Hamilton Nolan’s observations after witnessing the Million MAGA March in DC this weekend:

These were the shit­kick­ers of Amer­i­ca, and those that wor­shiped them. Noth­ing about them is hard to under­stand. If you have seen a high school bul­ly and his crew of friends goad­ing him on, you have encoun­tered this type. What I can­not explain is why this juve­nile sort of action movie men­tal­i­ty exerts such a strong hold on so many Amer­i­cans. Maybe we have a cri­sis of mas­culin­i­ty, or maybe we are a dam­aged nation cop­ing poor­ly with trau­ma, or maybe this is just our nature, dat­ing back to the ear­ly explor­ers who sailed in to mas­sacre the natives because they could. Maybe all of the above. What I do know is that there is a very pow­er­ful under­cur­rent run­ning just below the sur­face of main­stream pol­i­tics right now that can best be described as an over­whelm­ing desire to have a rea­son to kill every­one on the oth­er side. Per­haps it has been too long since we had a big war that required a draft, and all of that blood­lust is pour­ing into Amer­i­ca itself, like an infec­tion. We had the Com­mu­nists as ene­mies, and then we had the ter­ror­ists, and now, lack­ing a dis­tinct boo­gie­man to soak up our aggres­sion, we have thou­sands and thou­sands of peo­ple who dress up as sol­diers and roam the streets of Amer­i­can cities, wait­ing to attack… who­ev­er. Trump’s achieve­ment has been to remove any real polit­i­cal pre­text from our nation­al polit­i­cal feud, leav­ing only a pile of hate that can be direct­ed at any ene­my that’s con­ve­nient. Antifas­cists? Black Lives Mat­ter? Democ­rats, judges, the FBI, the Board of Elec­tions? All can fit the descrip­tion of ​Ene­mies who don’t want Amer­i­ca to be Great Again.” We left ratio­nal­i­ty behind a long time ago. Trump has suc­ceed­ed in build­ing his lunatic army. That was who this day was for. 

The good news is that his army is not big enough. Tens of thou­sands of peo­ple showed up for the MAGA march, but most of them were just reg­u­lar fam­i­lies whose brains have been poi­soned by Face­book, or old peo­ple whose brains have been poi­soned by Fox News. That so many of these peo­ple would feel it nec­es­sary to trav­el across the coun­try to march up Con­sti­tu­tion Avenue and inform the world that ​I’d Rather Get Covid-19 Than Biden 20” is dis­turb­ing on a human lev­el, but not cause for undue alarm. They want­ed to parade past the Dear Leader’s bar­ri­cad­ed hotel and gen­u­flect to its façade, to grov­el rather than to fight. The real shit­kick­ers were a minor­i­ty. If this was Trump’s ral­ly­ing call for sol­diers to res­cue him from his elec­toral fate, it was not a suc­cess. The size of the Women’s March held the day after Trump’s inau­gu­ra­tion in 2017 made this march look like an inti­mate gath­er­ing of friends, at a men­tal hospital. 

Read Nolan’s full piece here.