No B.S Friday: What really happened in America… (I reckon)
So Trump’s downfall was as fascinating as his rise. I’m going to show what the death blow actually was, and why it was so easy to march a mob into the American capital.
Oh, but yeah. This is the first blog of the year, so I guess I should start with something to mark that.
So, have a great year everyone. Believe in yourself. Pull the finger out. Make the most of the opportunities etc.
I’ll come back to that Friday, but I wanted to jump in to this because if I’m honest, I’m not thinking about anything else right now. It’s just fascinating.
Ok, so this story starts with a puzzle: why was a rag-tag mob of protestors able to waltz right into the parliament of the most powerful nation on earth?
How does that happen? There is literally a military unit devoted to keeping the congress safe? They didn’t anticipate that they’re might be trouble at a protest that has been telegraphed for weeks?
No. It doesn’t add up.
Business Insider says that this is proof that it was an actual coup attempt. They quote someone in charge of similar operations in Europe who said, “We train alongside the US federal law enforcement to handle these very matters, and it’s obvious that large parts of any successful plan were just ignored.”
Right? To me, it’s just not tenable that it should ever have been that easy.
So, was Trump actually trying to execute a coup?
I don’t believe that for a minute.
First, you don’t try and seize the reins of power by marching an unruly mob into parliament. That’s just not how the game works and Trump would have known that.
Second, if marching a mob into parliament actually was part of the play book, where was the follow up act? In particular, where was the tightly-managed media strategy that Trump has become famous for?
No, it was clear that Trump had nothing. He was surprised as anyone.
And to me, it looks like Trump got played.
Like a boss.
I reckon Trump expected the protestors to simply get turned back at the gates – like every other sane person on the planet.
And to me, I don’t think the coup was ever Trump’s end game. I don’t even think he’s serious about hanging on to power.
Look at it through a business lens. He was positioning his brand and cultivating his followership. That’s why he had to fight the idea that he ‘lost’ the election.
If you ‘lose’ the election, then it’s off to retirement you go. However, if the election is stolen from you, then you become the ‘king in exile’, and the only choice for nomination in four year’s time.
And so that’s what Trump’s game has been. Build up the stolen election narrative to hang on to his relevance.
And it was working. It was working well.
But then Trump became responsible for marching a mob on parliament – the ‘coup’, the ‘riot’, the ‘insurrection’ or whatever the media latched on to.
Once that happened. The optics became terrible.
Remember, Trump is an optics-driven strategist. I know first-hand. It’s something that happens to you when you manage a marketing department. You become focused on the optics.
And remember during the Black Lives Matter protest where he posed outside of a church waving a bible?
Incredible optics. To his fearful Christian conservative base, it was a signature moment. In the midst of chaos, he was to be an anchor of faith.
But then this happened:
Yup, that’s a bare-chested figure with horns sitting on the throne, flexing his biceps.
(For the record, that’s a self-declared ‘hyper-dimensional being’ called the Q-shaman. Yep. “Shaman.”)
This was now Trump’s America. He was not the hero defending the little old church under siege. He was the one ushering the barbarians and the hordes of darkness in through the gates. And they looked like this:
You’ve seen the photos.
Fearful America was not happy.
Trump tried to put some distance between himself and the scene that night, but it was way too late. Like, they’re literally wearing your hat with your name on it. How much distance could you ever possibly get?
And so I think this is the end of Trump. His base won’t desert him, but for moderate Republicans he’ll be remembered as the dickhead-in-chief who almost led a pack of dickheads (optically speaking) over the wall of American democracy.
And I’ve got to think it’s an inside job. I’ve got to think that there was someone on the inside who undermined the defences of Congress enough to let that mob in – who knew that once they were in, they were unruly and ugly enough to create some terrible visuals.
Just leave the cameras rolling.
And this is why it’s such a boss move. It hit Trump where it hurt. Right in the optics.
For four years, Trump has dominated this side of the game.
But this week, he got his MAGA hat handed to him.
Wow. I hope the rest of 2021 is going to be as fascinating as the first six days.