It’s fashionable this week to be shocked, stunned, and deeply saddened that so many Trump supporters yearn to overthrow American democracy. As for me, I am deeply saddened but neither shocked nor stunned. A lot of these are folks who have wanted to overthrow American democracy ever since the War of Northern Aggression—which they lost.
They believe they are greatly aggrieved by the push toward a more diverse, inclusive, and just America. They believe they are victims. They loved Trump because, as president, he validated and magnified their feeling of victimhood. As Trump is unceremoniously escorted out of the White House, their sense of shared victimhood is affirmed. This is why so many pundits predict that Trump will go on—and on and on and on—controlling his base from Mar-a-Lago, or from whatever Black Sea dacha he winds up at.
I, however, am not so sure. Mainly for this reason: Not only did Trump endear himself to his people by validating their victimhood, he also promised to reverse their victimhood. To make them triumph over the hated black and brown people and over the hated professional elites. To make them drunk on the tears of the liberals.
When Trump lost the election, they rejoiced in his 55 lawsuits. When that didn’t work, they gleefully tweeted death threats to election officials and to the Republican governor of Georgia. And to their families. When that didn’t work, they showed up with bazookas to demand the Republican legislators overturn the electoral results. When that didn’t work, a lot of them are now calling for a military coup. Won’t happen. Next, they want Congress to overthrow the election on January 6, when it counts the electoral votes. Not happenin’ either.
I think you are getting the picture. They will heartily cheer an authoritarian coup by any means necessary. And the rest of us will duly be deeply saddened, but not shocked and surprise.
But what will happen after Trump is frog marched out of the White House?
They can still embrace a deep sense of shared victimhood with Dear Leader. But the promise of So Much Winning will have failed. Trump doesn’t look like Hitler. With his 55 failed lawsuits, he looks like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football.
Will his base continue to revel in So Much Losing?
Color me skeptical.