No, those aren’t the J20 protestors; they are just a few of the Great Americans who tried to save Trump’s presidency from Pence, Schumer, Pelosi, Romney, and the 80 million-plus people who voted for Biden on Wednesday. But since their story is mostly lost in the mists of history, it’s worth remembering what happened to the protestors who were swept up by the police at Trump’s inauguration after a limousine was smashed up and a Starbuck store’s windows were broken. 234 were jailed and then charged and prosecuted for crimes ranging from riot and property destruction to conspiracy to do the same. “Our job,” Trump declared on the White House website, “Is not to make life more comfortable for the rioter, the looter, or the violent disrupter.” Some of the defendants were acquitted at trial; others spent more than a year in court, facing up to 75 years in prison before the DOJ dropped the charges.
Last June, in the midst of the BLM demonstrations, Trump signed an executive order to protect statues of Confederate heroes. “I have authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the US with up to 10 years in prison, per the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act, or such other laws that may be pertinent,” he Tweeted.
I suspect that Washington, DC will be so militarized on Inauguration Day that there won’t be any violence at all–nor will there be crowds or much in the way of public events.
Trump will build or adapt a new media platform to replace his Twitter accounts; Twitter will pay a huge financial price for silencing him. But going forward Trump will have a harder time portraying himself as the enemy of violent disrupters, as he will not want to alienate a single member of the base he will be building on, which will look a lot like Alex Jones’ (which is to say that some of its members will wear Six Million Wasn’t Enough t-shirts to his rallies). Will he continue to control the Republican Party? For a while, certainly. The RNC is packed with loyalists. A disciplined, determined strong man could kindle a revanchist movement out of the ashes that are left of his presidency.
How disciplined, determined, or even strong is he? Six months from now, things may look very different than they do today. But if you read this New York Times article about the RNC’s meeting, you have to worry. Trump’s whole reason for being is grievance; his weakness is his super power.
Indeed, much of Ms. McDaniel’s speech was Republican red meat. There were warnings against socialism, attacks on the four liberal congresswomen known as “the squad” and boasting about the diverse class of lawmakers who helped the party gain House seats in November despite Mr. Trump’s broad unpopularity. “Candidates matter,” she said, alluding to new lawmakers.
David Bossie, one of Mr. Trump’s advisers and the Maryland committeeman, insisted that the party’s losses had been on the margins.
The White House, the House, and the Senate are the margins? If your goal is destruction, maybe they are.