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American politics over the last four years has been a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. It didn’t have to turn out this way. But, c’est la vie!
Donald Trump won in 2016 because he spoke on issues, like immigration reform, trade, infrastructure, protecting social security, reinvigorating the national space program, and ending endless wars.
These ideas, and the fact that Trump was not of the Political Class—as his 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton had been—appealed to a slim majority of voters who decided to take a chance and vote for the reality television star.
Trump did not promise the destruction of our system. Unlike his 2016 opponent, Trump did not insult his audience (it was Clinton, after all, who had called 60 million voters, “a basket of deplorables”). Trump vowed to make America great again. In 2016, he was dynamic and necessarily disruptive as a candidate.
By 2020, Trump had become toxic and totally destructive—so much so that Joe Biden, who “did not leave his basement” as so many Right-wing shills on cable news screeched during the campaign, or who was described in October 2001 by The Guardian as having been on the “eccentrically left-wing of the Democratic Party”, had handily defeated Trump.
Because of the president’s own iniquities, one of the most promising presidents in my life tossed everything away on January 6, 2020.
Think about it: the Left threw everything and the proverbial kitchen sink at Trump: fake Russia collusion, a ceaseless media war against the candidate, and even a senseless impeachment—and not one of those things stuck. It was only the turgid responses to real crises in 2020 that did Trump in.
Those who supported Trump said that his personality deficits did not matter. Trump was an ideological battering ram with which to get their preferred people into positions of power and their desired policies enacted.
Yet, in 2020 Trump’s personality deficit, coupled with his poor choice in personnel, combined to form political hemlock which he dutifully drank in front of a rapt audience.
The Disease of Disruption
It all began with a novel coronavirus from Wuhan, China. Rather than appear as a steady hand who would wage war on COVID-19, Trump vacillated. He rightly shut the economy down to stop the spread of a disease against which there was no defense—even though this risked his reelection. That was magnanimous leadership on display.
The president, however, then reversed course.
Trump sent out mixed signals to scared American families and communities. At first, Trump said the disease was a serious threat (it is). But after sensing the economic fallout from the COVID-19 countermeasures threatened his reelection bid, Trump changed his mind. Now, 370,000 (and counting) Americans are dead today, in part, because of Trump’s spasmodic actions.
To most Americans, Trump appeared heartless.
On the heels of the pandemic, the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police custody prompted a wave of race riots across the country. As the situation deteriorated—so much so that the president and his family had to be taken to the White House bunker when rioters threatened the White House—Trump delayed action. He did this not out of any sense of solidarity with the protesters and rioters. Trump acted this way out of fear that he would lose votes.
The Captain of Chaos, the Paragon of Defeat
Trump dithered. He refused to follow his constitutional duty to protect order. Because of this critical failure, people died. Property was destroyed. And when all was said-and-done, voters came to think that Trump was both uncompassionateand incompetent—the death knell for any presidential campaign.
These are the real reasons, by the way, for Trump’s loss in November. Just remember: after each debate between President Donald J. Trump and former Vice-President Joseph R. Biden, Trump never received the kind of post-debate bounce that his campaign advisers believed he would.
Trump’s efforts to paint the Democrats as the party of chaos might have worked, had Trump not been viewed by so many Americans–notably middle and upper-class, young, working professionals, specifically college-educated, suburban women–as the most chaotic president in our lifetime.
Trump did not lose to Biden. He lost to himself. And the media excitedly covered his self-destruction, amplifying his worst mistakes and character flaws that the forty-fifth president was apparently all too happy to display.
Having learned nothing and forgotten nothing, Trump then spent almost two months refusing to accept the decisive results of the 2020 presidential election. Despite promising a legal “Kraken” in which an international conspiracy to unseat Trump would be revealed, Trump’s legal team never successfully waged a single lawsuit (even before friendly judges).
Forget Kraken. We got crickets from Karen.
Although, the president did ensure that tens of millions of Americans would disapprove of his successor (which is a time-honored American political tradition but totally unhelpful at this moment).
More gallingly, Trump also managed to convince these Americans that the country’s hallowed democratic system was worthy of actual destruction.
Certainly, Washington is corrupt—but the situation is far from hopeless (partly because of the potency of Trump’s “America First” movement that is now threatened by Trump’s recent, foolish actions).
Trump is now viewed as simply burning the house down as he’s forced out. These actions on his part will permanently damage the movement he purported to represent (but actually preceded him).
Becoming the Swamp Dweller
Soon, it was revealed that of the $1.3 billion the Trump campaign had collected in donations, a whopping $617 million—half of that money—was diverted by Jared Kushner into a shell company, out of which both he and the rest of the Trump family were handsomely paid.
