted to challenge the election AFTER the insurrection. Plus, now they get to feel put upon, aggrieved, and censored by big corporations and the tyrannical left because they are experiencing consequences for committing treason. They will bounce back fine. The right has already committed to living in an alternate reality where truth doesn’t matter and they are always right so they are always right. Also, we keep pretending that procedural things matter, when time and time again the right has shown that they don’t give a shit. Trump was already impeached and it didn’t seem to hurt him. it just help feed this paranoid delusion that a deep state was out to get him. The right is never happier than when they feel like the aggrieved underdog.

    I do think Trump will be hosed because he is going to have endless lawsuits and, as an unfit elderly man, he doesn’t have long enough on this earth to make the kind of political comeback he wants. If he was 50 or 60 he would 100% come back in a few years as a force to be reckoned with.

    But what he has enabled will have roots. What is that Mexican proverb – you thought you had buried us but didn’t realize we were seeds? I think about that one. The Obama presidency was followed by the Trump presidency as scores of white people freaked out about the changing demographics of this nation voted to make america (white) again. The White Lash to the Biden presidency could be much worse.

    I do hope that the social media platforms deplatforming Q Anon and white supremacist groups will help cull their numbers (although they are already organizing on encrypted platforms that are hard for law enforcement to track). But expect Fox to go all in on embracing the crazy so they don’t lose viewers to OANN and other more whackadoodle sources.

  39. Just sayin: ” I think an uncomfortably large minority in his party is looking for payback”

    No one is buying the crocodile tears from republicans anymore.

    4 americans were killed in Benghazi. Republicans investigated it TEN times. All because they were trying to find a way to blame it on Hillary. I know for a fact you werent hand wringing about “payback” then.

    This is bog standard republican hypocricy.

  40. @darrelle: What “Republican voters” say they’re against and what they’ll go along with as long as others are doing the actual work are not the same thing. So forget virtue-signalling media polls; look at their Representatives in power and what they are saying and—more importantly—doing right now. If those voters really objected they would have melted every phone line to their Representatives to make their position known, and those Representatives would’ve actioned it under threat of recall themselves. It’s called representative democracy for a reason.

    Good Germans, all.

  41. Trump isn’t the disease. He’s merely the worst (so far) symptom of the disease. And while it’s nice to finally have at least a little bit of cream salved onto the giant hemorrhoid on the ass of the American body politic that is Donald J. Trump, we have to remember that the disease itself is still running rampant, still with less visible but no less irritating symptoms, still in want of a real cure.

  42. Just sayin:”Dont give him a chance to be an oppressed martyr. Let him build a gaudy presidential library with a big golden ‘T’ on it, eat Big Macs, and stew in his foolishness”

    Standard republican emotional pleading. To martyr someone means to kill them. Having him lose his pension is not fucking martyring him.

  43. Just sayin:

    Fuck him and fuck his feelings. He should be grateful he’s not in fucking prison. Anything less is more than he deserves.

    Also, leave the thread. I’m not in the mood for your brand of bullshit today.

  44. @Margaret
    Do pollsters even call cell phones? I’ve only gotten a survey call once in my life and that was something done by the power company I got service through. I was under the impression that most pollsters call landline phones, which us millenials… uh, don’t have.

    Though yes, you’re very correct in that we rarely answer calls from numbers we don’t recognize, thanks to so much spam and scam calls. Even my mom texts me to let me know that she’s going to call.

  45. @Jaws A “Javanka” bid in 2024 would worry me; I suspect those two actually have quite a few more functional neurons than Crackbeth (thanks @Rafe B!).

    I can’t form an opinion if the “HairSpare” (Eric) has the intellectual capacity.

    As for Orange Jr, he spoke at the rally on the 6th too. A criminal indictment for incitement to insurrection and/or sedition won’t surprise me. And I believe a conviction under those charges would automatically invoke Amendment 14 sec 3.

    @Kara my house uses ‘Trumpenfruede”. Usually accompanied by a gleeful chuckle. Sometimes even a belly laugh for a supreme idiocy fail.

  46. @Meetomyfeeto:

    Your comment reminds me of a discussion of the character of Palpatine, in the Star Wars movies. George Lucas equated Palpatine with the Devil; Ian McDiarmid, who portrayed Palpatine, thought argued that Palpatine was even worse than the Devil, because the Devil fell from grace, while Palpatine was evil from the get-go, and the Devil was motivated by vengeance, while Palpatine did evil things just because he could.

  47. Is it weird that congress critters tried to justify voting against impeachment because they are afraid of getting deaththreats? These same rightwingers have been demonizing the squad, who as a result have been getting constant death threats from day one. Not to mention, these fucking cowards send the military into shitshow war zones ar the drop of a hat, get americans killed all the time, but they’re too afraid of Cleetus to do the right thing and VOTE to defend america from fascism?

