The Election to Dump Trump is Finally Here
We have finally made it to election day 2020. I have been waiting 4 long years for this day as I know a majority of Americans have.
I really didn’t think Trump was going to make it all 4 years. Even though I knew Clinton was polarizing, I had stated numerous times that Trump wouldn’t win — especially after he described how he would assault women on a hot mic with Billy Bush. And then after the election day, I was sure that Trump wouldn’t last. Here was a guy who was used to getting his way in business and now he had to be accountable to actual people? There’s no way he’d want to keep that job. He’d already made his point that he could win and that the US Presidential election was a popularity contest and not based on merit. Imagine how much money he could make in business with that on his resume. He could quit the Presidency while claiming he had accomplished what he had set out to do (the lie wouldn’t have mattered). And even if he did want the job, there was no way he’d keep it — he’d do something that was impeachable within months of being elected and the facts would be so clear that he’d be easily dismissed. Or his derangement would increase to the point that Section 4 of the 25th Amendment would be used to boot him out. And when it came time for his first 4 years to end, I really thought he wouldn’t want 4 more years. And even if he did, surely the electorate would now be hip to his lies, especially since his lies have led to nearly a quarter of a million people dead.
Of course, I was wrong about all of that.
He got elected despite the Access Hollywood tape — even though it showed he wasn’t a nice guy it was okay because he wasn’t a professional politician at the time and all that mattered was what he claimed he would do. Who cares about what he says he’ll do to women — as long as he gets rid of that nasty Obamacare. I overestimated the conservative voter.
He ended up not quitting because he was able to change the Presidency into being all about him — he turned the presidency into a for-profit enterprise for his family and nobody stopped him. I didn’t realize the degree to which the sycophants and yes-men and other enablers would aid him in this endeavor.
He was impeached but it took way longer for him to do something that was demonstrably illegal and by then he had corrupted the Republican Senators. He had guardrails at the beginning that kept him more on track than I had thought he would. When those guardrails were removed, and he did do something illegal, I underestimated spinelessness of Republican Senators.
He was not removed from office per the 25th Amendment. Even though it is clearly obvious to all objective observers that he is a poster child for Narcissistic Personality Disorder, those that would have needed to act on it are the same ones that are benefiting from his being in office so it is against their best interest to pull that lever.
He did decide to run for re-election despite polls against him from the start. I hadn’t accounted for the fact that when he does leave office, he’s likely to be facing nothing but legal battles that he has been postponing so another 4 years means those legal troubles are at least partly postponed. Also even just running for office gives him the chance to do the only part of the job that he actually enjoys: making up stuff in rallies and conversations with sympathetic journalists.
And amazingly, he still has a chance to win re-election despite the near-apocalyptic state of the country. I vastly underestimated the level to which his followers would suspend disbelief to live in the alternate reality that he creates and in which they choose to live.
In summary, we’ve never had a Trump before so we had no idea the degree to which our whole system of government was broken and how insipid and gullible the electorate is. Now that we do, we have a better sense of what 4 more years of Trump would look like. It would be bad.
So here we are on the eve of the next Presidential election and Trump knows the odds are against him. He started sowing doubt about the electoral process even after his win in 2016 and he has ramped up the attacks on elections by imagining fraud from mail-in voting, appointing a lackey to make cuts in the USPS to damage the ability to return mailed-in ballots, calling into question early voting, and continuing casting doubt on results from “democrat states”. He even said if mail-in voting were expanded, “you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again” and said “the only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged”. Anyone outside his bubble understands those statements as tacit admissions of voter suppression and fabrication of a problem that doesn’t exist and yet those inside his bubble somehow agree with him. Couple that with the fact that the pandemic is only as bad as it is due to his poor decisions and it’s all the more maddening that he claims that voting modifications due to the pandemic are against him. Seriously, this guy…
As far as the challenger to Trump, it’s been a much rockier road than it should have been. We had a Democratic primary where it seemed like the Democrats were dead-set on choosing someone polarizing — the more polarizing the better. Sanders? Warren? My personal political views are more aligned with both of them but I like them where they are in the Senate. They are too progressive for the country as a whole to handle and they both would have lost to Trump in the general election. We needed a moderate to beat Trump so I’m relieved that a moderate made it through the primary gauntlet. But there’s no question Biden is not as mentally sharp as he once was and that added a most unwelcome uncertainty. We’ve finally made it to election day and the worst that Biden has done is speak confusingly about his position on fracking. I am now breathing somewhat more easily.
