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That's not legit, or proper.

Agreed - but politicians engage in outrageous behavior to make a political statement all the time. Often times the degree of being 'not legit or proper' is what brings heat and light to the political statement they're trying to make. It doesn't mean for a moment they believe that they have the ability to actually stop the election from being certified. They absolutely knew that they did not.

I think the two things that saved us this time were a) that didn't happen (but it almost did),

If by "it," you mean a formal action by the Congress that might have called the election results into question, it did not almost happen. They never had enough votes, they never were going to get enough votes. The Congressional action on 1/6 was itself mere ritual rather than an exercise of actual power, and a political stunt during that ritual does not constitute a coup "almost happening."

We were never close to anything like that happening. No one did anything that moved us materially closer to the transfer of power not happening. No one actually had a plan that could have resulted in the transfer of power not happening. You had a bunch of idiots (Trump especially) that were trying to blue sky ways to pretend that an election didn't happen, but at no point was there any buy-in by anyone that mattered to even attempt to keep Trump in office. That isn't a coup "almost happening." It's just Trump pitching a spec screenplay to himself, with himself in the starring role, and a few toadying lackeys playing Greek chorus so that he could assuage his fragile ego.

Albaby
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