  48. Rick Innis: It’s actually fairly unkind to Shakespeare’s Macbeth, all things considered. Macbeth was courageous, a competent general and fighter, and not a whiner (well, certainly not on Trump’s level); so far as I can tell, the only similarity he has to Trump is the insurrection thing, and at least Macbeth did his own stabbing. (This is not a defense of Macbeth or insurrection–but anyone who want a really good, terrifying look at the play in this quarantine world might try to stream the BBC production with Patrick Stewart. I won’t say it’s perfect, but it is chilling.)

    Shakespeare’s traditional “mad king” is Lear, but his name doesn’t make a good Trump pun. And Lear also does finally acknowledge his own errors and take responsibility, too. So . . . I go back to Mad King George, maybe.

  49. GOP: Dems are traitors to america who work with pedophiles and terrorists to commit massive voter fraud, steal the election, and destroy our country. They use csncel culture to destroy the first ammendnent. They use race baiting to take away our rights. They want to make us a communist country and send rich people to the gas chambers. Dems should be considered enemies of the state.

    Fbi: those who stormed the capitol are being charged with federal crimes.

    House: trump is impeached for inciting sedition.

    GOP; what the nation really needs now is UNITY. We need to turn away from devisiveness and start the healing process. Lets not play the blame game. Now is not the time for payback.

  50. From across the Atlantic: my sympathies. It must have been, and probably still is, a terrible and scary experience.

    The USA’s body politic isn’t out of the woods yet, not by a long mile. If something takes a long time to build up, it usually takes a long time to break down and repair as well. Even so: the first steps have been taken. Now I wish your country a successful follow-up in this new year.

    As for Mr. Orange: let’s hope it’s ‘The End’, not ‘Come and See Next Week’.

  51. The GOP called Chthulu and now they can’t put him back on hold. The impeachment vote makes clear that the GOP is happy to sacrifice whatever it takes to keep Chthulu working for them, though it and its supporters should have seen (or have known and wished, like Mr. Camp Auschwitz) that he works for no one but death.

    The GOP is Trump earlier in his degradation, with enough cachet and power to command fear and not much else. Until it either makes one Twitter call too many or its followers get to see what they wish on others close enough to understand what they have asked for, it’s not going to stop – why stop when it gets voters and power in doing so? The GOP is probably thinking “if only we’d found a less transparent and more competent person, it would have worked.” and unless it gets a reason to stop working for insurrection and death, it won’t.

  52. Masterfully done.

    The best part of yesterday’s repeachment debate came in the form of the shrill whines issuing forth from the sedicious, conspiracy nut caucus.

    Ah yes, the Trumpists came out in force for their dear leader. Armed with bog-standard, yawn-worthy whataboutism, false equivalencies, “bullcrap” (this bit of brilliance came courtesy of the “gentlewoman from Colorado) and injured feefees over celebs exercising their , gasps and horrors, free speachrights, this parade of poorly socialized bobbleheads and RSHDs waxed conservative about some of Trump’s “greatest” and most racist “accomplishments” to date.

    With any luck, these walking bags of orc shit will be expelled from congress for their role in the armed insurrection that nearly killed their coworkers.

    I don’t like the republican party or anything for which it stands, but I’ll be more than happy to see them wash the stink of Trump and Trumpism off of their platform.

  53. Do pollsters even call cell phones? I’ve only gotten a survey call once in my life and that was something done by the power company I got service through. I was under the impression that most pollsters call landline phones, which us millenials… uh, don’t have.

    Of course they call cell phones. Look, pollsters have their issues, but being completely moronic is not one of them. They call cell phones; they don’t just call senior citizens; they try to make their sample representative

  54. Shakespeare was a dramatist, so drama was, you know, sorta his thing. It’s entirely possible that Macbeth and Julius Caesar were elevated to monsters to an extent that they don’t historically deserve.

    I groan at the thought of a Trump play three centuries from now, but I can predict that there will be one.

  55. Niles: Well, yes, of course. See also Richard III, among others.

    A Trump play three centuries from now? Gah. I’m going to hope it’s a satirical comedy. (Hey, it’s possible! Remember Macbird!?)

  56. Dear John,

    So far, I think the Democrats are playing this just right. It doesn’t look like they’ll try to force the issue of starting the Senate trial before Biden takes office, but once he does they will proceed with speed instead of putting things off for weeks and months.

    I know there are people who want to hold McConnell’s feet to the fire and force the case into the current Senate, others who want to drag the trial out for months so that more and more evidence piles up. I feel that either strategy reduces the chances of getting a conviction.

    The new Senate will be a much more favorable venue for that. Sure, I hate McConnell’s guts, but focusing on him seems to me like going after the local drug overlord but diminishing your chances of taking down the cartel.

