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We must say it loud and clear: both Georgia Senate runoffs were lost because of Donald Trump and those who wanted to play along with him. The Capitol violence is also on him.
Instead of focusing on the two vital elections ahead, Donald Trump and company preferred to continue with a useless, unfounded, and unwinnable fight. They deviated the attention, radicalized the situation, and put senators Perdue and Loeffler in an extremely uncomfortable situation unnecessarily.
The Republican Party originally backed Trump, thinking he’d provide a smoking gun to back up fraud allegations. How naïve of them,
Trump did not stop at throwing a temper tantrum. He did not provide fraud evidence that survived a court challenge, accused some of his most faithful officials, like William Barr, of being against him, said the Supreme Court Justices were cowards for not taking a case without rhyme or reason, and, as the icing of the cake, today he criticized his own VP for not interrupting the certification of results.
For much time, Republican commentators accused, with certain justification, Joe Biden of being senile. What they ignored was the mental breakdown the president would have.
As if this wasn’t enough, DonaldTrump summoned his supporters to a rally at the Capitol where he insisted on pressuring the VP and said words that sounded as coming from the mouth of a delirious Roman emperor: “We will never concede.”
The rest is history. A dreadful spectacle that, in just six days of 2021, will likely be the most iconic moment of the year. One of the worst assaults over American institutions since the War of Secession.
The horrendous circus was quickly condemned by almost all the Republican Party, with some exceptions, including the president. Only hours after the disaster, the president published a warm message in which he didn’t even ask for the removal of the protestors from Capitol Hill.
And some of his most faithful followers continued. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Texas AG, Ken Paxton, among others repeated like a mantra, without evidence in hand, that Antifa members infiltrated the demonstration and were to blame for the violence.
The New York Post said that intelligence sources indicate the presence of two Antifa members in the Capitol yesterday. However, the most authorized voice regarding Antifa in the media, Andy Ngo, a journalist that has been following these violent groups up close, denied they were the perpetrators. We’re talking about someone that has infiltrated these groups and knows hundreds of members face to face, including the most dangerous of them. He was at the rally and said he didn’t see any familiar faces. However, later, Ngo tweeted that a known BLM activist was at the riots.
Even though some Antifa members infiltrated the rally, the true perpetrators streamed everything from social media. Baked Alaska, a well-known white supremacist streamed from the Capitol. Members of the Proud Boys were also reported inside the Capitol.
The most famous person of the afternoon was the man who appeared shirtless and with horns in the Capitol. His name is Jake Angeli and he is a staunch QAnon supporter. The woman who was unfortunately killed by the police inside the Capitol was also a Trump supporter.
It must be said distinctively: today’s circus and the Republican debacle in the Senate have as a culprit: Donald Trump.
Trump’s senselessness and megalomania led the Republican Party to lose two runoffs in what was one of the most Republican states of the Union. In both cases, in the first round, the Republican candidates had more votes. No one thought the Democrats could win. After all, people vote less in senatorial elections, especially black people, who vote overwhelmingly blue.
But the president wanted to continue his circus. He practically forced the senators to choose between violating the institutions or demobilizing the party bases. Democrats didn’t need a major twist in the voting, just a few thousand of them. And that was enough.
In a rally on Monday, Trump said, “If they win I’ll get no credit, and if they lose they’re going to blame Trump.” And the effect of his polarization was felt. Only a couple of counties won by the GOP in November were now won by the Democratic Party in this election.
Nonetheless, the Democratic advantage in its strongholds widened. Ossoff increased its margin in Clayton County by six percentage points, by three in DeKalb, by four in Gwinnett, and by 1.5 in Fulton, the state’s most populated county. These are not large changes, but enough to erase Perdue’s small advantage in November. The personal attacks against the governor and the secretary of state only made things worse.
The consequence? The Democratic Party now has carte blanche to impose its radical agenda in the Senate. Fortunately, thanks to some sane voices within the party, it is unlikely that some of the most radical institutional proposals will pass, such as ending the filibuster or packing the Supreme Court. Nevertheless, this opens the door for greater restrictions to the Second Amendment, higher taxes, restrictions on religious liberties, environmental regulations that kill jobs, and many more.
After November 5th, it was almost certain that the worst-case scenario was avoided: that the Democrats won both houses of Congress and the Presidency. Trump’s senselessness and that of his most faithful and radical followers enabled it.
Commentators and members of Trump’s legal team, such as Lin Wood, spread conspiracy theories about the electoral system, accused the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of being a pedophile, told people not to vote in Georgia and asked for the arrest and execution by firing squad (!) of the Vice President.
Can anyone be surprised that everything ended up like this?
Trump had a chance to honorably leave office as one of the most transcendental one-term presidents in America. He had in his hands changing the Republican Party forever and helping it gain support in unexpected groups. But he preferred to leave office through the backdoor and end up being remembered as the American president that was closest to conducting an insurrection in the modern history of the US.
Many of us conditionally supported Trump because we saw a more dangerous enemy on the other side. But the damage he has caused since November 4th deserves the firmest opposition. Fortunately, the Republican Party seems to have understood this and turned its back on Trump.
The task ahead is titanic: to oppose a radical agenda that can irremediably change the country and rewire the lost credibility while the new support bases are solidified, like the gained ground with Latinos. We have midterms in two years. Two years where the check and balance capacity of the Republican Party will be reduced to a minimum.
The damage is done. Trump tarnished his own legacy irreparably, the Senate is lost, and January 6th will be marked in the history of America as the day when those who swore to defend the West tried to destroy its greatest legacy: its institutions.
Edgar is political scientist and philosopher. He defends the Catholic intellectual tradition. Edgar writes about religion, ideology, culture, US politics, abortion, and the Supreme Court. Twitter: @edgarjbb_ // Edgar es politólogo y filósofo. Defiende la tradición intelectual católica. Edgar escribe sobre religión, ideología, cultura, política doméstica, aborto y la Corte Suprema. Twitter: @edgarjbb_