The Great American Coup Attempt of 2020

Every traitor who participates in Mr. Trump’s failed coup attempt should be remembered.

By Tony Norman
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Columnist

DEC 15, 2020 – Like the fashionable fascists they always strive to be, the contingent of Proud Boys who showed up in D.C. on Saturday to “Stop the Steal” stood out in the madding crowd of revanchist losers pledging their support to Donald Trump, who buzzed them from Marine One overhead.

Rocking black and gold down to the face masks only a few of them wore during the pandemic’s deadliest week, and shouting “All Lives Matter” and “We are Proud Boys,” they looked like a lost tribe of Steelers’ fans, high on hate, trying to score meth outside the Smithsonian.

The Jericho March, as Trump-believers called it, was emceed by conservative talk-radio host Eric Metaxas. The two-fisted evangelical who announced earlier in the week that he would be “happy to die in this fight” for Trump, God, Jesus and liberty — pretty much in that order — did what Jesus surely would’ve under the same circumstances: He asked if anyone had a bazooka he could borrow to blow a news chopper out of the sky.

Over the course of the day, Mr. Metaxas welcomed a who’s who of indicted, convicted, pardoned and guilty-as-hell scoundrels to the stage to ramble on about their love for “Dear Leader.”

The disgraced but recently pardoned Michael Flynn was followed by the always disgraceful Alex Jones, who called Joe Biden a “globalist” and vowed that he “will be removed [from office] one way or another.”

Recently pardoned fixer, dirty trickster and Nixon fetishist Roger Stone was there, as was “eccentric” former congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, who blathered on about a miracle that would soon confirm a second term for Mr. Trump. The list of guest speakers may have been the largest gathering of cultists, ravers and true believers since Jonestown.

Pennsylvania was represented on stage by “Mr. Piety” himself, state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R- Franklin County, who bemoaned the U.S. Supreme Court’s terse dismissal of the Texas lawsuit that would’ve disenfranchised millions of voters in four battleground states, including Pennsylvania, as a “gut shot.” But he vowed to fight on because, well, he’s an irrational fanatic.

We should never forget that 18 attorneys general and more than 120 Republican House members affixed their signatures to an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to grant Texas’ request to invalidate the outcome of the election in four states that went to Joe Biden.

The following members in the House representing Pennsylvania went along with this mad scheme to disenfranchise their own constituents: Rep. John Joyce of the 13th Congressional District, Rep. Fred Keller of the 12th, Rep. Mike Kelly of the 16th, Rep. Dan Meuser of the 9th, Rep. Guy Reschenthaler of the 14th and Rep. Glenn Thompson of the 15th.

But even as the Jericho March was reaching peak absurdity in D.C., the Wisconsin Supreme Court was handing Mr. Trump yet another humiliating defeat. Mr. Trump asked the court to toss 221,000 absentee ballots in Wisconsin’s most liberal counties, which just happen to have the largest minority populations. A justice noted that Mr. Trump didn’t sue any of the state’s 72 counties that used the same absentee ballots, but are majority white.

“What you want is for us to overturn this election so that your king can stay in power,” Justice Jill Karofsky scoffed before calling the whole stunt “Un-American.” She later delivered a judgment to Trump lawyer Jim Troupis that had almost gotten lost in the nonsensical legalese: “This lawsuit, Mr. Troupis, smacks of racism. I don’t know how you can come before this court and possibly ask for a remedy that is unheard of in U.S. history. It is not normal.”

But there’s nothing “normal” about the fear and opportunistic devotion Mr. Trump inspires in a craven Republican caucus willing to back the stupidest coup attempt in history just so he doesn’t tweet something to encourage primary opponents in their blood-red districts.

And it never stops. On Monday, even as the first electoral votes ensuring Mr. Biden’s victory were being cast, White House adviser Stephen Miller went on Fox News and promised that “an alternate slate of electors in the contested states is going to vote and we are going to send those results to Congress.”

The Trump administration is laying the groundwork for a challenge on the floor of the House of Representatives on Jan. 6 to force the recognition of these “MAGA electors.”

Representative Scott Perry, R-Pa., has indicated that he will support objections to the Biden electors because, hell, why not? He belongs to a party that no longer believes in democracy. For politicos like Mr. Perry, it is never too late to engage in performative treason for Boss Trump.

Still, the desperados are guaranteed to fail on that front, but they believe they have at least one more devilish ace of their anti-democratic sleeve — Vice President Mike Pence.

As the president of the Senate, Mr. Pence has the constitutionally mandated duty of tallying the vote and announcing the winner on Jan. 6. No one expects Mr. Trump to “allow” Mr. Pence to participate if he’s not the winner, and no one believes Mr. Pence has the character or the guts to defy him.

Mr. Biden will still be declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election, but another procedural norm will have been shattered because of Mr. Trump’s descent into full diaper despotism. He has also promised to be defiant up until Jan. 20 and beyond. There are reports that he will announce his phony 2024 presidential run on Inauguration Day to deflect the spotlight from Mr. Biden.

Consequently, I hope Mr. Biden reconsiders his invitation to Mr. Trump to attend his inauguration when he knows the outgoing president would disrupt the administration of the oath of office if he could. If nothing else, Mr. Trump has shown that he’s capable of doing the previously unimaginable for a cheap headline.

On a side note, the traitorous politicians who tried to disenfranchise millions of American voters should at least lose sleep over whether they’ll be seated in the upcoming Congress in January. They committed sedition. They aided a blatant coup attempt that may blossom into a secession effort if the idiots who marched in Washington on Saturday are any indication.

But even as the American death toll from COVID-19 officially passes 300,000, Mr. Trump remains fixated on a second term that won’t materialize. If you’re Mr. Trump, it helps to be shameless and unburdened by the weight of conscience, common sense or concerns about the judgment of history.

It also helps to be the head of a political party committed to ignoring the clear verdict of the American people in the name of short-term power. The Republicans who are assisting Mr. Trump in this attempt to steal our democracy should all be held accountable — if not by their own voters, then by the rest of us. That’s why we should remember the names of every traitor who played a role in the (so far) failed American Coup of 2020.

Tony Norman: tnorman@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1631. Twitter @Tony_NormanPG.

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