[Note for TomDispatch Readers: Just a small tip. Historian Alfred McCoy’s remarkable new Dispatch book, To Govern the Globe: World Orders and Catastrophic Change, which takes you dramatically through imperial history on this planet from the sixteenth century well into this one, is due out in mid-November. But pre-order yourself a copy now. Given our world of supply-chain screw-ups and the like, there’s no such thing as being too cautious. Of the book, Andrew Bacevich writes, “To Govern the Globe is history on an epic scale — sweeping, provocative, and unsparing in its judgments. Alfred McCoy’s immensely readable narrative spans centuries, charting the rise and fall of successive world orders down to our own present moment shaped by China’s emergence as a great power and the blight of climate change.” Still, if you want a signed, personalized copy in return for a donation to this website, wait for McCoy’s next piece at TD in November and you’ll be able to get just that. Tom]
Don’t imagine that anything truly began at the Capitol on January 6th. Admittedly, as TomDispatch regular Alfred McCoy, author of the upcoming imperial history To Govern the Globe: World Orders and Catastrophic Change, suggests, a coup attempt was indeed launched for the first time in this country (rather than in all the lands where the U.S. had been involved in similar planning and organizing since the 1950s). Still, if you focus on January 6th alone, it’s all too easy to forget that Donald Trump ran for president already focused on turning the American system upside down.
As another TomDispatch regular, Karen Greenberg, describes vividly in her new book, Subtle Tools: The Dismantling of American Democracy from the War on Terror to Donald Trump, Trump began casting doubt on the American electoral system as early as May 2016. Near the beginning of his Tweetarama then, he insisted: “There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-in Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mailboxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed.” By that summer, he was predicting nothing less than that the 2016 vote would be “the most INACCURATE AND FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote??”
Gaining the presidency despite losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton, he similarly claimed that the election had been rigged against him, insisting that there had been “serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California.” As he put it all too bluntly, “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”
So it went and so, in fact, it continues to go, or as he insisted recently, “If we don’t solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020 (which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented), Republicans will not be voting in ’22 or ’24.” So, give Donald Trump credit. When it comes to the American democratic system, the world’s least consistent human being has been a blindingly consistent potential coupster — and sadly, from here, if the Republicans take Congress in 2022, it can only get worse (and worse and WORSE!!). Let McCoy fill you in on what’s now become the most all-American never-ending coup attempt imaginable. Tom
A Recurring Nightmare?
As an eyewitness, I can recall the events of January 6th in Washington as if they were yesterday. The crowds of angry loyalists storming the building while overwhelmed security guards gave way. The slavishly loyal vice-president who would, the president hoped, restore him to power. The crush of media that seemed confused, almost overwhelmed, by the crowd’s fury. The waiter who announced that the bar had run out of drinks and would soon be closing…
Hold it! My old memory's playing tricks on me again. That wasn’t the U.S. Capitol in January 2021. That was the Manila Hotel in the Philippines in July 1986. Still, the two events had enough similarities that perhaps I could be forgiven for mixing them up.Read More