As March 4th Coup Proves to Be a Failure, Questions Remain

It was considered a credible threat that was enough for security to step up their presence. The results were another uneventful March 4th.

Yesterday, we reported on the warnings made by officials that March 4 is being circled by Trump supporters as the day they would storm the Capitol buildings. The worry is that this would be a second terrorist attack similar to the attack seen on January 6th. As we noted during the article, the latest threat comes just over half a month after Parler came back online. Whether that is a coincidence or not, we can only speculate at this point.

Obviously, emotions are still a little raw after the previous right wing terror attack on the US. There are still investigations that are ongoing as to what happened, who helped orchestrate it, who is still at large, and what events led to the security breakdown on that day. So, it is little surprised that when right wing extremists begin circling a date on a calendar for their next terrorist attack, it’s going to get attention.

Of course, March 4th came and went without anything of significant of note. CTV noted as much during their report:

Despite whispers of another attack on the U.S. Capitol perpetuated by QAnon believers and right-wing militias, no threat materialized on March 4, an auspicious day for certain sects of the conspiracy movement.

Shortly after the last terrorist attack, the extremists quickly tried to blame Antifa, a fictional group that is supposedly an answer to their extremist views. This time around, deflecting responsibility is just the standard response. This time, they tried to dust their hands of this failure by calling the whole thing a “false flag” operation (right wing lingo that could be interpreted as “I didn’t do it” in the voice of Bart Simpson in this case):

Several QAnon influencers, on platforms like Gab, Telegram and Parler, insisted that March 4 would be a “false flag” operation, a ruse to draw out Trump supporters to the Capitol only to pin blame on them for any violence that ensued.

Probably the good news in all of this is that a second terrorist attack didn’t materialize that day. People didn’t die, police officers didn’t get injured, and vandalism didn’t take place. There might have been some overtime payed for security officials to watch empty streets as a result, but if overtime is being paid in that case, it worked out for the guards at least.

So, the question is, how should one interpret this failed coup? That really depends on your level of cynicism. If you are more optimistic, then this failure is a sign that the terrorism movement might be abating. Indeed, there are aspects one can cite.

For one, a number of people who joined the militia’s before the January 6th terrorist attack had the firm belief of “back the blue” (meaning they believe they are on the side of the law and law enforcement). During the insurrection, footage came out showing police officers getting crushed in doors, injuries were reported on the side of police, and there was even at least one fatality. These factors played a role in getting some people to step back and finally ask the question of “what have we become?” For the few that recognized that it was their sides actions that caused it, some went all the way and announced that they are leaving the movement.

Others, of course, tried to push the lie that it wasn’t them that did it. It was all a big ruse by fake Trump supporters and Antifa that made them march onto the Capitol buildings, made them steal lecterns, made them vandalize the property, and made them leave threats behind. So, as a result, some are trying to distance themselves from their own actions by saying that all of this was the work of someone else and deny that they had any involvement. This in spite of the overwhelming evidence that the people that were storming the buildings were groups associated with the Trump movement (i.e. neo-nazis, anti-vaxxers, etc.).

If anything, the events of January 6th made a huge crack amongst Trump supporters. There are plenty who will proudly say that they were there and that they’d do it all over again if they could while others realize that they went too far and will try and say or do anything to get out of it. At any rate, a divided movement is almost certainly going to hamper momentum for a common cause.

So, going along those lines of thoughts, it could be a sign that the movement is finally waning. At best, you might see a small group of people inspired enough to come out and wave Trump flags, but nothing that will even have the power to overwhelm security at the Capitol buildings. So, maybe the extremism might actually dissipate.

On the more cynical side of things, the failed coup might mean that the movement is only still getting organized. After all, during the time that Parler was down, we weren’t aware of an attempt to start another terrorism uprising. Just a little over 15 days after Parler came back online, we see our first credible threat. It could mean that, for organizers, they are testing the waters to see who is still hardened enough to carry out another attack.

That short of a time table isn’t that much to organize something at the scale seen on January 6th. It could really be a dry run for future attack plots on the United States. Give them more time and they might be able to organize enough to actually perform another terrorist attack for real at a future time.

What’s more is that twice impeached former president, Donald Trump, is seemingly gearing up for another election run in 2024. So Trump isn’t exactly out of the picture in all of this either. So, that can be a part of a line of reasoning to say that there is still the potential threat out there still despite the failed coup this time around.

So, there is a whole range of ways you can look at it. You can look at this from an optimistic side of things and say, “Hey, maybe that vile movement is finally lost so much power that they are no loner a threat to this country.” If you are pessimistic, you can very easily say, “We got lucky this time, but there’s no telling if it won’t happen again in the future. For all we know, they are just getting started now that they have their online tools back.”

In all, both lines of thinking have merit. It’s annoying to say that no position is really wrong in the lines of thinking. We can only hope that the optimistic side of things wins out here because that would be yet another sign of things returning to normal. It’s unfortunate that we can’t really say that the pessimistic angle is something to doubt.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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