    I don’t think dragging things out will work to our advantage. We’re not lacking for evidence now! More time only gives Trump and the alt-right more time to spin lies, and they are very very good at it — as they have demonstrated over the past four years. Inconvenient truths do NOT propagate faster than convenient lies. The longer the trial drags out, the more opportunity for the opposition to rouse the rabble.

    I think there’s a good chance for conviction. It’s hardly a lock, but the majority of Republican Senators hate and loathe Trump. The primary reason they don’t say so publicly (although they will privately and entirely off the record), is because they are terrified of him and his followers. They would love to be able to disempower him.

    If they do not convict him, Trump’ll be running for President in 2024 nonstop for the next four years. Using exactly the same bully-boy tactics that have worked so well for him the past four. Preventing him from running for office eliminates a huge amount of his power and prevents him from defining the playing field.

    So, yeah, there’s a real shot at taking down the sucker.

    (Minor aside: Dershowitz is full of crap. Congress impeached a Secretary of the Army (I think it was) after he resigned the day before hearings were to start. There’s nothing in the Constitution or federal law saying you can’t impeach after someone has left office and there is precedent for doing so.)

    - pax, Ctein

    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]

  57. I said back in 2016 that this was an obvious publicity stunt that went horribly wrong, and that he would probably view it in retrospect as the worst mistake of his life.

    I was wrong about the second half. Donald doesn’t admit to any mistakes, but he will certainly regard it as the most unfairly he has ever been treated.

    But even I, the world’s biggest cynic, didn’t imagine a splat this spectacular.

  58. Ctein: Secretary William Belknap, under Grant. Evidently, he raced to resign literally as the impeachment vote got underway, resigned before it was finished and was impeached anyway. Then he was tried and acquitted by the Senate: Belknap Impeachment

    I do love that bit of historical trivia. Rachel Maddow had great fun with it on her show, yesterday.

  59. Wow John, you hit a nerve. I agree with everything you said with one possible exception: I do not think Trump can run again in 2024. 1) If Trump is convicted, it disqualifies him from running for office. 2) I don’t think Trump will live that long.

    Trump is 60 years old and grossly overweight. The rumors are he is sniffing uppers on a regular basis to keep acting energetic. So his heart is stressed and he is angry at the world. So it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if he croaked some day in the not too distant future.

  60. Well written piece about the Orange Dimwit Monster.

    Thanks for keeping on this. if it wasn’t for Lawyers, Guns and Money, this site, and Balloon Juice, I might have lost my marbles.

    Last Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning I was just beginning to unwind… we had won the Senate in Georgia, of all elections — Trump was outta there, so I was just barely beginning to relax.

    Then the insurrection against our legitimately elected government began, right in front of my eyes on streaming video from all the news channels. OMG, so much for relaxing currently~!!~

    Keep up the good work Scalzi, and all you space cadets who hang out here, you are my bulwark against raging insanity in government!

  61. Trump was their dream candidate though thoroughly irreligious. >>

    Not just irreligious, but before he announced he was running, he was pro-choice, pro-gun-control and a Democrat.

    So of your list of qualities, what made him ideal was that he was a racist, bullying boor.

    Trump is 60 years old and grossly overweight. >>

    74.

    kdb

  62. @David Hajicek –

    Correcting one point, which actually makes your expectation even more likely: Trump is 74, not 60. And not overweight-but-fit, either. Just overweight (obese?) and, I believe, not a very healthy eater.

  63. I am seriously frightened at the reasons given by congresscritters who voted no to the impeachment – that they were “afraid” for their own lives and the lives of their families. Trump will be gone but the goons that drive the aftermath are still there and if it becomes too frightening to be an effective politician because you are too afraid that some moron with an AK-47 will just shoot you if you do… that is a scary prospect, going forward.

  64. Next stop a dacha on the balmy shores of the Black Sea, with however much of the 2-300 million he managed skim off the “Save America” slush fund he set up after he lost the election!
    That is if his handler (Putin(!) will give him asylum!

  65. If you said the “squad” should “go back where they came from”, you dont get to call for unity now.

    If you hate BLM, you dont get to call for unity now.

    If you supported the wall, you dont get to call for unity now.

    If you supported the Muslim ban, you dont get to call for unity now.

    If you opposed the slightest sacrifice of wearing a paperthin mask because you didnt care if you were a covid carrier and might kill people, you dont get to call for unity now.

    If you say Dems commited rampant voter fraud and stole the election, you dont get to call for unity now.

    If you incited a mob to “kick ass” and “trial by combat” and “fight fight fight” and raise a fist in support of sedition, you dont get to call for unity now.

