I really didn’t want to write another column about this guy. But here we are, because of course the country couldn’t be rid of President Donald Trump without paying one last godawful price.
So let’s see if I can accurately sum up the last month. Right now we’re in the middle of an agonizingly long series of pointless lawsuits, somewhat less pointless attempted arm-twisting of local officials, and loud statements calling the result of a pretty clear election fraud. We’ve witnessed the birth of hundreds of new conspiracy theories sure to haunt us for years, the shameful silence or enabling statements of top Republicans, and the refusal of supposedly nonpolitical government agencies to begin working with the Biden transition team. It’s both pathetic and shocking, something to laugh about and also keep you up at night, worrying about where the country goes from here.
Oh, and there’s a raging pandemic killing people at a rate of hundreds per day. New cases in the United States have been over 100,000 per day for just about the entire month of November. This evening, as I’m writing this, U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney announced he’d been infected; the second member of Connecticut’s congressional delegation to come down with the disease.
Through all of this, the president’s been either grouchily tweeting vile conspiracy theories, lies, and nonsense, or he’s been golfing. Nobody’s stopping him. Nobody’s even trying to make him be even a little bit better, to take the lead and try to fix some of the problems he’s created. Democrats don’t have the power to do anything, and Republicans simply won’t.
What’s happening now is going to have ripple effects for decades.
In the short term, all this bluster and lawsuit-flinging won’t make much of a difference. Joe Biden will be inaugurated on Jan. 20, and Donald Trump will have to go to Mar-a-lago, or Trump Tower, or Bedminster, or some other dreadful rich-man’s paradise he owns. But that’s where certainty goes out the window.
Obviously the president would rather stay in power, but absent that, his greatest wish is to make it impossible for President-elect Joe Biden to govern effectively by undermining his presidency before it even starts. The next four years are going to be, unfortunately, filled with more and more of Donald Trump, claiming he’s the legitimate president and Biden nothing but a fraud. It’s going to be very hard to get rid of him for good, because the more he acts out, the more his fans love him. He’ll likely wind up with some major media platform, shouting and gloating, baiting and conspiracy-mongering.
He’ll probably run again in four years. Maybe he’ll even win. Voters have short memories.
In the meantime, the new president will have to spend much of his time cleaning up the messes of the old one. Elections have consequences, that’s for sure; we’re still dealing with the horrific ones unleashed by 2016. If we’re lucky, we can get to 2020’s consequences at some point in the next decade.
We’ll struggle to recover our standing in the world. Our allies will never trust us quite the same way, much though they might want to. All of the flaws baked into our democracy have been exposed, and it’s impossible to hide them again. The public is exhausted and cynical, and the country is more divided than it’s been since 1865. It’s going to be very hard to fix any of this if one of our two major parties is either too invested in an alternate reality or too frightened of Trump’s fans to even admit the problems exist.
Connecticut’s Republicans could take the lead on turning the party around, if they wanted to. I’d love to see that no-nonsense, pragmatic, common-sense Yankee conservatism rise again. The race for governor in 2022 is already slowly starting to get underway. Wouldn’t it be great if those Republicans running to lead the state would stick up for democracy? Why can’t Connecticut have a Charlie Baker or a Larry Hogan or a Phil Scott?
I’m sure they’d rather not have to deal with any of this. The president’s fans can get really, really angry if they think you betrayed him. Unfortunately for them, Donald Trump and the damage he’s done to American democracy are going to continue to be issues for a long, long time to come.
Susan Bigelow is an award-winning columnist and the founder of CTLocalPolitics. She lives in Enfield with her wife and their cats.
The views, opinions, positions, or strategies expressed by the author are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of CTNewsJunkie.com.