How big is Trump’s army?

Newspaper stories, TV and online sources have had little on the size of the mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6th or the crowd outside and what there is seems wildly varied and unreliable. A recent AP story on inauguration security says “.. thousands of supporters of President Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol…” I heard the same thing on MSNBC. Surely those figures are exaggerated and alarmist, making it sound like thousands will be available to do mischief on Inauguration Day.

I’m no expert on estimating crowds but   I would say “few hundred” at the most. Even counting those who hung out on the steps, it didn’t look like 1000s. One estimator purporting to be something of an expert said that 20-30 000 “participated,” whatever that means. One estimate said “scores” entered the building.

Of those gathered in front of the Capitol how many were genuine protesters with no intention of breaking the law? How many were onlookers, the simply curious?

Then there’s the question of the potential size of the most hardcore of Trump’s supporters. Somewhere on TV, perhaps MSNBC, I heard the estimate that of the 70 million who voted for Trump about 20% could be counted on to fight for him. The implication being that he has a potenial army of some sort of 15 million people! I wonder if there’s anything in that at all. There are a lot of guns out there.

Is that the situation: that many willing to take up arms , that many who would also have stormed the Capitol? Or is it more like a few hundred or maybe in low thousands of “extremists”– strangely dressed, unhinged people like some of those seen with Auschwitz t- shirts or horns, with so little to lose that they’ll do anything–dangerous but just a marginal “fringe”? How much danger is there of genuine civil war over election results or BLM or now the second impeachment of their hero?

How much danger will tkhe inakuguration be in next week? Can the police and other security forces be trusted when their heads are Trump appointees? (Was that what happened on the 6th:: the failure to protect ordered by Trump?)

Of Trump;s almost half the vote, 70 million, how many would take up arms? (It’s come to this?) Someone estimated 20 %, 15 million. Really? How many were at the jan 6 event? Of those how many went in or tried to go in and how many were only protesters or onlookers? Not seeing any figures. AP story today on inauguration security says

Oak Bluffs man: ‘Mostly peaceful people outside the Capitol’(MV Times) another es of 20-30 000 “partdicipated”, whastever that means. Or was it scores inside.?


Cape Trump enablers bear responsibility

What a thing: the president himself, turned instigator-in-chief, siccing a mob on the nation’s capitol. Running real time on TV. As coup d’etats go it was pretty pathetic and ragtag. more notable for the inadequacy of the police who allowed it than for what it was. Reporters and the besieged lawmakers of both parties called […]


Cross-country road trip a source of comfort in a divided nation

In the Deming, New Mexico, La Quinta motel on I -10 the friendly young woman behind the main desk was named Paris. When my wife asked her whether she had ever been to Paris, she replied that actually, she had. “And it smelled like pee.” Try to figure out the politics of that. In early […]


How do Trump supporters read the traditional Christmas stories?

During the holiday season in a typical presidential election year we are, those of both parties, getting used to the idea of a new presidency, of being, if grudgingly, united in the acceptance of the person we’ve democratically elected to head the country for the next four years. This year,of course, it’s the opposite. The […]


Common ground and the self-evident truths of democracy

“We are not enemies, we are Americans.” In president-elect Biden’s passionate plea for healing he suggests that simply being Americans should be the common ground on which we can all come together. But given the circumstances, we Americans being so harshly divided on so many things, perhaps we could get a little less vague. In […]


The ironies of an Outer Cape Thanksgiving

Let us give thanks that in this difficult year of 2020, 400 years after European arrival on this peninsula, more of us than ever before, or so it seems, are inclined to be thoughtful about the ironies of that arrival and this very contradictory holiday. Which is the real Thanksgiving story: stalwart Europeans celebrating their […]


ELECTION REVEALS THE SORT OF COUNTRY WE ARE

Four and a half million votes is a substantial margin of victory. And yet it is also true to say that if over half the country is feeling great relief, roughly half the country not so much. If it had been a landslide it would have been easier to believe that the last four years […]


SHORT TAKES On Our Current Situation

1/WHO GETS TO REPORT THE ELECTION RESULTS? Was there an actual difference in the network announcements (including Fox News) of Biden’s victory? Or was it just context that made me hear them differently, an awareness that for the first time this standard announcement was being made in the era of “fake news”? Trump has declared […]


MAGA versus voting the way forward

Nostalgia is a powerful emotion and MAGA—MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN– has been a powerful weapon for Trump and his forces. But of course it doesn’t hold up under more than two seconds’ scrutiny. Just when was that great America we want to go back to? That great period energized, for some anyway, by the pursuit […]


Expanding the Euro-centric “We”

“We” is changing. No, the grammar of that isn’t incorrect. What I mean is that the content of that pronoun –as in “we the people”– is changing. And this election is very much about that change. Columbus Day is still on the calendar. Most of us seem OK about the gift of an extra day […]