Voters Elected the Jan. 6 Donald Trump

A video exhibit plays during a public hearing of the House Jan. 6 Committee in Washington, June 16.


J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

The Jan. 6 hearings probably haven’t gotten voters’ minds off inflation. If you’ve been paying attention at all, nor have they revolutionized your understanding of that day’s events notwithstanding the deluge of useful testimony that

Donald Trump

had no basis for his claim of a stolen election.

Mr. Trump’s claim was indifferent to the evidence—we already knew this. In 2016, asked whether he would accept the outcome of his first race, he quipped, “If I win.” Later, his attorney general would tell the Jan. 6 committee that Mr. Trump was “detached from reality if he really believes this stuff” about the 2020 race.

Exactly. Mr. Trump didn’t believe it or it didn’t matter if he did. He was attached to a different reality, 40 years of brand discipline: Mr. Trump doesn’t lose. Gold sprouts from his fingertips except when foiled by nefarious cheaters and corrupt incompetents.

Mr. Trump’s authentic anger was reserved for White House underlings who forgot their job was servicing the Trump brand. His legal theory, its own originator told him, was bound to lose 9-0 before the Supreme Court. When has Mr. Trump ever won any lawsuit he was involved in? When was that even the purpose?

I’ve found it hard to excuse Trump supporters who didn’t realize from day one “stop the steal” was a bucket-shop scam—had they understood nothing about the man they were so devoted to?

Ditto, I thought the media coverage after the election should be a good deal more eye-rolling. Trump was being Trump (and also was being

Stacey Abrams

and Hillary Clinton—he hardly invented the “I wuz robbed” shtick as a means to keep oneself the center of attention after Election Day).

Mr. Trump was the most known, understood, advertised personality ever to be elected president, a four-decade American prodigy of Barnumesque branding. The true wonderment was the Trump voter. Yes, some were ignoramuses, but many knew exactly what they were getting (and let me know they did).

“I’m a total act and I don’t understand why people don’t get it,” Mr. Trump supposedly told

Anthony Scaramucci.

Many did, and were his supporters.

In turn, the appalling wonder of Jan. 6 was the wonder of many accidental things set in motion by voters when they made Trump the 2016 GOP nominee.

The chain of events that landed Mr. Trump in the White House, most Americans still…

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