    If you were one of the people who stormed the capitol while a gallows was outside, and a mob insde was chanting “hang mike pence”, you dont get to call for unity now.

    If you are a bigot and hold some people as less than you, you dont get to call for unity now.

    If you supported the storming of the capitol to overthrow democracy, you dont get to call for unity now.

    If you have been trying to tear the country apart with bigotry or treason, you dont get to call for unity now.

  66. If you supported family separations, concentration camps, eugenics and dead brown kids in cages because they weren’t “from Idaho” but from “shithole countries,” you don’t get to call for unity now.

    If you believe your political opponents to be child-raping, Satan worshipping lizard people, you not only need to STFU about unity, you need to be drummed out of the political arena altogether.

    If the idea of white folks being outnumbered by brown folks by 2040 angers and terrifies you, even as you work to strip women of their reproductive rights, you do not get to call for unity now.

    If you espouse social Darwinist beliefs about healthcare, food assistance, financial aid and HUD housing and were one of the ones screaming the loudest about who doesn’t need or deserve a stimulus payment, you do not get to call for unity now.

    If you believe the mostly white insurrectionists and covidiot tantrum throwers had more of a right to protest than did black people who wanted not to be killed for existing, you do not get to call for unity, now or ever.

    If you are critical of wokeness because it sends your status anxiety through the roof and harshes your mellow when you’re just trying to speak the truth about (insert group you hate and want to either control or eliminate), keep the word unity out of your mouth.

  67. Susan, thanks for the correction. Brain fart, as my kids would say.

    As you say, 74 makes it even more unlikely that Trump will survive till 2024.

    Meetomyfeeto and Sarah M., Exactly. Trouble is that Biden was an absolute sucker for the call for “unity” from the republicans who never compromised an inch in return. I hope he learned to not trust these lying b**terds.

  68. @David Hajicek:
    Agreed.
    You’d think he’d have learned from watching Obama lose finger after finger over the course of eight years of republican obstructionism, but…

    Here’s hoping he and his VP live long enough for us to find out.

  69. When I was a kid in the late 50s, one of our wiseass responses was “Well, give you a Dewey button.” That has now been far eclipsed by the MAGA hat.

  70. Thank you for this, John. There are a lot of people around the world who are downright terrified of what he may do in these last few days. It seems to me that the statement issued by the Joint Chief of Staffs is a hopeful sign that they are absolutely ruling out Trump nuking anywhere between now and the inauguration. I hope!

  71. The political career of Donald Trump is dead, but Trumpism will live on without Trump.

    We liberals, progressives, centrists, NeverTrumpers — the 81 million of us who have truth and moral authority on our side — must remember that we are battling a 75 million-headed monster.

    Ta-Nehisi Coates warned in 2017 that Donald Trump was the first white president — that he will successfully pivot the GOP toward an identity politics of white grievance. We could compare Trump to the fascist ghosts of Hitler or Mussolini, but we have more recent historical examples in Slobodan Milosevic stoking aggrieved Serbs, PW Botha as the firewall of apartheid in South Africa, or Juvénal Habyarimana, the Rwandan dictator whose assassination sparked the 1994 genocide.

    Trump himself is damaged goods. He lost two popular votes, plus he appears to be in physical and/or mental decline. His sudden pariahdom has removed his platforms and his funding. Yet, the GOP is full of Trumpkins, and the durability of Republicans in the 2020 elections signals that their voters want a capable Trump.

  72. timeliebe – Central NY – Dreaded Spouse-Creature to bestselling fantasy author Tamora Pierce (SONG OF THE LIONESS, THE CIRCLE OPENS, BEKA COOPER: A TORTALL LEGEND series), a co-author of TORTALL: A SPY'S GUIDE, Co-author with Tamora Pierce of Marvel's WHITE TIGER: A HERO'S OBSESSION for Marvel Comics. Contributing Editor for VIDEO Magazine during the 1990s, Columnist for C/Net 1999 - 2002.
    timeliebe

    Are you sure “Greek Tragedy” fits a cosmically stupid stereotype of The Failures of Capitalism Run Amok finally getting his much-deserved comeuppance?

    I’d consider Trump closer to “Poetic Justice” or “Resulting in Schadenfreude”, myself.

    Yes, his mob of NeoNazi meatheads can try and disrupt the Inauguration of Joe Biden — if they want to make a martyr out of him, and ensure that Trump gets hanged alongside the lot of them! At this point, they don’t even have the Republican Party as a shield any more; Mitch McConnell is desperately trying to extricate himself from the coils of his complicity with the MAGA QAnon Trumper crowd while going in to hiding to keep from actually having to do his duty and try the head of his Party for Sedition; and Mike Pence by publicly disowned his running mate while burying himself even deeper to keep from having to fulfill his duties by taking Donnie’s place as “Acting President”…for a week! Lindsey Graham, meanwhile, spins like weathervane in a twister, caught between excoriating Trump and being by his side in his last days….

