“The United States Senate has a higher calling than an endless spiral of partisan vengeance,” Mitch McConnell said, defying Donald Trump just a half hour after Mike Pence issued a rebuke of his own.

“I believe protecting our constitutional order requires recognizing the limits of our own power,” McConnell went on to tell his colleagues, some of whom decided to lodge futile objections to the certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College win, despite having no credible evidence to support allegations of widespread voter fraud.

Last month, McConnell attempted to convince Senate GOPers not to join House Republicans in a quixotic endeavor that was doomed by math to fail. And yet, last week, Ted Cruz announced he’d lead a group of 12 Senators in objection.

Read more: The Founders Didn’t Want This, Mike Pence Says, Rebuking Trump In Final Days

With Josh Hawley having set the stage, Republicans unwilling to incur Trump’s wrath were compelled to go along for the ride, despite knowing the road was a dead end.

McConnell, speaking on a day when he was poised to lose the Senate following the Georgia runoffs, said Congress cannot disenfranchise American citizens.

Overruling voters, as Trump asked the GOP and Mike Pence to do, would “damage the republic forever,” McConnell said, adding that contrary to the narrative pushed by many in his own party, there was “no massive election fraud.” The election wasn’t stolen from Trump, he emphasized.

Driving the point home, McConnell, chief antagonist to so many Democratic voters, said this: “I will vote to respect our people’s decision and defend our system of government as we know it.”

And just like that, Trump was rebuffed by Pence and McConnell in the space of just an hour.

As protesters waving Trump flags marched on the Capitol, spurred on by the man himself and riled up by Alex Jones, who was on the scene, lawmakers were evacuated for their own safety.

The Secret Service was deployed. The Capitol was locked down. At least one person was shot and killed.

The Trump faithful in Wednesday’s melee were branded “criminals” and “insurrectionists” by members of both parties, just as the African Americans who destroyed property over the summer during racial justice protests were deemed “thugs” and “looters.”

But watching the spectacle, one was reminded that, for the most part, the president’s supporters are victims.

Victims of their own gullibility, sure. But also victims of an economic system that failed them. And continues to fail them.

Victims of an education system that failed them. And continues to fail them.

Victims of a healthcare system that failed them. And continues to fail them.

And victims of a government that failed them. And continues to fail them.

But beyond that, Trump’s supporters are victims of a fraudulent narrative sold to them by a man who spent his entire adult life peddling empty packages wrapped in gilded promises he never intended to keep.

The people protesting in D.C. on Wednesday were victims of a man whose business career was a case study in failure, resurrected, ironically, by a television show premised on a fabricated history of success.

In a video posted to Twitter before he was banned for 12 hours, pending a possible permanent suspension, Trump told his supporters he “loved” them.

In the end, Trump delivered on virtually none of his promises. No different from the way he ran his businesses.

His administration ends with the worst economic collapse in the nation’s modern history. It ends with mass disease. It ends with nearly 400,000 Americans dead to a pandemic. It ends with millions jobless, and millions more starving. His administration ends in tragedy.

America is isolated from its allies, mocked by friends and foes alike, and fractured along racial, religious, and economic lines, with no clear path back.

Not everything bad that happened to America over the past four years was Trump’s fault. And the blame for the conditions that brought him to power lies elsewhere.

But he leaves the country in immeasurably worse shape than when he entered the White House.

Like the human and economic toll inflicted by the pandemic, some of that damage is structural. It will never be undone.

On Wednesday afternoon, Trump’s supporters — his victims — breached the Capitol and broke into the Senate Chamber.

According to a Hill pool report, they roamed the halls screaming “Where are they?”


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25 thoughts on “Victims

    1. Yeah it might.

      Also, the police need to clear these “protestors” off immediately before this becomes a rallying location for extremists.

    2. If so, then 1812 to 2020 won’t have been a bad run.

      If any appreciable part of it burns, let’s hope the EO on gaudy neo-baroque government architecture is repealed before they commission any architects to redesign the burned bits!

  1. So… they’re victims of their own stupidity?

    Like – I’m obviously with you all the way on the structural causes and issues in our “late stage”/crony capitalist system. And, of course, education and the way rewards are distributed in our system makes it pretty tough to stay middle class if you don’t have at least “some college”.

