In 2008, I began voting in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, a Republican stronghold in the heart of the deeply Republican “T” in the commonwealth. That same year, I also had the chance to observe Republican election officials at work in a more deeply Republican Huntington County, Pennsylvania, during the presidential primary and election of Barack Obama.
In every interaction, I was impressed by the dedication of dozens of officials and volunteers. They fulfilled their duties with good humor when Republican candidates were winning and a grim determination to do their duty when Democratic candidates were winning. In every instance, I observed them proudly fulfilling a sacred duty to conduct free and fair elections.
Three times since the November election, I have observed in person crowds that have descended upon Washington DC in support of President Voldemort. And then today the Trump mob stormed the Capitol as Congress was in the process of certifying the Electoral College vote. As the District locks down under a 6:00 PM curfew, I want to share some observations.
Many of the Trump mob are simply delusional, living in the world of “alternative facts” and actual fake news, where the professionalism and dedication of Republican and Democratic election officials and volunteers in 50 states is never highlighted. Rather, if you listen to conversations in the mob, they repeat a certainty that the election was stolen. In the early demonstrations, they expressed confidence that President Voldemort would be inaugurated for a second term. They pounded down the Kool-Aid. I am serious.
A minority – though a distinct minority – of the Trump mob believes that the god to whom they pray somehow has a vested interest in the outcome of a political contest in a single country on one planet in a vast universe. They pray and chant, believing that their god will intervene to somehow to reverse the course of the election. I am serious.
It was clear to me that the Trump mob is not politically engaged. I believe they have little or no idea how elections work or how government works. All they know is that their candidate lost, which is not supposed to happen. They probably do not vote regularly because regular voters know and experience disappointment, whether in 2008 or 2016.
With the storming of the Capitol, I think we can also disabuse ourselves of the notion that supporters of President Voldemort represent any kind of “law and order” movement. They only believe in law and order when it’s to their benefit.
We also witnessed one of the most extraordinary demonstrations of white privilege this country has ever seen. If the Trump mob had been Black Lives Matter protesters, the Capitol grounds would have been littered with bodies. I dare you to debate me on this point.
The events of today should convince organizers of the presidential inauguration that the Trump mob will return to the nation’s capital on January 20 to wreak havoc. I shudder to think how much the mob was emboldened by their actions today and how little resistance they faced from law enforcement.
I have to believe that the Republican elections officials I observed in Pennsylvania have to be a little embarrassed by the actions of the Trump mob.
CODA: Like many observers, I was shocked that Capitol Police apparently made little effort to deny entry to the Capitol to the mob. I expect firings and demotions.