The Trump Watch:  A new USRESIST NEWS Blog Post series intended to report on the

activities of President Trump at the end of his Presidency and after he leaves the White House.

# 1 With 2 Weeks To Go Trump Incites Followers to Storm the Capital 

By Sean Gray

Wednesday’s grotesque spectacle at the Capitol building was an appalling affront without precedent in American history. Trump supporters formed a raucous mob and sought to prevent the certification of electoral college results. Five peoples have been reported dead with dozens more injured and arrested. Authorities continue to pursue those responsible for the melee. Bearing as much individual responsibility is President Donald Trump. Since the deadly Charlottesville rally of 2017, Trump has habitually encouraged the worst instincts of his cultish following. The scene at the nation’s capital was indeed nightmarish, but predicted  by numerous pundits. It was in fact the logical progression of a would-be authoritarian in his desperate bid to retain power.

In four years at the helm Donald Trump has shown a consistent disdain for democratic processes. He has insulted the US’ longstanding democratic allies and fawned over brutal authoritarians. He has disregarded checks and balances, and  operated with lawless abandon. Freedom of the press has been under consistent assault since Trump began his political ascendancy. He has kept a stranglehold on his party through deceit and divisive rhetoric echoed through social media. Trump has utilized every dictatorial tactic common to favorite strongmen.

Criminal charges, civil suits and staggering personal debt likely await him on the other side of his presidency. Trump was always going to attempt every conceivable gambit to stay in power, just as every aspiring despot would.

As soon as the Associated Press called the election in Biden’s favor, Trump unleashed a baseless stream of voter fraud conspiracy accusations to his 80 million Twitter followers and conservative media echo chamber that has served him so well. He hurled a gaggle of lawsuits (some so flimsy they didn’t even allege actual fraud) against the wall to see what would stick. 59 of 60 (some heard by Trump-appointed judges) were dismissed. It seems the president’s flunkies were less comfortable making empty claims of a rigged election under penalty of perjury.

The meeting of the electoral college put a serious dent in Trump’s subversive designs. However he repeated his various claims of voter fraud and irregularities with such effectiveness that a large chunk of the electorate came to believe him. A fact not lost on the collective GOP, who have spent the less four years kowtowing to Trump for fear of political retribution. By the time Congress was set to convene and certify the 2020 election results, some 13 Republican Senators and over 100 House members were prepared to challenge the results, without a shred of evidence to support their objections.

Overshadowed by Wednesday’s hubbub is the call between Trump and much-maligned Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, on the preceding Saturday. In said call, the president revealed himself to be still very much immersed in his alternate reality in which he rightfully won the state. Astonishingly, he asked Raffensperger to ‘’find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.” The number in question is the approximate margin of defeat Trump suffered in the Peach State. Over the course of an hour, Trump (with Chief of Staff Mark Meadows) harangued the Georgia Secretary incessantly, peddled his tired delusions and insisted that the state and its 16 electoral votes had been stolen from him. To his credit, Raffensperger resisted the pressure, contradicted Trump and reported the call. Had it not been for the events of Wednesday, the possibility of Trump standing trial for solicitation of election fraud would have received more media coverage this week.

Vice President Mike Pence has been loyal to Trump to the point of obsequiousness in their time in office together. As President of the Senate he presided over the certification of the election results. Trump, on Twitter and in person, pressured his right-hand man to reject the results, sending them back to the states, an unconstitutional move which Pence had no authority to make.

Which brings us to January 6th, 2021, a day that will be remembered among the ugliest in American history. The President of the United States called a rally of his supporters on the White House grounds. Primed with the stolen election rhetoric he’d been offering up for months, Trump whipped his supporters into a frenzy (not sparing his VP in the process), told them they needed to fight hard for the country, directed their attention to the ‘‘scene of the steal’’ and told them to walk on down. What ensued was the final lawless crescendo of a unhinged president, emboldened to do as he pleases. As MAGA-loving insurrectionists burst into the seat of government, Trump sat in radio silence. The siege was reminiscent of military coups in Argentina or Chile.

Wednesday’s debacle was hard to watch and represented a serious hit to American prestige. But it should not honestly elicit shock and awe from the viewing public. Conditions in American government have been trending in this direction for at least the last four years. Trump’s bellicosity and disregard for the rule of law is a volatile mixture which culminated in failed coup in D.C. this week. And it was the logical progression of his unlawful bid to undo his election loss.

Successfully putting down the insurrection was a positive, but hardly a lasting victory. If the United States is to remain a beacon of democracy the world over, the conditions that preceded Wednesday’s deadly events need be better combatted. American ideals of freedom and democracy are only of value if the public has faith in them. Based on what transpired at the capitol building, a troubling number of our fellow citizens do not, or worse, are so blinded by propaganda that they believe themselves to be fighting for these values. Depending on one’s philosophical vantage point, the riots at the Capitol building could be viewed as a successful stress test of American democracy or a harrowing bellwether of what the future holds. Regardless, it should serve as a reminder to all, that it can happen here.

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