The 2020 election was unusual. Unprecedented numbers of votes were cast by mail and consequently no clear victor emerged on election night. The nature of Biden’s victory also defied convention, as he won the traditionally Republican states of Georgia and Arizona, while Trump consolidated his own support in swing states like Ohio and Florida. In Wisconsin, Biden won by just 10,000 votes, which seemed incredulous given polling had him 17 points ahead in the state. High turnout not only made the work of vote tallying more difficult, but led to Trump winning 11 Million more votes than he had in 2016, and still losing. Given the scope of this election and all the challenges involved, Trump was within his constitutional rights to investigate any potential irregularities. Before long however, it was readily apparent that no systematic fraud had taken place, and at that point the President ought to have conceded. But instead, perhaps deluded by the grief of his loss, and surrounded by fantasists, the Trump team began to peddle dangerous lies.
There was baseless talk of votes being laundered through Germany, Communist interference in Dominion voting systems, rigging by Venezuela, and much else besides. To many people, these claims seemed credible, not least because of the high calibre of legal minds who were offering up the whacky theories. Though no evidence for these claims was forthcoming, they continued to be promulgated by Trump and his team. Powerless people were convinced in their millions that their champion had been stabbed in the back by a shadowy deep state, in league with Communist China. It’s little surprise that those who had been whipped up by lies were willing to storm the Capitol. But they were lies, and Trump was either bad enough or mad enough to legitimise them. He watched his supporters, drunk and frenzied by his hand, as they killed and died fighting the police, and he said nothing, for hours. Some are calling Trump seditious, and perhaps the courts will come to judgment on that, but what is clear is that Trump is a traitor. A traitor to those whose trust he abused with lies, his own supporters.
The January 6th event didn’t have to happen. It was entirely pointless. Poor Trump supporters were beckoned to risk the Coronavirus and spend money to travel from all over the country into DC. The stated aim of the rally was to pressure Vice President Mike Pence into refusing to count the electoral college votes in a joint session of Congress. The Vice President has no such power of course, but the poisonous aides who came to surround Trump in the Fuhrer bunker during his lame duck period apparently convinced him otherwise. The mass audience was driven into frenzy as a berserker might be before battle, as Trump laid out his fake claims of voter fraud, joined by Giuliani who called for a ‘trial by combat’. They were told to march on the Capitol, and they readily complied. Five people were killed in the violence that ensued, including a police officer. After watching the scenes Trump reappeared to reiterate his claim that the election was stolen. The only man with the power to fight the fire, made the conscious and fatal decision to fan the flames.
Now in the aftermath of the riot, alienated by all those who supported him, and presumably shamed by his own conduct, Trump has finally conceded. Like a drunken criminal found dozing at the scene of the crime, he was been jolted into consciousness to spout off as many excuses as possible. He called for those who stormed the Capitol to be prosecuted. These same people were inspired to action by his lies, and now he feels the walls closing in he has used them as a human shield. Just as he used them to prosecute the fake war against voter fraud. Just as he used them to enrich himself. The man who claimed to be fighting on behalf of the powerless, is now powerless to Tweet. His incitement was shameful, and represents the ultimate betrayal of those who had put their faith in him, powerless people looking for hope. This perhaps will stand for time immemorial as his gravest sin of all.