    But no one forced them to believe Trump. The man is so obviously fake that only people who WANT to believe, with all their might, can be fooled. And no one told those people to be stooges for greedy right wing cheats. They’re doing that all by themselves. They could have been Bernie voters instead.

    At which point, I’m like, I hope you get what you deserve, good and hard.

    1. All due respect, that’s kinda like saying, I’m all with you about how structural racism creates entrenched inequality and poverty, but no one is forced to join a gang, so anyone in a gang gets what they deserve.

      1. You know what? I am tired of us “softies” twisting ourselves like pretzels to make excuses for the MAGA crew. Hillbilly Elegy etc. Not without some reason.

        But I’ve had enough of that nonsense. I stand with fredm421!

        We should have let the south leave the union.

      2. And last I checked, gang members were (harshly) prosecuted and usually given pretty harsh prison sentences.

        It’s always the interplay between social causes and personal responsibility. And, if you throw in lead poisoning when it comes to urban/Black crime, it gets even more complicated.

        I still don’t think this should amount to us forgiving MAGA nutters, especially as a lot of their grievances aren’t all that real i.e. according to data, it’s not the painkiller addict who lost his manufacturing job who is necessarily supporting Trump, it might be his lucky brother who is still making around $100K a year in a trade…

    2. Were many Trump’s followers hobbled by systemic failures?


      But those systemic issues beset all Americans who lack economic security. And correcting those systemic failures is going to be all the harder because Trump’s followers do not believe that the country has failed them, rather they believe that their fellow Americans have (whether they be immigrants, social justice activists, LGBTQ people, ‘socialists’, or whoever else can be cast as being un-American).

      What differentiates Trump supporters from poor Americans who have not joined the MAGA movement and what all of Trump’s “base” have in common whether poor, middle class, or wealthy is a sense of entitlement and superiority born out of bigotry, sectarianism, chauvinism and racism.

      1. Excellent effort, H.

        They may be victims but they don’t seem to have much of a conscience; instead they act like perpetrators. They may be victims yet they don’t seem to accept that life can be humbling, and instead of trying to learn and better oneself as a result, they only get angry and spiteful about it. They seem fixated at an entitled teen like developmental level, unable or unwilling to confront adulthood, specifically that adversities in life are challenges to confront and mature from. They may be victims yet they vote against their own interests, probably because they see people needing and benefitting from a supportive government as weak, and they refuse to accept themselves as weak.

        I too have empathy for them, particularly the ones who can accept being humbled and want help, there is always hope for that. The others I have empathy for, but want then held accountable their actions that impinge upon the safety of others as they’re not at the point where they can accept the humbling higher power of life. Government can only do so much for these folks.

        I agree that the economic system, healthcare system, educational system, and government have failed these folks; of course these people vote Trump and or Republican so that’s unconsciously asking to be neglected and mistreated.

        Despite the above my biggest concern is that they are “victims of a fraudulent narrative sold to them by a man who spent his entire adult life peddling empty packages wrapped in gilded promises he never intended to keep.” In this equation it takes two to tango, and sadly it is preferable for these folks to buy into an alternate reality rather than confronting the one their life is presenting. They prefer to escape into this false reality that is destined to disappoint them.

  2. It is possible to argue the Country as a whole has discharged it’s responsibilities to it’s citizens about on a par with what Trump has done as President…History tells a convoluted tale on this matter .. I have always said Trump is symptomatic of the disease that we are seeing (not Corona )…

  3. Trump taps into an Achille’s heel of the human psyche. Jim Jones did it, Joseph McCarthy did it, Adolf Hitler did it–among others.

  4. As a society we have failed these idiots. Our leaders have allowed entertainers masked as journalists to propagate falsehoods. Our leaders have allowed our education system to go limp. These citizens are victims. Literally brainwashed. It is about control and power by the few over the many.

  5. Some months ago I used the site as a “confessional”. I was in mostly cash, and was not bothered. I was concerned with “other” stuff, but could not place a finger on any one item. Well, after these developments, I know what it is. The loss of way we have suffered as a nation. And as a parent/ grandparent, the sadness I Feel for my family’s future. And the sadness you feel when mourning.

