It is the 20th here but still a day to go in the USA before Joe Biden is sworn in and the 2020 US Presidential Election manages to be over. Trump’s post-defeat tantrums have only made a bad reputation worse.
Yet that rump of Americans who adore Trump are not yet disenchanted. The wider group of right wingers who share the same antipathies but didn’t attach those feeling to Trump (the Brads & Larrys) are also equally entrenched in their belief that a Democratic presidency marks some kind of end times.
Is there any sign that they have come to terms with Trump’s defeat yet? It is early days but the sure signs of when the right shifts gears is when the rhetoric turns back to how-bad-the-defecit-is and hysterical claims about caravans of refugees at the southern border.
Popular among the right-wing sources I track is the pooh-poohing of the idea that there is any danger of pro-Trump/anti-Democrat violence. This may seem remarkable given this month’s events or indeed just from their rhetoric about “the ammo box” being the only “box” left to them (the line being that the left has stolen the soap box, ballot box and jury box). This dissonant pairing isn’t new — the right have been in denial about far-right violence for years and yet, at the same time, keen to claim that any progressive policies run the danger of pushing the right into armed insurrection.
With the 6 January Capitol riot, you can track the competing narratives from days before the event. The two narratives were expressed as the protests being righteous anger at the “steal” versus violence created by antifascist infiltrators. Immediately prior to 6 Jan, the line was that any violence would be because of “antifa” trying to make the Trump supporters look bad. On the day itself, there were competing claims. On the one hand, people already primed to blame any bad news on antifa and on the other, many on the right genuinely excited by events and hence keen to claim it for the right. Since then, as the attempted coup turned out not to be popular with wider America, the narrative has shifted back to “it’s the left who are the violent ones”.