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All very good points. Just a few quibbles:

Frank: It is worth noting that his 74 Million votes in the General Election is the highest ever attained by any presidential candidate bar Joe Biden, who obtained 81 Million votes.

No: it was worth only to Trump who's always been obsessed by Barack Obama who got more votes in 2008 (69 millions)and 2012 (66 millions) than Trump did in 2016 (63 millions).

But these comparisons are complete bull: almost every elected US president received more votes than their predecessor; this is due entirely to population growth. In 2008, US pop. was about 304 millions, in 2020 about 330 millions. So Obama's 69 million votes from 2008 would be equivalent to 75 millions with today's US population. Simple demography (and simple math). Trump is still a loser, sorry.

Frank: But is seeking to make Trump and his supporters a martyr politically wise, especially given the violent origins of the American Revolution which have been used to justify violence ever since?

Violence against the tyrannical power of an absolute monarch (American colonies 1776, France 1789 & 1848, Ireland 1920) is one thing. Rioting to overthrow the deliberations legally and democratically elected representatives of the people in a republic of laws is quite another: more like Franco 1936.

by Bernard on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 at 07:34:09 PM EST
Except that Franco wasn't an idiot. Trump is an idiot, and so his coup failed utterly. Someone with strategic skill and a grip on reality would have handled this (let's say...) rather differently.

Which is - luckily - incidental. The problem remains that the US is institutionally racist, and there's a mostly Southern base of angry white religious kooks and cultists who can be weaponised for profit and for political ends.

And given the former - and some of the latter - there are plenty of media outlets willing to pander to them and push them further and further into cultish delusion.

The media owners and their financial backers are the real enemies of democracy and of America. And they will be unaffected by this, because everyone is too busy focussing on the costume drama, and the pantomime villain who is fronting it.

But they are the guilty parties. And they are the ones promoting sedition and violence and hoping to end democracy. Trump is just their sockpuppet, and entirely expendable.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 at 07:48:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I still believe that Trump didn't expect the mob to storm the chambers and force the lawmakers to flee under police protection. At best, he was expecting that their raucous noise might coy Pence and the Senate Repubs to overcome the Electoral votes in his favor, however far fetched. At a minimum, to tar the Biden presidency with illegitimacy to weaken him from the get go, under the protests of the "real Americans".

Like the rest of us, he didn't expect the crowd to actually enter the building and start ransacking it. This is where he went too far and alienated the very Republicans like Pence and McConnell upon whom he depends to save his sorry ass come January 20. The proof is: he folded, rebuked the rioters, finally conceded that Biden would be President and has been lying low ever since.

by Bernard on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 at 08:55:42 PM EST
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Who knows? The national guard was held back by Trump loyalists in the defense department. I don't know what he expected but he expected something when he sicked the dogs on Congress.

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Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 at 09:04:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Have you seen the video of Melanoma - I mean Melania - boogying while Trump watches the fray? Rumours are he was astounded that his advisers weren't as delighted by the tumult as he was.

He actively encouraged the crowd to fight. The plans were being laid for weeks. He even put some of them up at his hotel - although I doubt he lowered the rates.

What he didn't do was plan properly. That was the idiocy.

He thought a mob of peasants in fancy dress - estate agents, marketing consultants, micro-CEOs and other bottom feeders - would be able to stop the election certification process. He somehow expected this would be enough keep him in power.

But you can't stage a coup without the military onside. And there was enough dissent and opposition there to make success impossible.

So he was left with a media event. Which will lead to a backlash, and a prison sentence.

The polarisation won't go away, but "domestic terrorism" is now on the legislative table as a threat that needs to be dealt with. Biden may or may not be of a mind to do much about it, but the balance has now tilted away from the white supremacists.

They had their chance, they had their man at the top, but - luckily for the rest of us - they didn't have the organisation or the deep support to go all the way.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 at 09:19:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My take

Trump was pissed-off and banned chief-of-staff of VP Pence from the White House.

Trump makes war ... he'll fight and be strong ... not a LOSER.

This was a planned attack on the Legislative branch of U.S. Congress. The battle was announced via social media ... the incitement was direct and clearly understood by a mass in frenzie. I learned this in college Institute of Technology a course in Journalism and Propaganda. You need just a handful of instigators or agents provocateurs to move such a mass of people into an unruly mob.

Trump wanted to punish U.S. Congress where his fate would be sealed. VP Pence had told him it was not in his power nor by US Constitution to change the Vote of The People. Trump didn't agree ... he embodies the Executive and has all the might needed. From his exhibition walking through the MLB Demonstration to the Church from the White House for his photo-op holdin the Bible as a shield against all evil was already indicative of his insanity. For Bill Barr and the Staff of the Pentagon, this was a BIG MISTAKE ... once and never again!

Trump manipulated his followers to follow him when and if asked: "Stand back and Stand-by".

A very angry Lindsey Graham ...

With a powerful automatic rifle, multiple deaths could have been caused inside the Chamber, it could have been a bloodbath ... martial law would have followed with Trump staying in power.

"All I can say is count me out. Enough is enough. I've tried to be helpful'"

Graham on riots: "They could have killed us all"

Pointing to 2021 marking the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans, he asked how authorities could have "failed so miserably."