  6. Woo hoo! “Twitter locks trump’s account”. I’ve decided to try and look for positives out of this bit of history that I never wanted to witness, and TWTR has supplied the first. Here’s what’s in my hope chest:

    trump forced off twitter, hopefully forever (2024’s Chief Sanity Officer sends her regards)
    Social media implements a groundbreaking Congressional redefinition of “freedom of speech” to recognize technology’s evolving threat to social stability, with rational new guidelines that scale editorial requirements with measured audience size. (One of my pipe dreams)
    Congress earns our respect (another historic first) by pointedly finishing the electoral count proceedings immediately (in process… yay!)
    Pence shows trump the door tomorrow morning via the 25th
    George Bush agrees to take over as RNC chair and re-engineers the soul of each and every conservative. (Sure – his dad would have been the preferred choice, but the US is running low on statesmen just now)
    trump gives himself a pardon for “inciting insurrection” (this would be deliciously humorous), but we discover that it also turns out to be a violation of local DC public health ordinances, and trump is locked up for it … 😉

    Lo and behold, we could then all return to our fantasy world where counting bips on the 10yr was our most significant source of drama!

  7. Cruz, Hawley, Trump impeached and not to run again.
    Trump has now put himself in a position where he could be convicted for shooting someone on Fifth Ave. He also put himself in a position wherein he may never be able to safely walk any street in America. He carried the grift too far.
    He is a spoiled trust fund kid who feels entitled and has never suffered any consequences for all the many crimes he has committed for decades. Lawyered up at all times. Sue me, his common refrain.
    I saw the Capital over run by entitled white adults who do not believe they did anything wrong.
    Thank god law enforcement did not let it become completely riotous. As far as riots go today was fairly lame.
    There was gunfire and maybe death so maybe we should concider using those firing squads Trump resurrected.

  8. They are victims, as well as victimizers, as well as prideful people trapped in a seductive psychological victimhood complex. Many are also insecure, paranoid, pathetic cowards, the opposite of what they see themselves as. How else can one explain the exponential gun-strapping?

    How else can one understand the ubiquitous use of the confederate flag, even throughout rural areas of northern-southern states like Maine? It’s the opposite of courageous free speech. It’s a total cop-out bait-and-switch. Everyone knows what it means historically: white supremacy, secession, disunion, slavery. They want to have the privilege of a coded language that is “only for them” yet simultaneously thrust in everyone’s faces publicly and take no responsibility for it. They say it’s just about “southern heritage”. Bullshit. I call that cowardice. Why not publicly admit what they believe? Own it. Flash a white power sign. Come “out of the closet”.

    Nazis are free to march in Skokie, but they are referred to properly as “nazis” and bear the consequences of all the connotations that come with that. It’s a big difference from the absurdly charitable ways white supremacists continue to be treated to this very day some 160 years later, and part of the reason this country seems unable to heal from its original sins.

  9. What I see here and heard today is an awakening. Trump may have found the antidote to Trump. If only it can be harnassed for constructive thoughts and not destructive.

  10. To quote Judge Flatt (Nobody;s Fool). You know my feelings about arming morons: you arm one, you’ve got to arm them all, otherwise it wouldn’t be good sport.

  11. I didn’t take the author for an apologist so this article takes me by surprise. Income inequality and governmental failure impacts a large portion of the population. Most chose to pay attention to politicians and vote. Some chose crime to defend an authoritarian.

    You don’t need to be very educated or wealthy to identify a racist demagogue that claims to support you because of your immutable traits like skin color and birth place. The seditionists are fully capable of standing trial in court and in public opinion. They may have been victims by neglect but they chose to be active victimizers to support an active victimizer. Let them get what’s coming to them. No excuses.

    I’ll make it easier for you: imagine the seditionists happened to be mostly Muslim or foreigners. Would you write an apology on their behalf?

  12. Ok. Well, I haven’t read through the whole paper yet. But, the authors of “Deaths of Despair” have a new paper published on PNAS (PNAS March 16, 2021 118 (11) e202477711). Seems odd that this paper is being published here and now considering their book came out in 2020.

    Nonetheless, there could be some surmising included that includes the plague.

    Quite headline grabbing sentence for the “Significance” statement: “Without a 4-y college diploma, it is increasingly difficult to build a meaningful and successful life in the United States.” Jeez. And it goes on. We’ve kind of known this for a while yet the authors are blowing the alarm loud so as to ensure all can hear.

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