12 January 2021

Fintan O’Toole: “This was never a dark conspiracy. It was an undisguised insurrection. Trump’s one great virtue is his openness. On September 23rd, asked whether he would ‘commit here today for a peaceful transferral of power after the November election’, Trump replied, ‘Get rid of the [mail-in] ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation.’ What more did anyone want? Read his lips: there will be no peaceful transition of power. Like every other autocrat, Trump understood the sole purpose of an election as the endorsement of his rule. Any other possibility could not be entertained. Almost the entire Republican Party went along with this declaration of war on the democratic process; a majority of its congressional delegation actively supported it. And nearly 75 million people voted for Trump in the full knowledge that he would never, ever, accept the result of the election unless he won. … This was not a rush of blood to the head. It is the logic of a post-democratic Republican Party that has given up hope of being able to win a majority in fair presidential elections. Nor is this a passing phase. Even after the mob stormed the Capitol, a majority of Republican members of the House, including House minority leader Kevin McCarthy and House minority whip Steve Scalise, voted in support of Trump’s bogus claims that Arizona’s election results must be invalidated. The only surprise about what happened on Wednesday, therefore, is that anyone can claim to be surprised. What do they think a post-democratic political party looks like?”