I realise this was a chilling and nauseating day but I also found “Black Wednesday” somewhat entertaining. It felt like watching the last episode of the reality TV show, The Apprentice. Except Donald Trump, the man who fires, was himself fired, finally and for good.
For four years, President Donald Trump has been messing up big time. This week, however, he messed up bigly. On November 3, he lost the election and on January 6, he lost his chance for a comeback.
During a political rally on Wednesday, Trump goaded his mob of supporters to march down Pennsylvania Avenue towards Capitol Hill. They did so roundly and laid siege to the Capitol Building, then stormed it and wreaked havoc in its halls.
The dramatic images from the crime scene were truly shocking and until yesterday, thoroughly unimaginable, except in a sensational Hollywood movie. Some of the rioters, dressed up to look tough, seemed more like cosplay partygoers plucked out of a Halloween event. The last time Congress was ransacked was by the British more than two centuries ago.
Trump’s populist attack on the electoral process and his determination to disrupt the Senate certifying the election results was condemned as “a coup attempt”, “an insurrection”, and a case of “domestic terrorism”.
This is indeed a bit exaggerated. But guess what – these condemnations were voiced not by Democrats or Liberals, but by prominent Republicans, who have grown fed up with the president’s increasingly dangerous shenanigans.
It seems Trump finally overplayed his hand and alienated many of his own allies. This time, he did not merely assault a member of Congress, a federal branch or a cabinet secretary, but he actually launched an attack on the constitution, the Congress and American democracy as a whole – all to remain in office.
Trump has shown he cares for power and power only, that he does not really care for the Republicans or the American people, let alone for making America great again. Worse, he has demonstrated the will and willingness to bring the GOP and the country down with him.
And he almost did. He almost turned America into a truly “s***hole country”.
He just could not help himself after his loss. He would not shut up about it and accept the results after the courts threw out his fabricated cases alleging election tampering. Instead, he went on to undermine the certification of the election results by any means possible.
And it backfired.
Trump has been such an egotistical narcissist, that he has used what is left of his star power to undermine his own populist movement, demanding it does all to reverse the election results.
He pressured Republican state and national leaders to reject the results. Some have acquiesced; others refrained from doing his dirty work for him. They not only failed to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s win but will also pay the price of undermining the people’s will.
By revealing his true colours, his naked ambition, Trump is now losing the sympathies and trust of many of the 74 million Americans who voted for him. These people were loyal enough to cast their ballot to re-elect him, despite his incompetence and his mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic that led to the death of more than 360,000 Americans.
White nationalists and conservative evangelists, who make up the backbone of today’s Republican Party, may still anoint him king of America, but fewer and fewer Republicans and Americans, in general, will go along after the January 6 carnage.
Trump’s populist agenda has taken such a beating that it may be too toxic for Republican leaders to maintain and may end up splitting the party. It is all too possible that Trumpism will go down with Trump after January 20.
This is quite significant and should be celebrated not just in the US but also abroad.
But the signs of Trumpism’s downward trajectory were evident even before the storming of Capitol Hill. In the January 5 runoffs in Georgia, a Confederate state and traditionally a Republican stronghold, Trump’s utter obsession with his own loss cost the Republicans two Senate seats and ultimately their majority in the Senate. This would certainly facilitate Biden’s pursuit of implementing his agenda which partly will be about the undoing of Trump’s agenda.
But will Biden stop there or will he hold Trump responsible for what Democrats consider treasonous violations of democracy and the rule of law?
Generally, US presidents have refrained from pursuing their predecessors legally or otherwise, mainly for fear of establishing dangerous precedents, allowing their successors to prosecute them as well.
So just as President Barack Obama turned the page on the George Bush presidency, so will Biden turn the page on the Trump era, leaving state prosecutors to chase after him.
Some are still wondering if Trump will use his last two weeks in office to embark on a foreign military venture, say, against Iran.
This may have been possible throughout the past two months, but the debacle on Capitol Hill crippled him politically and disabled his policy adventurism.
January 6 may have been a dark moment in US history, but it may well pave the way for a new day in America.