In my worst case scenario, where Trump somehow remained in office and was running again, I could at least take comfort in the fact that he would be soundly defeated and yet that’s not looking likely. I was expecting an electoral college drubbing the likes of Mondale getting walloped by Reagan in 1984 and a popular vote even more skewed with something like only 25% voting for Trump. But right now, the polls are sitting at 52% for Biden and 43% for Trump. That’s a clear loss for Trump but no where near the numbers I wanted to see. And as far as the asininely-somehow-still-in-use Electoral College, Trump could still win. FiveThirtyEight.com gives him a 10% chance of winning (at the time of this writing although that link is not a snapshot but a live analysis which will likely change by the time you click on it) which as they write, is equivalent to the chance it could rain in LA on any given day. It’s low but it happens. How is this possible? Because the only states that matter are close — too close. And as I wrote above, that’s because people really are that insipid and gullible.
Still, I’m optimistic about a Biden win. And the bigger the Trump defeat the better — not just so that the vote is clearly enough that contestation will be limited but because the world is watching. We have business and political partners around the world who are waiting for us to be a rational Democracy again with Trump gone. We have enemies around the world who are hoping that the US remains weak with Trump in charge. There are would-be democratic leaders around the world hoping that the Totalitarian Trump is an aberration that ends on January 20 and that will give them new hope. There are would-be despots around the world hoping that the Totalitarian Trump blazes a trail for them. The more lopsided the result against Trump, the better for our country and the better for the world. The more soundly Trumpism is repudiated, the faster a recovery the world will experience.
For reasons of superstition, I won’t predict that Biden will win. But in the hopes that he does, what becomes of the US? We would finally have a rational human in charge of the country and he would make decisions based on what’s best for the people rather than himself. (Whatever your political leanings, if you can’t acknowledge that Biden is a better human than Trump, then you have no business voting, procreating, or really being a member of society at all.) Would that rationality in the executive role be able to have the positive impact we need or is our country damaged so badly now, it is going to take time to recover?
As much as I hate the “us versus them” mentality that typically permeates US political discourse, Trump has really formalized it in a way that it hasn’t been before. You are either a believer of what Trump espouses or you can see reality. You support Trump blindly regardless what he may do or you see him for the narcissistic imposter he is. You have either drunk the Kool-Aid or you haven’t. You are either in the Cult of Trump or you are a free-thinker.
If Trump is voted out, what becomes of his followers? Some of them may successfully deprogram themselves; others may no longer buy into it just because Trump has lost. But a majority of them will continue to follow Trump wherever he goes. And that won’t be “away”. He has a number of pending lawsuits that will occupy his time but the way he’ll make his money will be continuing to hold rallies — that, after all, is one of the only things he is actually good at doing- standing up in front of an audience and doing a bit like a comedian, where it doesn’t need to be rooted in reality even though he pretends it is. And he’ll be on TV for sure. Daily. I don’t know if it will be a full-blown new network named Trump TV or if he will make some sort of deal to become involved with OAN and get them carried on cable or if he will somehow make a splash at Fox “News” or Fox “Business”.
I do know that the best thing for our planet is for Trump to just hurry up and die. The sooner that loud mouth is gone and his Twitter account is permanently disabled, the better for all mankind. That may seem harsh but remember: He is responsible for the deaths of many more people than bin Laden. He’s coarsened the way politicians talk about their opponents and the way Americans perceive politicians more than Newt Gingrich, Jim Jordan, Mitch McConnell, and Louie Gohmert combined. He’s done more damage to the very notion of truth than Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham combined. We owe Trump no pity whatsoever.
For a brief moment, it looked like he was going to get his comeuppance when he caught COVID-19 himself. But of all the people suffering with COVID, he was the only one who didn’t deserve the top notch level of care provided to him. Maybe once he is no longer President, Trump can finally be a cautionary tale by showing that you can catch COVID again and how deadly it can be.
However he does eventually die, it is going to need to be accompanied by substantial proof that he died of poor health and that there was no foul play. The last thing we want to do is turn Trump into some sort of symbol for activated nutjobs to think he was killed. There will be people who think that regardless the facts, of course, but the more obvious Trump’s physical demise is, the less successful those conspiracy theories will be.
The US government is operating like a banana republic these days with a dictator making moves that are solely for his own benefit and that dictator has the support of a majority of the senate. And yet if the country is fortunate enough that Trump is voted out tomorrow, the best thing that President Biden could do on January 20, 2021 is begin investigations into Trump’s crimes and get him in jail. I know that investigating and jailing your predecessor is continuing the paradigm of a banana republic but it will be necessary. First, Trump has objectively done illegal things and deserves to be held accountable. Second, jail is the best place for him to limit his ability to continue his crimes or cover them up. Third, as a deterrent to future dictators in this country and others, we need to show that we can hold people accountable for their crimes.
So tomorrow, let’s hope our national nightmare has its end date set for January 20 and we can start counting down. Let’s also hope the Democrats win the Senate majority. And after that we can start figuring out how to Control-Z what Trump has done while also making forward progress and setting up better rules so there can never be another Trump. And we can make plans to hold Trump accountable for his crimes and lock him away for the rest of his life — that will be the last banana republic-ish action our government needs to take so that we can return to the way things were prior to Trump.