Anton wrote as if the end of the republic was upon us, and there is no such thing as a scoundrel storming a citadel of American democracy – attacking police, ransacking the place and disrupting a constitutional procedure – to undermine confidence in the stability of our system.
Of course, it was the man Anton believed could be our savior who whipped and exhorted this crowd. The crowd did not load the cockpit metaphorically, but did load the Capitol literally, in the grip of a more extreme and crass version of Anton’s logic and narrative.
Anton, who briefly served as Trump’s official, is obsessed with an upcoming Democratic tyranny or coup. The same goes for President Donald Trump and his more fanatic supporters, who have not contented themselves with writing high-caliber essays on how to resist the coup, or “Stop the Steal.”
No. If the pen is strong, only baseball bats and projectiles can really scare Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi.
Make no mistake: a flight 93 mentality led to the January 6 presidency, now defined not by the good it has accomplished in the past four years, but by a hideous act of extremism in its final days. desperate and spotted with sputum.
In Anton’s defense, he never said he believed Trump knew how to fly a plane. In the future, when he hires someone to fly the most advanced airliner on the planet, he may want to add that to the job description and check a few references.
Anton wrote in the Flight 93 essay that “it is only in a corrupt republic, in corrupt time, that a Trump could rise.”
Rather than conclude that this spoke badly about Trump, he made it some kind of virtue. Anton looked down on anyone who focused on Trump’s character flaws. “Yes, Trump is worse than imperfect,” he wrote. “So what?”
So what, indeed.
Trump’s staunchest supporters have spent years justifying everything Trump does because he’s supposed to win while other Republicans are desperate losers. Anton mocked conservative writers and politicians opposed to Trump in 2016 as Washington generals, on the ground simply to provide unfortunate opposition.
With time, it becomes clear how misguided this Trumpist triumphalism was.
Trump won a resounding victory in 2016, with just 46.1% of the vote. Not surprisingly, he lost the House in a mid-term beating of 2018. He failed in his bid for re-election, this time with a slight 46.9 percent increase in the vote (although still less than Mitt Romney in 2012). He then proceeded to concoct conspiracy theories as to why he lost and goes after Republican office holders in Georgia, contributing to unnecessary Republican losses in two Senate second-round races and ending the majority of the GOP Senate. Trump thus ended a trio of defeats, destroying all Republican control in Washington.
Meanwhile, nearly every cultural institution has taken a step to the left, in part in reaction to Trump.
He turned out to be a politician of considerable power, no doubt, but his support was too small to get all of the gains his boosters expected of him.
He also unquestionably did worthy things in power. Yet it is not apocalypse-type victories that save America, as one would expect from Anton’s hysterical plea. Instead, they were the kind of solid achievements one would expect from a standard Republican with a populist bent – in other words, tax cuts with a few tariffs and new immigration restrictions.
Ultimately, however, Trump rejected his presidency, in large part because of the character flaws Anton dismissed or valued.
It is dark and amusing that in his essay on Flight 93, Anton gleefully attacked his conservative foes as only caring about their careers and money, while joining a rank egotist who fetishizes his wealth and status. , who doesn’t care enough about his supporters or his own political cause to work a little harder on power or moderate his behavior slightly, which has led his most committed supporters into a canyon of lies and conspiracy theories after the elections because he couldn’t bear to admit that he had lost.
Tens of millions of good people made the simple calculation in 2016 that Trump, despite his failures, would be better than Hillary Clinton, and thought the same about Trump and Joe Biden in 2020.
If that was all Anton had argued in his essay, it wouldn’t have been particularly remarkable. What made his essay so invigorating was an undercurrent of nihilism, the feeling that character and standards don’t matter, not when all is almost lost and we are engaged in an existential struggle for power.
Trump acted on an exaggerated version of this ethic in the post-election period, rejecting the truth and the law in search of a second term he is not entitled to.
We have seen that this path is not adapted to save the republic, but to tear it up and embarrass it in front of the world. This cannot and should not work, and produced an immediate reaction and a second indictment.
It’s not really a fight. It is to give up.