    I think even those MAGA-Fan Bigots in The Capitol Hill Police have had enough of mob rule by now.

  73. @Hap: Cthulhu turned down the VP slot in 2016 because He felt the top of the ticket was too extreme. So they had to settle for a radio-talk-show host. (Which, given that the top of the ticket was a reality-TV-game-show host, says a lot more about both the GOP and American politics since the 1960s than should be admitted to in public.)

    @Stevie Gamble: I’m moderately displeased with the Joint Chiefs because it took too damned long for them to make that statement public. But then, I lived through Iran-Contra (much more “up close and personal” than desired).

    Technical side note on Amendment 14 § 3: It’s probably not automatic, even once someone is convicted of “insurrection.” It probably requires at least certification of the conviction and recording in the Journals of the House and Senate, which should be a mere formality; it possibly requires a formal resolution passing both chambers. (There’s a technical difference between “self-executing,” which is being argued about, and “automatic,” which is not. And probably only the nerdiest of the law nerds care.)

  74. HA-HAH {the Simpsons)

    @ Wayne… umm… maybe not Giuliani, given that the broke mango moron has now instructed his aides not to pay Giuliani… why exactly does anyone who works for Trump think they are going to get paid? Behold the triumph of optimism over experience… or maybe it’s just naiveté or flat out stupidity.

    @Ctein… there are plenty of reasons to wait to hold the actual trial… the new Democratic Senate, for one. Then there’s the possible footage of certain members of Congress who gave guided tours to people who rioted in the Capitol a few days later. Rep Mike Sherrill has already brought the matter to the attention of the FBI. Should be fun to see what falls out of the FBI investigation. There’s also the record of all the seditionist idiots who (natch) brought their smartphones into the Capitol, took selfies, broadcast live, etc.. congrats, dummies, the Capitol wifi ISP now has a permanent record of your use of the Capitol wifi… and cell towers actually keep track of your longitude, latitude & altitude… thanks to triangulation & geometry, it is now possible to determine EXACTLY where you were during the riots. As in, not on the ground outside the Capitol.

    Then there’s the issue of all the Bitcoin suddenly swimming around in QAnon accounts, DailyStormer accounts, all the right wing nuts suddenly got money from where…?
    https://www.yahoo.com/news/exclusive-large-bitcoin-payments-to-rightwing-activists-a-month-before-capitol-riot-linked-to-foreign-account-181954668.html

    Just a tip: If you suddenly have large amounts of money that are undeclared income (whether donated, earned, whatever)… you could be getting some interesting letters from the IRS. Also, groups like the KKK, Unite the Right, etc aren’t legit charities, and as such, are not tax exempt… let’s see if some prison time for tax evasion/fraud cools your enthusiasm for insurrection.

    Speaking of cooling enthusiasm… while the Trumpist voters may have doubled down on the dumb, that doesn’t mean that all Republicans have. Apparently the Capitol riots have had a salutary effect/come to Jesus moment for some of them… a not-insignificant number of Republicans are suddenly looking into changing their party affiliation FROM Republican. The numbers are currently small, but an avalanche starts small too. Trump wants to be the kingmaker of the Republican party? Go ahead, you can have whatever slope-browed, knuckle-walking atavistic morons are still left in it.
    https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2021-01-12/early-warning-signs-emerge-for-gop-after-us-capitol-riots

    Also, more indictments are coming. Every day brings a larger number of people being charged with various crimes in connection with the seditionist/insurrectionist riot on the Capitol. And face it, for all their posturing, these asshats don’t have what it takes to make it through even the most minor inconveniences associated with a protest movement. These are not the Freedom Riders of the sixties, they are the whiny snowflakes of right wing white privilege.
    -If your mommy has to talk to the feds about exactly what kind of time out her whiny manbaby gets, sedition may not be for you!
    https://www.today.com/food/man-arrested-storming-capitol-refuses-eat-non-organic-jail-food-t205569
    Also, can we please not call him the Naziroquai? The Iroquois Nation is a proud nation and a decent people who have nothing to do with this asshat. Maybe stick to QAnon shaman? Colorblind Minnesota Vikings fan? Halfwit cosplayer?