And while the Trump legal team flailed about, ripping our democracy apart in a spate of frivolous lawsuits, Trump raised more than $200 million in donations, ostensibly for legal fees (but who knows what he’ll use that money for?)
Though, it should be noted that Trump instructed his staff to discontinue payments for his chief legal counsel, Rudy Giuliani, despite demanding that Giuliani continue working for the president.
The word “grift” comes to mind.
The Trump Insurrection
All of this compounded into the horrific events of January 6, 2021. After being whipped into a frenzy by “their” president at a rally, scores of Trump-loving rioters stormed the United States Capitol Building because Trump had told them to “stop the count.”
And stop it they did.
These rioters vandalized and terrorized the People’s House—because, in their minds, Trump urged them to do so.
Further, the rioters attempted to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory. In the middle of this terrorist attack, the president could not be reached. As per Trump’s repeated threats, many of the rioters laying siege to Capitol Hill were actively hunting for Vice-President Pence, to either do him harm or threaten to do him harm until he decertified what they genuinely believed was a fraudulent election.
For his part during the siege, Trump refused to answer the pleas of his advisers to make a statement categorically denouncing what was transpiring while moving forces into the Capitol to quell the uprising, too. He left deploying the National Guard to his vice-president (very un-presidential).
The peaceful transfer of power is the most important constitutional duty of a president. Trump failed it. What’s more, he encouraged a band of brigands to storm Congress because he wanted to disrupt that peaceful transition of power. Whether Trump believes the election was stolen from him or not, the fact remains that he helped to incite, and refused to end, an actual insurrection—all because he felt slighted.
Trump discarded his duty to the people and the Constitution in favor of his self-interest.
Because of his vainglorious and feckless actions, Trump has become the first president in history to be impeached twice. President Trump’s own party members in Congress—his own vice-president, who served him loyally for all four years of the presidency—have abandoned him. Trump may very well be convicted in the next week by the Senate and barred from ever running for office again.
As that occurs, Trump manically issues pardons for some of the most reprehensible people imaginable. In fact, he might further test democratic norms and preemptive pardon himself and his family members for any potential crimes they will likely be charged with in the coming months and years.
Meanwhile, his fanatical base continues propagating and believing the noxious conspiracy theories of Q-Anon and White Supremacist lies that once were confined to the gonzo message boards, like 8Chan, but have become mainstreamed, thanks to this president. Even Alex Jones has disavowed Q!
Rather than ratchet down tensions, Trump continues intensifying them. Sure, he gave a perfunctory recorded speech (that looked like a hostage video) condemning violence. But, his actions for the last two months since he lost the election have been about gaslighting his base, each and every day.
In fact, as QAnon, MAGA folks terrorized Capitol Hill on 1/6, Trump was apparently calling Republican senators, demanding that they pressure Pence to decertify Biden’s election unless they wanted the violence and rage of the mob to continue. There is now mounting evidence, also, that the rioters and Far Right media figures are receiving foreign financial support.
It is important to understand that, following the wave of cabinet-level resignations and the paralyzing of the Executive Branch by Trump himself, the United States is more vulnerable to a foreign attack than it has been since 9/11. Rather than fearing the awesome military might and resolve of the United States, rivals like China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran are sensing severe weakness and are looking to exploit that before Biden can assume power on January 20.
The worst attack on Capitol Hill since the British burned Washington, D.C. in 1814 has occurred. It was done at the hands of some MAGA-supporters because the president lied to his loyal followers for far too long. Their egregious, un-American actions on January 6, 2021 have now opened the doorway for the most radical Leftists to become mainstream themselves—and this time, the Left will have the presidency and both chambers of Congress.
Nothing good will come of this for anyone.
All because Trump didn’t know how to lose properly. As Henry Kissinger is rumored to have once told his old boss, President Richard Nixon, “sometimes, even a president can go too far.” No truer words could have been spoken about the last two months of Trump’s presidency.
The Nebuchadnezzar Presidency
If this were ancient China, they would say of Trump that he had lost the “Mandate of Heaven.” It is clear that the president has lost his mandate and he may have lost his mind (he continues peddling the bizarre conspiracy theories). Trump’s worst enemies could not have destroyed him as badly as he has destroyed himself.
My fellow Christians believed Trump was a modern-day Cyrus, the patron and deliverer of the Jews. In fact, he is Nebuchadnezzar, a ruler in the Old Testament who was driven mad and made to live with the cows because he stopped following God’s commandments.
To save the ideas of national greatness that Trump once ran on during the 2016 campaign, and our country, President Trump must resign and leave office forthwith—never to return to public life.
As Oliver Cromwell once urged a corrupt Parliament, I say, “In the name of God, go!”