It’s been remarkable to see how much of former President Donald Trump’s energy in 2020 was spent bullying his fellow Republicans. From his vice president to state-level officials, Trump was fixated on convincing his supposed allies to abandon their principles and deliver him a victory against Joe Biden.
There was no shortage of people telling Trump that his fantasies of victory were both impossible and illegal.
We saw most of this play out in real-time in that weird, unsettling period following Election Day. But the Jan. 6 committee’s hearing on Tuesday showed that neither side truly won in the battle of wills Trump waged against Republican governors, state legislators, and secretaries of state.
On the surface, the committee’s evidence showed a clear loss for Trump and his cohort. Not one of the state legislatures he targeted caved under his pressure and reversed the will of their voters. Not a single one of the “fake electors” his campaign organized was officially certified.
Only a handful of die-hard supporters even entertained the notion that they held the power to deny Biden’s victory and leave Trump in the White House.
There was in fact no shortage of people telling Trump that his fantasies of victory were both impossible and illegal. And yet, as the committee has shown, nobody ever gained any ground against the conspiracy theories Trump latched onto as his reality. Instead, Trump chose to keep pushing and pushing, burying mistrust and hatred in the hearts of his supporters. His lies took root there — and on Jan. 6, 2021, they bore bitter fruit.