Donald Trump, outgoing president of the United States, has 65 days left in his term as president (as of this writing), but knowledgeable quarters believe that he may have already gone on “bereavement leave – the kind of leave people take when someone in the family dies.
Trump probably feels that he has lost something more precious to him than a son or daughter or wife. He has lost the presidential election. Now, Trump faces the prospect of vacating the most powerful position on the planet.
According to reports, Trump has virtually dropped the ball on the presidency and has been plotting to reverse the results of the election in-between golf games.
When Trump won the U.S. presidency in November 2016, he could hardly believe it. It was like winning the Super Lotto. But he soon got over his disbelief and began to consider it as his Manifest Destiny. He began congratulating himself for his political genius, and began to attribute to himself the almost god-like power to command fanatical loyalty from his supporters, almost like that of members of a religious cult – the kind of power that Jim Jones held over the 900-plus members of his People’s Temple who committed suicide on his orders in the South American jungle of Guyana in November 1978.
Trump even boasted that he could shoot a person in the middle of Manhattan and not lose a single follower. Sadly, Trump has proven much of that boast to be true. In spite of exposes of moral, ethical, intellectual, management, business and political flaws, he has commanded the loyalty of most of his voter base.
The recent presidential election motivated more voter participation than any political exercise in American history. For sure, his opponent and eventual winner, former Vice-President Joe Biden enjoyed more votes — over 78 million — than any presidential candidate in history, but Trump also broke all records for a loser, keeping the count close in the battleground states.
Even worse, Trump succeeded in poisoning the minds of his followers, convincing them that he actually won the election and that Biden’s “victory” is fraudulent. Even before the election, Trump began feeding the lie that the only way he could lose would be if his opponent were to cheat.
Thus, to this day, Trump has refused to concede defeat — defying all past electoral tradition and fanning unrest among his followers. A few days ago, thousands of Trump followers converged in Washington D.C. shouting incendiary slogans and refusing to accept the victory of Biden.
This resulted in clashes with pro-Biden demonstrators, the arrest of dozens and the stabbing of one person. It is feared that this would not be the last outbreak of violence, before President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris take the oath of office on January 20, 2021.
Trump’s supporters have also filed several dozen lawsuits in the battleground states, alleging electoral fraud, in a futile attempt to overturn the victory of the Biden-Harris team – futile because so far none of the lawsuits has been found meritorious by the courts, due to lack of evidence or proof of “massive” cheating that could affect the results of the election.
Trump apparently isn’t giving up. He has threatened to elevate his lawsuits to the Supreme Court in the belief that the Associate Justices that he appointed during his tenure will vote in his favor.
Meanwhile, most leaders of the Republican Party have either not attempted to make Trump accept defeat or, worse yet, have actively supported his baseless claims. It is said that they are “enabling” Trump’s recalcitrance because of a coming run-off election in January in Georgia between two Republican Senate incumbents and two Democratic challengers. The results could change the balance of power in the U.S. Senate and deprive the Republicans of its control of Capitol Hill where the Democrats already dominate the House of Representatives.
Other Republican leaders also want to avoid offending Trump for fear of earning the wrath of his voter base, thus jeopardizing their political future.
Some political observers, among them New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, have expressed concern that the unrest could escalate into a civil war.
Cooler heads, including Biden himself, have minimized this possibility, pointing out that America is still a country of laws and not a banana republic or a dictatorship like Russia, China or North Korea.
Biden has chosen to speak calmly while proceeding to make preparations for his assumption of the presidency – this in spite of the refusal of the Trump administration to accord him and members of his team the traditional courtesies needed for a smooth transition.
Biden, however, has expressed concern over the effects of Trump’s refusal to give his team access to information on national security matters, as well as current government readiness to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, some 11 million Americans have been infected by the virus and the daily death rate has reached record levels.
Meanwhile the weeks leading to the end of Trump’s term are regarded with anxiety by officials concerned over the security of the U.S. Already, Trump has fired top defense officials and has begun to ask about sensitive security matters that could result in a war.
Trump continues to dig in and boot-lickers in the White House keep fantasizing about a “smooth transition” to a “second Trump term.”
“The longest two months” is how observers describe the last days of Trump who insists, “I won, I won’t concede and I want to remain in the White House.”
Me? I worry.
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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.
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