"Yesterday they could have blown the building up. They could have killed us all," he said. "People coming through the windows had backpacks, as big as my desk on the Senate. They should have been challenged, warning shots should have been fired and lethal force should have been used once they'd penetrated the seat of government. Those backpacks could have had bombs chemical agents, weapons. We dodged a major bullet yesterday. If this is not a wake up call, I do not know what it is. Is that a money problem? If it is we'll fix it. Is it a leadership problem? Obviously. Is it an Intel failure of the highest proportions? Absolutely."

by Oui on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 at 10:12:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Trump Mob Chases Lindsey Graham From Airport Terminal: 'Traitor!'

Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican senator who was an ardent critic of Donald Trump until the latter was elected president, was rushed away from an angry pro-Trump mob Friday, according to a video tweeted by Politico reporter Daniel Lippman.

The incident occurred at Washington, D.C.'s Reagan International Airport.

by Oui on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 at 11:21:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"I still believe that Trump didn't expect the mob to storm the chambers and force the lawmakers to flee under police protection."

Reports are that he was happy when he heard about the break-in and was confused about why nobody else around him was.

 

by asdf on Sat Jan 9th, 2021 at 12:54:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All good points: What was Trump expecting, really?

That Josh Hawley would greet the rioters at the door of the Senate to usher them in? That Ted Cruz would then take the chair over from Mike Pence, toss the Electoral College votes and declare Trump President For Life??

Speculating what Trump thinks is a futile endeavor and I've done way too much of that already, so I'll stop.

Sticking to the observable facts, the senior Republicans are obviously no longer "humoring him" - and they don't seem entirely happy to have been exfiltrated from the Capitol under police protection. Trump has been laying low ever since, sulking like a four-year old ground by his parents since he almost burned the family house down in his latest tantrum, while his toys (Twitter, Facebook, Insta) are taken away.

by Bernard on Sat Jan 9th, 2021 at 01:21:32 PM EST
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by Oui on Sat Jan 9th, 2021 at 02:05:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's plenty of historical examples of well organised minorities in cahoots with elites overthrowing the will of majorities and creating "facts on the ground" which make a return to majority rule difficult or impossible without major war or catastrophe. In that context 74 Million is actually quite an impressively sized minority, regardless of population growth.

Basically Trump convinced these 74 Million he would rule in their interests and ensure the other 81 Million would never get their hands on the levers of power. He did this by frightening them that liberal elites, who weren't their elites, would destroy their way of life.

The fact that he is the most unlikely champion of the underdog imaginable is actually par for the course. After all Hitler was most probably part-Jew. Trump presenting himself as the champion of ordinary Americans may be a case of the most extreme over-compensation, but it is common enough in history. Look at the "man of the people" Boris Johnson.

No doubt Franco and his followers also convinced themselves they were overthrowing an oppressive government in the name of real Spaniards and Spanish values. Tyranny is always what the other side do. The key to maintaining power is to maintain divisions at a fever pitch, so that the method that favours your group - violence rather than democratic elections - becomes the dominant method.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 at 09:09:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I got curious about the numbers and went to Wikipedia to have a look at participation rate.

Note that this has no bearing on the discussion of what the numbers mean, but I find interesting that the preliminary participation rate - 66,7% - is higher then any other election since suffrage was granted to women, native americans and african americans. In fact - and now we are comparing almost universal suffrage with a quite limited one - it is the highets participation rate since capital beat the populists in 1896 and 1900. Speaking of which, according to Thomas Frank 1896 was adjusted for inflation the highest spending election ever.

1896 being known as the election with the Cross of Gold speach and the last chance of bimetallism, it might be interesting to know that according to Late Vistorian Holocausts, the shifting to gold standard across the western world was important in undermining the economies of China and India (by making their silver currencies less vauable through the inflow of former bullion silver). Now, that had already happened in 1896, but Bryan wasn't wrong that gold standard was about "crucify mankind upon a cross of gold".

Of course, Bryan was an actual populist, while Trump only plays one on Twitter, so as I started with I don't have an actual point here.

by fjallstrom on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 at 10:08:39 PM EST
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I think the point is that the high turn-out rates are remarkable given there is so much voter disenfranchisement, gerrymandering and voter suppression. What's the point in turning out and waiting in long lines when the outcome in so many Districts and States is a foregone conclusion. I only hope Biden doesn't disappoint his diverse base. It's going to be very difficult to maintain that high participation rate if Trump isn't around to energise both sides.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jan 9th, 2021 at 01:18:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I only hope Biden doesn't disappoint his diverse base.

Given that over half his base took him as no-good corporate democrat on the right side of Ronald Reagan even before voting for him, it's not easy to disappoint them. But he will try.

He's of the same cloth as Mr. Obama and Ms. Clinton, both of which gave Trump to the world. Except where both at least promised to improve things, Biden's message was return to "normal" and that "nothing will change". If we accept this, and look at his political history, he is probably the worst possible person to alleviate the pain many Americans are experiencing.

On the other hand, soon Democrats will have all the three houses, and if when they fail to deliver any material benefits to the population, the party will destroy itself by 2022 since it will have no excuses left.

by pelgus on Sat Jan 9th, 2021 at 11:26:43 AM EST
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by Cat on Sat Jan 9th, 2021 at 02:44:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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