Wissot: A second Trump term could surprise you
I think Donald Trump knows he can’t score an Electoral College victory a second time. It’s why he has been tweeting nonstop for months about alleged widespread mail-in ballot fraud.
But what would happen if Trump filled another inside straight and won as he did in 2016? Would that mean four more years of relentless chaos inflicted on this country by a renegade narcissist?
The reason is his second term would likely find him pitted against a solidly Democrat-controlled Congress. No less an authority than Nate Silver has given the Democrats a 60 to 70% chance of flipping the Senate and turning it blue. The Republicans are also more likely to lose rather than gain seats in the House.
Now you might think that naked hostility between the executive and legislative branches, in an already deeply-divided country, run by the most divisive president in modern memory, would qualify for a high score on the national misery index.
If you thought that, think again.
Donald J. Trump, freed from the burden of placating his base, would only be focused on how history judged his presidency. His legacy has already been stained by the blemish of impeachment and the thought of twiddling his thumbs for four years because of a Congress that had the votes to checkmate his every move would definitely unhinge this already unhinged president.
What to do? What to do? What to do?
Well if you are Trump, the proclaimed author of “The Art of the Deal,” you make a deal with the devil, more specifically, Nancy Pelosi, who appeals to him as kryptonite appealed to Superman.
What about the Republican Party, you might ask? What about them? Republicans lost their political identity when they became the Trumpian Party. Mitch McConnell would have little reason to visit the White House because as the Senate minority leader he would lack the power to get Supreme Court justices confirmed or deliver windfall tax breaks to the president’s rich Mar-a-Lago cronies.
And the MAGA hatters? MAGA who? Like chewing gum that has lost its flavor, they would become disposable, trash-can ready. Who they voted for in the future would be irrelevant to Trump since they couldn’t vote for him. The cold truth is he always viewed them in the same way Russian agents saw Trump aide, Carter Page, as “useful idiots.”
According to Howard Stern, who for more than 20 years swapped smutty sexual banter with Trump on the shock jock’s radio show,” The people who are voting for Trump for the most part … he wouldn’t let them in his f—— hotel. He’d be disgusted by them.”
None of this should come as a surprise to anyone who has observed Trump’s inherent inability to show empathy and feel shame. What Gertrude Stein said about Los Angeles is equally true of him: “There is no there there.” “Instead of a soul,” said Bill Moyers after Charlottesville, “Trump has an open sore.”
In retrospect, Trump never really cared about issues like abortion, or Second Amendment rights, or illegal immigration, or any of the other hot button controversies near and dear to the reactionary right. He simply pretended to care so he could cobble together a disparate coalition of single-issue voters.
His refusal to emphatically disavow support from the racist Proud Boys or the QAnon crowd proved that. Like Michael Jordan, who famously said he didn’t want to offend Republicans because “they buy sneakers, too,” Trump didn’t want to alienate Nazi wannabes or conspiracy theory nut jobs because they vote, too.
What legislative agenda pray tell could Trump join forces with the Democrats to promote? Any which met his grandiose appetite for public adulation.
Start by getting him to expand the benefits of Obamacare and insure universal health coverage for all Americans by passing a bill named, what else, Trumpcare. Trump’s only real objection to the ACA was his despised predecessor’s name attached to it.
Then convince him that embracing climate change and championing comprehensive environmental protections would cement his place in history as the president who saved the planet. Trump, of course, would eat that up. Stroke his ego some more by calling his climate change policy the “Trump Salvation Strategy for Mother Earth,“ hyperbolic indeed for anyone not named Trump.
Finally, play him like a Stradivarius by telling him that he could put the stamp of greatness on his presidency, perhaps nab a fifth perch at Mount Rushmore, if he improved race relations in the country.
Look forward to “The Trump Police Reform Act of 2023” complete with provisions that ban the use of chokeholds, eliminate no-knock warrants, and terminate union contracts that protect cops from prosecution for employing excessive use of force.
Imagine seeing Trump sign this landmark piece of legislation in the White House Rose Garden wearing a Black Lives Matter hat which causes progressives to weep with joy and regressives to wail in anguish.
If you find this scenario wildly improbable, I would agree with you.
But let me ask you this: Is it any more absurd than over 40 % of the country voting for the re-election of a president who has succeeded in tearing the threads of democracy in four short years and is asking the electorate to give him permission to finish the job by 2024?
Jay Wissot is a resident of Denver and Vail. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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