One of the very few criticisms I would make about the conduct of Trump’s impeachment trial is that they did not explore the consequences if he had succeeded. Many assert that he wanted to be a dictator but I suspect that most think it hyperbole, much as few realized the level of danger during the insurrection itself.
Until the impeachment trial, I knew it was bad but thought it was knuckleheads and idiots rampaging. Bad stuff might have, I thought, happened but it would have been a riot that got inside a building. Beatings, damage, shouting, ineffectual destruction and inchoate violence.
We now know that there was an intent to murder. “Where are you Nancy” and “Hang Pence” weren’t slogans, they were the intentions of weird psychopaths and trained militia people with a plan.
(Remember video of soldiers moving through the crowd outside the capitol, in a chain, a hand on the tactical vest of the soldier ahead, moving through the crowd with purpose and efficiency.)
Had the reinforced windows of the capitol failed a few seconds earlier, Pelosi and Pence would have been caught and murdered. Doubtless others would have been caught up in a melee. More people would have died.
What was the goal? The first people into the building shouted, “Where are they counting the votes?” They were there to “stop the steal”.
As Donald Trump well knew, there was no way to change the vote of the electoral college. The only way to change the outcome was to decapitate the government apparatus that would bring about the transfer of power. Hence, the death sentence for Pelosi and Pence.
But it would have been even worse. Just killing them would not insure Trump’s success. Unless the Senate was destroyed, it could reconstitute and certify a new president. Enough violence had to be done to prevent them from doing that. Killing, maiming, threatening the rest was also necessary.
According to the security cameras, this result was missed by less than a minute. They barely got the Senators out by the time the Senate chamber was captured by the insurrectionists. If Goodman hadn’t distracted them. If the windows had failed a minute more quickly. If someone had stumbled and slowed the evacuation. It would all be different.
And now, suppose… Pence, Pelosi and, say, ten senators are dead. Trump sends in the troops. The capitol is under military occupation with blood and death everywhere.
The country is enraged and terrified. Hundreds of thousands are on the streets everywhere. Opponents of Trump are outraged and rioting. Proponents are out with their AR-15s ‘fighting antifa’. Violence is universal.
More troops. Nobody disagrees that something has to be done to quell the violence. The Senate cannot certify the election because many are dead and wounded. The rest are shocked and dazed. All are under the control of a military controlled by Donald Trump. For their ‘safety’ they are sequestered.
January 6 comes and goes. So does the next week and no new president is certified. On the run up to the date of inauguration, there is no certified successor.
Biden’s partisans go to court but, our Supreme Court is conservative. Many are inclined to Trump’s authoritarianism. The majority like a very, very literal view of the constitution. It says the Senate must certify and it has not. They make clear that without certification, there can be no new president.
They regret the clear language of the constitution and encourage the Senate to act.
One imagines that the killing focused on those who were responsible for ‘the steal’. Those remaining are both terrified (nothing focuses the mind like watching a bunch of people slaughtered) and self-serving.
Maybe Josh Hawley is the new majority leader, they get back into session. This time the objections to the electors’ decisions in those six states are taken very seriously.
They brave the outrage of the liberals, after all, there are now huge amounts of soldiers under Trump’s command in every large city in the country, and only certify ‘legitimate’ electoral votes, ie, those that support Trump.
This scenario came within a minute of being reality. To say we dodged a bullet is understatement.
After putting Trump into office this way, the left would have taken to arms. We would have had a civil war but the big guns are controlled by an unhinged tyrant and would-be dictator who has already shown his thirst for power has no limits. There is no doubt who would have prevailed.