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The Devil Goes Back to Georgia

The low-T coup attempt marches on.
January 5, 2021
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US President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in support of Republican incumbent senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue ahead of Senate runoff in Dalton, Georgia on January 4, 2021. - President Donald Trump, still seeking ways to reverse his election defeat, and President-elect Joe Biden converge on Georgia on Monday for dueling rallies on the eve of runoff votes that will decide control of the US Senate. Trump, a day after the release of a bombshell recording in which he pressures Georgia officials to overturn his November 3 election loss in the southern state, is to hold a rally in the northwest city of Dalton in support of Republican incumbent senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. (Photo by SANDY HUFFAKER / AFP) (Photo by SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP via Getty Images)

Last night the president of the United States held a rally during which he called on the vice president to refuse to certify the election results in order to keep himself in power against the will of the people.

President Trump held this reckless event against his own government’s health guidelines and without acknowledging the contagion that on his watch has ravaged the country. You would never know from listening to him that the pandemic just had its deadliest week so far. He long ago gave up even the pretense of attempting to ameliorate the loss of life.

But other than that Mrs. Lincoln. . .

It is important to state clearly what it is happening during this extraordinary interregnum, given that our senses have been dulled by the president’s bat-guano avalanche and the legacy media’s inability to properly contextualize this comically inept yet historically unprecedented antidemocratic project.

It’s honestly hard to blame them. This is not what a coup is supposed to look like.

And the ringleader is a man who at times tonight seemed barely capable of comprehending the illicit words that were on the teleprompter a few feet from his face, which does not not exactly inspire confidence in his ability to successfully execute a coup.

Trump’s rambling, incoherent performance was marked by what seemed to be a case of TDS—Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome—so bad that it caused even the maskless cult members who packed into the Dalton, Georgia event site to become bored by the show.

But Trump’s unintelligibility and TDS do not take away from the gravity of the undertaking. The rally was ostensibly in support of Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue’s Senate run-off campaigns, but in reality it was an opportunity for the president to ensure that said senators—and any others who dare cross him, like Mike Lee, whom he name-checked more than once—see that their only path forward is by participating in his effort to overturn the election.

Luckily for Loeffler, this fact was not lost on her. She recognizes that her entire political program is in service to the whims of this man and the crowd that gathered before them, thus she opened her own remarks with a paean to his attempt to seize power.

“I have an announcement, Georgia. On January 6, I will object to the Electoral College vote,” she said to raucous cheers. “That’s right. We’re gonna get this done!”

(“This” in that sentence is, again, to be clear, the coup. “We’re gonna get [the coup] done” is what she was saying there, in case there is any question for those heading to the ballot box on Tuesday about where she stands on maintaining American democracy.)

The crowd rewarded Loeffler with a chant—it apparently was “Stop the Steal,” but it sounded like “Plot the Steal,” which makes much more sense in context.

Trump went on to lavish praise upon Marjorie Taylor Greene, the newly minted QAnon It Girl in Congress.

The Republicans who are like Brian Kemp—that is, those who do not have Loeffler’s chameleon-like ability to morph into whatever the MAGA masses want—did not fare as well during the speech. Trump used the opportunity to bully them and send a message to anyone else who might cross him.

“I’m going to be here in a year and a half and I’m going to be campaigning against your governor and your crazy secretary of state,” Trump said.

Because that’s what this was all about. Despite the timing and despite the lip service to Loeffler and Perdue, it wasn’t an effort to campaign for Senate races that Trump couldn’t care less about.

It was a president taking one last opportunity to get on a hickory stump and to bully all of those who have submitted to him. To ensure that they go with him the last, hopeless mile. To guarantee that their obituaries will start with their willingness to attempt to end the American democratic experiment in service to this devilish buffoon who knows that he’s been beat but wants to bring the rest of us down with him.

Tim Miller

Tim Miller is The Bulwark’s writer-at-large. He was previously political director for Republican Voters Against Trump, communications director for Jeb Bush 2016, and spokesman for the Republican National Committee.