    -Apparently the soi-disant cousin wishes he was more disant than he is from the Orthodox Jewish caveman who rioted in the Capitol–with a police bulletproof vest and riot shield:
    https://lawandcrime.com/u-s-capitol-siege/pelt-wearing-son-of-a-judge-posts-bail-after-capitol-siege-his-older-brother-who-attended-outdoor-pro-trump-rally-will-watch-him/

    For all their Christian posturing, the Republican Party/Trumpists real god is Mammon. Every passing day bleeds the mango moron of both political and actual capital. Trump ran on racism and money. When he has no money, the Republican party will largely stop listening to him. Also, federal prison sentences for some of the more obvious seditionists will likely dim the enthusiasm for repeat performances. Orthodox caveman is looking at a max of 10 years just for taking the police shield and vest, never mind the other federal charges of sedition, insurrection, rioting, trespassing, etc. There’s no parole for federal prison sentences either. If the federal judge says 10 years, you do 10 years. Period.

    Let it play out. Don’t rush the trials. Real investigations and real trials take time.

  75. Speaking of Trump being white and race, I am a baby boomer who hasn’t been to the black studies section of the big box store in decades.

    Well, I was in a little city on the prairie, (legally incorporated) one with four-way stops all down main street. There was a gaming store with a number of new books, and half the books were about anti-racism: How-2 books, memoirs, and social studies. I was surprised by how much was published (or reprinted) just within the last four years —no coincidence— and by how much was Canadian.

    I guess I was out of date without even knowing it.

  76. Re: Trump’s age,

    I dunno about age withering evil. The Venetian doge who redirected the 4th Crusade to sack Constantinople was in his 90s (IIRC) and stone blind. Billy Joel was right.

    No American is anticipating a mass falling away of the Republican faithful, whatever happens to Trump. I fear that such lessons are only learned in blood, and not enough of the right shade has yet been shed.

    I apologize for unnecessary Delphism. It’s been a long week and the cold winds of the past are blowing by every history major’s neck.

  77. One nice little bonus that not many people seem to be aware of is that T’Chump can’t legally bunker down in Mar a Largo, because part of the deal with the city when they gave him permission to buy it was that nobody – especially him – may treat it as a residence. I don’t recall the maximum number of days anyone can stay legally there, but I think it’s in the order of 2 – 3 weeks.

  78. megpie71 – Australian, female, fat, born in 1971. Been hanging around the internet (first Usenet, now blogs) since about 1997. Far too cynical for my own good.
    megpie71

    There’s a few crucial things which need to be considered here:

    1) Donald Trump is not going to be the next Hitler. For one thing, he’s at least forty years too old for the role. For another, Trump doesn’t have a unified political philosophy more complex than “there is power/glory available, therefore I should have it, because I am Special”. Donald Trump is a narcissistic con-artist who skates by on baffling people with bullshit, which is where his primary political talents (such as they are) can be considered to lie. He specialises in speeches which are barely approaching the coherence of Q-Anon “predictions”, badly made word salad with a LOT of stage dressing. He does spectacle, but he doesn’t do coherent politics. Trump is not going to be writing a political manifesto if he is jailed, because he can’t write (“his” book on The Art of the Deal was ghost-written for him), and, as previously mentioned, he doesn’t have a coherent political philosophy to espouse.

    2) Trump also isn’t likely to start a political dynasty akin to the Kennedys or the Bushes. None of his kids really have the “spark” aside from possibly Ivanka (and she’s far too busy maintaining her position as Daddy’s Favourite Girl to be able to spare the time and concentration needed for a serious political career). Plus, Daddy isn’t going to give up the spotlight until he’s about six weeks dead and safely buried – again, see “narcissist” here, because that’s the major driving force behind his entire life. This means he doesn’t have ambitions toward a political dynasty, because doing so would require him to pass along the torch… and he’s not going to let go of the torch until it’s burned not just his fingers, but his entire hand away.

    3) This is not to say Donald Trump’s appearance on the political scene is not worrying. It’s worrying because the people who flocked to his rallies, who fell in behind his “politics” (such as they were) and so on are still out there, and they’re looking for the next would-be authoritarian Leader to be following. The USA has a problem with encouraging authoritarian follower mindsets in its populace, through various means and for various reasons. This tendency isn’t going to vanish overnight, and the USA needs to deal with the fact they’re churning out a population who are largely looking for the next Glorious Leader to Gloriously Lead Them To Deserved Victory rather than a population of people who are willing to participate in democracy. There is a large chunk of your population who do not participate in your democracy, and another large chunk of your population who put a lot of effort into ensuring more people who do want to participate in your democracy aren’t able to do so. For a nation which has been telling everyone else on the planet that you’re a shining beacon of democracy since the end of World War II, you’re not very good at it.

    4) The USA has a problem with white supremacy. You need to do something about this. It isn’t going to be easy to deal with, because white supremacy has been at the core of the American psyche for almost as long as American Exceptionalism (that is: almost since the first British colonists landed in what’s now called Virginia). Donald Trump rose to power primarily by exploiting and fanning the flames of white supremacy, and as long as your nation is full of white supremacists, it’s going to be easy for people to rise to high office by exploiting their prejudices and fear of the Other.

