For the better part of a month now, U.S. President Donald Trump has continued to fight the country’s recent election results.
He refuses to officially concede, instead insisting on perpetuating baseless allegations that the election was rigged – stolen by the Democrats and the dark forces of the invisible “deep state” his base believes have been conspiring against him.
Of course, Mr. Trump knows he lost. He and Melania will soon be packing up their belongings and returning to Mar-a-Lago or wherever they establish base camp to plot next moves. And make no mistake, next moves there will be.
For those Americans (and Canadians) still exhaling in relief over Joe Biden’s victory, I have some news: Mr. Trump may soon be leaving the White House but he’s not going anywhere. He is doubtlessly already planning how he will continue to exploit the deep sense of division and alienation that exists in the United States. This has been an essential aspect of his populist appeal.
Insisting that he was unfairly robbed of an election is also very much part of his strategy. (One recent poll showed nearly 80 per cent of Republicans believe Mr. Trump was illegally robbed of a win.) It could well form the premise upon which a 2024 run for the presidency is based. While some believe this is far-fetched, and that the Republican party brass will eventually sour on him, I don’t.
For all his lying, deceit, cravenness and overall general horribleness, Mr. Trump is the Republican party now. He received nearly 74 million votes, the most for a Republican president or candidate for the presidency in history. He undoubtedly views that as an endorsement of the job he did – and why wouldn’t he? As much as I despise the man and consider him a true menace to humanity, there is true power in those numbers. And that is scary as hell.
The twisted cabal of acolytes that surround him are surely already contemplating how they will keep their “candidate” front and centre while not having access to the enormous bandwidth the presidency provides. Fox News, for instance, will likely stop affording him airtime every time he demands it.
But never fear, Mr. Trump has options.
Newsmax and the One America News Network are two upstart vehicles that he has at his disposal. While lacking, for the moment, the audience numbers that Fox does, both “news” organizations have become unadulterated platforms for Trumpism. Newsmax’s ratings in prime time, according to a recent piece in The New York Times, have sky-rocketed since election day. The President now routinely directs his 100-million-plus social media followers to their broadcasts, which happily propagate the notion that the election was fixed.
Mr. Trump will continue to promote the vast eco-system of falsehoods and demented conspiracy theories that flourish on the internet and allow corrosive figures such as himself to gain wider traction. He will also be assisted by new chat sites such as Parler, where there is little fact-checking or comment monitoring, and where Democrats are regularly accused (and found guilty by the online mob) of crimes of sedition and various other treacheries.
The President will do his utmost to continue undermining the legitimacy of the mainstream media, portraying them as the enemy of everyday Americans. It is quite conceivable he will continue to hold the type of rallies that served as stages from which he could stoke anger among his legions of worshippers against “elites out to destroy” America.
Given how bitter a loser as he is, Mr. Trump is certain to make life as miserable as possible for president-elect Joe Biden. Every uptick in the stock market will be his doing, not Mr. Biden’s. Every person who gets vaccinated for COVID-19 will have him to thank, not Mr. Biden. On it will go, lie after tiresome lie.
And as we stare over the fence from our perch here in Canada, we will continue to be shocked by the behaviour we are witnessing among our neighbours.
Mr. Trump’s masterplan could be altered by a couple of things. He could get kicked off Twitter and Facebook for his constant dishonesty; he will no longer have the legitimacy of the presidency to protect him. If this were to happen it would seriously muffle the megaphone he’s had at his disposal. And secondly, his many alleged financial misdeeds now being investigated by authorities in New York finally could come back to bite him.
It would be difficult to launch a campaign for the presidency from a jail cell. Although Lord knows Donald Trump would likely give it a try.
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