There are clearly no winners when it comes to the January 6th Capitol attack, but who lost the most? The answer is obvious: Officer Sicknick, who was killed, and the other officers who were physically or psychologically assaulted in the attack. But if we limit our focus just to the politics, who came out as the bigger loser? The answer continues to be Donald Trump.
We were reminded of this today when Facebook took Trump’s six month ban and extended it to two years. When the six month ban was first announced, I wrote that Facebook was merely kicking the can down the road, and that at a later date the ban would be extended further. Sure enough, that’s what has happened. Two years from now Facebook will extend it even further. Facebook doesn’t seem to want to use the phrase “permanent ban” but it’s clear that’s what’s happening.
This means that Donald Trump really has permanently lost his voice on Facebook and Twitter. That’s a big deal, given the negative impact that his lack of access to social media has had on him thus far in 2021. Trump has already become so irrelevant to the political discourse that his inability to promote his blog on social media left him with so few readers that he had to shut it down. But the negative impact on Trump runs much deeper.
The Capitol attack finally allowed voters in the middle to see that Trump and his base were precisely as deranged and violent as Trump’s detractors had long insisted. It’s why Trump’s favorability rating has since fallen far too low to make him viable for any future presidential race. It’s why roughly half the attendees at CPAC 2021 – a conference that was specifically set up as a Trump worship session this year – ended up saying that they want someone other than Trump to be the Republican presidential nominee in 2024.
The Capitol attack also gave cover to New York prosecutors when they decided to empanel a grand jury two weeks ago to criminally indict Trump. Even though the charges he’s facing in New York have nothing to do with January 6th, Trump’s incitement of that violent coup has made it a heck of a lot easier for New York prosecutors to sell the general public on the idea of indicting and imprisoning a former President. This is even before getting to the question of whether the Feds will end up indicting Trump specifically for inciting the attack.
So while there were a whole lot of losers on January 6th, the biggest loser in the political realm continues to be Donald Trump. The Capitol attack silenced him and made him the least relevant he’s been in years. It took the legs out from whatever long shot chance he might have had in 2024. And it helped cement the path to prison that he was already on once he lost the election. Trump was always going to self destruct; his incitement of the Capitol attack just made it official.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report