    5) A nation and a corporation are different things. Running a nation requires an entirely different skill set to running a corporation, and this needs to be made very clear. While there are some overlaps, the two skill-sets are not congruent – not least because a nation doesn’t need to make a profit at the end of the day, and the “shareholders” (such as they are) in a nation cannot be relied to have ANYTHING in common other than their shared nationality. It might be worth considering anyone who comes roaring out of nowhere with a plan to become President without having held any other political office is not someone to be encouraged, but rather someone to regard as warily as possible (particularly when they’re coming out of the corporate sphere). No matter what these people say, they do not have the relevant skills to perform the job, and you really need to start looking into the ranks of the senate and the Congress for your presidential candidates rather than going for the “mavericks” from the fringes.

    6) Running a nation also requires a different skill set to winning a popularity contest. The USA is not going to get worthwhile presidents (save by pure accident) until you stop treating the Presidency as a party favour for the electoral equivalent of the Prom King.

  79. kurtbusiek: “Not just irreligious, but before he announced he was running, he was pro-choice, pro-gun-control and a Democrat.”

    The only thing you can depend on Trump to be is Pro-Trump. The rest is whatever serves that agenda in the moment.

    To his fawning, projecting audience, Trump’s lying, bigotry, greed, narcissism, and abuse are all qualities they aspire to themselves; thus legitimizing Trump validates their own behavior too. Rewriting what he might have said yesterday—as Orwell noted—is no impediment to that.

    As for Trump’s being [ir]religious, well there’s nothing new about transferring worship of abstract deities in the heavens to gods-made-flesh on Earth, as tyrants from Caesars to Maos can confirm. Again, no problem for those who can already project like IMAX. It is simply irrelevant. Gods (and their sons) aren’t expected to worship themselves, after all.

    Thus the Trumpenistas are happy to scream about the fascist state of China, even as they perform a pretty fine impersonation of its Cultural Revolution themselves. Their only consistency is their own inconsistency; and their need to maintain their lies at any cost. Self-deception is a helluva drug. And so it goes.

  80. @megpie71: “Donald Trump is not going to be the next Hitler.”

    True. Trump isn’t the next Hitler. But he is a dry run. The problem is in normalizing this new extreme, Trump paves the way for a more competent Dear Leader to step in once everyone else’s attention dissipates. The GOP, in trading principles for power, has being slowly, patiently structuring a single-party state for the last 50 years, declaring just this week that they are still overwhelmingly committed to that goal.

    Trump hijacking their vehicle for his own promotion and damn the long game was a lucky wake-up call, but don’t expect them to make the same mistake again. American fascism is still learning what works and what doesn’t at scale; and a large fraction of citizens are down with that too, or willing to look away to maintain own quiet life.

  81. Trump is definitely the Ludendorff in this scenario, the face trotted out to gin up interest and to deflect the blame. He might have gotten a bit more successful than the OG Ludy did, but his role is the same. The next Hitler, I think we all have an idea who that is though. The guy watching and plotting, and glaring, and making notes on what worked and what didn’t. The next few years are going to be interesting, and I hope that someone is going to read the warning signs properly. Vain hope, probably though.

    I do wonder where Trumpy will end up; I used to think Russia, but with the loss of his twitter access then I think his use for Putin as a dividing voice might be at an end. As long as it isn’t here in Scotland, we don’t want him. He ruined Turnberry, already. It used to be a sweet club and hotel, now it is the tackiest thing you ever did see.

  82. Trump’s soul isn’t small. It’s minuscule. Tiny. (And probably mushroom-shaped.) Microscopic and interesting only to the kinds of physicists who study quanta-sized particles. Properly measured only in Planck lengths and not to many of those.

  83. Qanon is a foreign government operation.
    Russia, north korea, maybe china. Not sure.
    But its too smart to be one american redneck.
    Cooter would have accidentally outed himself by now.

    Foreign intel agents and psyops folks are def behind it. And if they didnt originate it,
    They are def feeding it now.

  84. My chief comfort is that cults of personality are rarely transferable. Trump is nearly 75, plainly declining, and about to be unmistakably shown to be a loser. As others have said, the thing to worry about is the next would-be fascist, who won’t be as stupid or mentally ill.

  85. When it comes to schadenfreude, it’s hard to beat the observation that, if net worth is calculated by assets minus liabilities, Trump’s net worth is less than Brad Parscale’s.

  86. And Pence has apparently reached out to Biden and Harris to congratulate them and to offer any assistance he can provide.

    Better late than never, I guess.

    Guess nearly being hung by your president’s supporters put some things into perspective.

  87. If you really want to be depressed

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/01/15/new-poll-trump-gop-approval-authoritarian/

    Paywalled probably.

