Recent events have confirmed my assessment that Donald Trump is dangerous because he is erratic but not so dangerous because he is ineffectual. He talks a lot (a lot!), but he doesn’t do much. He doesn’t follow through. He has been far more focused on tweeting on Twitter than on issuing orders to the administrators under his nominal command.
Donald Trump received more than 74 million votes in 2020 (Joe Biden received over 81 million), but the vast majority of Republican voters refused to follow him in denying his election loss. As commander-in-chief, Trump could have ordered the American military to stage a coup, but he did not even attempt this, and there is no evidence that the armed forces would have obeyed if he had. The judges he had appointed refused to overturn the election. Republican politicians, including Vice-President Mike Pence, senators, and congressmen, abandoned him. The governors and administrators in Republican states refused to change election counts for him.
In the end, Trump’s incendiary words incited a mob of a few hundred people to storm the Capitol building. But they had no organization, no plan, and no significant weaponry. They caused some damage but only succeeded in discrediting Trump and his followers. Hitler’s brownshirts would have been much more ruthless and effective. They would have seized and kept control of government buildings. They would have intimidated judges, election officials, and politicians, and would have killed those they could not intimidate.
In the end, Donald Trump will be remembered as an erratic and bombastic president whose boasting and clumsy efforts at propaganda were undermined by incompetence and an inability to follow through. Americans should be grateful he did not do more damage.