What if Pence did as he was told? A plan dusted off from 1877 may have only been the start…


In retrospect, the election of 1876 was quite consequential because while Samuel Tilden, the Democratic candidate, won a majority of the popular vote and held a 20 elector lead in the Electoral College vote, Rutherford B. Hayes, the Republican, snatched victory from the mouth of defeat in the most contested election in our history — -until Biden-Trump. The political back dealing that installed Hayes despite Tilden’s leads in both the popular and Electoral College votes was a bit more sophisticated than the insurrection ginned up by the MAGA coup leaders. Here’s britannica.com ‘s summary of the election:

A failure of imagination

Just as elections have consequences, unintended consequences have their own unique backlash. Unarguably, the Trump-attempted coup would have been the worst-case scenario for America. It would usher in a period, far worse than the era following the Civil War and Reconstruction. Thankfully, the plot weaved by the planners was doomed due to a lack of imagination-it was almost entirely derivative relying on a series of Rube Goldberg-type eventualities. Pence would have to comply. The Democrats would have to be even more ineffective than they at times seem. The Courts and other governmental bodies would have to play dead. In short, it was a longshot — -unless, of course, the plan all along was to take over the government by force. In that case, the plot has another iteration, an unfulfilled Plan B.

Who leads…Who follow

A post-January 6, 2021 corollary to what would have happened if the South won the Civil War, would have asked the same about the insurrection. The result, I fear, would have been exponentially worse because it would have had worldwide implications. While the Trump-Hitler analogy is often oversimplified, I believe it fair to imply a successful coup could have led to a large-scale effort by authoritarian powers to take over democracies weakened by the loss of an anchor democracy like the United States. All the historical signposts of the dissolution of empires are pretty much upon us. The rank racism and bigotry, the unbridled quest for power over people, the primordial hatreds that are used to justify land-grabs and pogroms were evident on January 6. The muddled aspirations of the useful idiots who stormed the Capitol with the flimsiest of excuses (the steal, the flag, my rights, pedophilia) were tinged with self-righteousness to help absolve consciences of those whose scruples needed easing. That all this could coalesce around such an inept and mentally crazed leader is a reminder that followers and leaders are sometimes mistaken for the other. We must ask: what came first, Trumpism or the angry mobs? Whose hatreds inspired a holocaust, Hitler’s or the angst-ridden German people? Each scenario required scapegoats to reanimate primal hatreds and prejudices. They each found jaded hucksters to follow their lead.



Former president of the International Association of Laboratory Schools (IALS) and a founder of a charter school based on MI theory.

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