    But here are the scary numbers:

    By 66 percent to 30 percent, overall Americans say Trump acted irresponsibly in his statements and actions since the election. But Republicans say Trump acted responsibly by 66 percent to 29 percent.

    By 62 percent to 31 percent, Americans say there’s no solid evidence of the claims of voter fraud that Trump cited to refuse to accept Joe Biden’s victory. But Republicans say there is solid evidence of fraud by 65 percent to 25 percent.

    57 percent of Americans say Trump bears a great deal or good amount of responsibility for the assault on the Capitol. But 56 percent of Republicans say Trump bears no responsibility at all, and another 22 percent say he bears just some, totaling 78 percent who largely exonerate him.

    52 percent of Americans say Republican leaders went too far in supporting Trump’s efforts to overturn the election. But 51 percent of Republicans say GOP leaders didn’t go far enough, while 27 percent say they got it right, a total of 78 percent who are fully on board or wanted more. Only 16 percent of Republicans say they went too far.

    So they are completely divorced from reality. Trump might be gone, but his authoritarian bullcrap is alive and well. Tom Cotton, anyone? He’s the next Doug Neidermeyer up.

  88. @Meetomyfeeto “Foreign intel agents and psyops folks are def behind it. And if they didnt originate it, They are def feeding it now.”

    I think it was probably started by someone(s) on 4chan for lulz and then it just snowballed. I’m sure foreign intel. agencies are pumping their own stuff into it, but they really don’t need to, now. It’s become a crowd-sourced storytelling project where the coolest, most outlandish new theory (Trump is going to take over the live-feed of the Biden inauguration and announce the arrests of the deep state is one I just read yesterday) gets upvoted and spread around. They don’t even need the “authentic” Q info drops anymore.

  89. There is no expression for how disgusting and small are these ciswaddie rethug House and Senate members who say they fear for their lives if they vote to impeach — well, live with what the kids and women Black people, LGBTQ people, and AOC and all female Dem politicians, etc. have been living with for years and years. Grow a pair you unspeakables. Do your constitutional job. Where did you not learn that defending your country, which you, as an elected official, in the Capitol, have sworn to do, can be very scary and dangerous duty? You don’t get to just pick and choose the duty when it’s easy and safe. Not if you are a true member of the United States of America and not a fake russian qnon, etc. looking to bring the country down — while taking heads, as that jerkwaddie car dealer in Georgia crowed he was gonna do after they took over.

  90. “The next Hitler, I think we all have an idea who that is though. The guy watching and plotting, and glaring, and making notes on what worked and what didn’t. ”

    So, Matt Goetz?

    Bannon is watching but not taking notes, because he thinks he already knows what people are thinking. S. Miller isn’t actually watching even if his lizard gaze is pointed in your direction.

  91. There is a price to power: Visibility. And with visibility comes… inevitable exposure to nutcases that you might not otherwise have had. It might not even be personal.

    The biggest problem with the current political leadership is that it treats respect as an entitlement rather than something that it needs to earn. Unfortunately, that’s not unique to any political faction, although at least at present it’s worse among the party in the White House for another four days. (I lived in Illinois long enough to thoroughly understand what’s going on there with the Speaker of the House… and work in Chicago when the da Mayah was a Daley…)

  92. @Rochrist:

    I’d say Jim Jordan and Lauren “bullcrap” Boebert are contenders for the stupidity trophy.

    Maybe this is one of those cases in which everyone gets one. :)

  93. @Sarah Marie: Is that sort of like stereotypical “participation tropies”? (That’s from a generation after mine — when someone says “Hey, Boomer,” I look around to see if they mean me. And I really did have to walk uphill both ways, there was a valley between my house and the school.)

    Of course, Josh Hawley doesn’t get a “participation trophy” for 1984: You have to actually read the book before you get the participation trophy.

  94. @Jaws:

    Kids today. Humph.

    @John:
    “I suspect Mitch McConnell has sent someone to tell him that if he doesn’t behave during that time, he will call the Senate back and he will give the Democrats the seventeen Republican votes they need to punt him out on the street early and without his Secret Service detail (and pension).”

    Me thinks Mitch ought to give Trump’s choke chain a good yank, as his little meeting with the My Pillow guy has some nasty implications.

  95. “The rest of his life will be spent in the full knowledge that his name represents not success, but a failure so abject and profound that there is no other comparison to it.”

    I don’t know, John, I am now convinced that he has been wrapped up in his own self-created mythology for so long that, along with a coterie of lickspittle staff, a weak and lazy intellect, the insulation of lifelong pampering with wealth and fame, sociopathic tendencies, and possibly a good dash of incipient dementia he genuinely can not conceive of a world in which he has failed at something; so naturally he will be the victim of outside forces forever.

Exit mobile version
%%footer%%