The United States Supreme Court has twice denied the desperate efforts of Donald Trump to overturn the election of Joe Biden as president and Kamala Harris as vice president, respectively.
Even before the elections, Trump had warned, without any basis, that the only way he could lose to Biden was if the Democrats cheated.
Thus, when the poll numbers in the battleground states trended inexorably in Biden’s favor, Trump began repeating the lie that he had been planting in the minds of his fanatic supporters. He was cheated.
Despite the results of the popular vote and the electoral votes that gave the Biden-Harris team a clear victory, Trump continued to insist that he had won and would serve a second term. Trump was clearly in denial!
Trump then mustered a battery of lawyers, led by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, to file a flood of lawsuits in the courts of the battleground states to invalidate the results.
Except for two or three minor instances where the courts sided with the Trump legal team, over 40 dismissals and denials were slapped on Trump’s efforts to overturn Biden’s victory.
But that may only have been Plan A.
Giuliani revealed that the court filings were merely intended as leverage for a subsequent appeal to the Supreme Court.
That, in effect, was Plan B.
A few days ago, the High Court unanimously denied a Republican petition to invalidate the results of the Pennsylvania election. Inexplicably, Trump and his allies led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, filed another suit with the Supreme Court to invalidate the elections in three other battleground states of Michigan, Georgia, and Wisconsin in addition to Pennsylvania.
It seemed to be a “long shot.” Texas had no business questioning the way the elections in the other states were conducted.
Trump had made it known that he was counting on his three appointees to the High Court to support his protest. He had gone on network TV calling on the Justices to “have the courage” to rule in his favor.
The Justices did display their courage — they decided against Trump. Much earlier, Attorney General Bill Barr also declared that he saw nothing in the election that could warrant overturning Biden’s victory. Until then, Barr had been accused by detractors of acting more like Trump’s personal lawyer than the head of the Department of Justice.
But the Supreme Court has sent Trump’s hopes crashing a second time.
Was this the final nail on the coffin that buries Trump’s presidential fantasy?
Not quite. Those who know how Trump’s mind works, are not underestimating his talent for translating a loss into a win.
A LegalZoom article published on November 24, 2020 by Monica Sanders had the intriguing headline, “How Does Trump Repeatedly File For Bankruptcy And Still Stay On Top?” The article relates how he filed for several bankruptcies for his casinos, thereby avoiding his financial obligations, but how he arranged to retain control of the businesses, along with a fat salary. The bankruptcies were, in effect, a win-win for Trump.
During the presidential campaign, Trump was asked about the bankruptcies, a fact that would ordinarily cast a cloud on his purported genius as a businessman. Trump gloated that he took advantage of what the laws of the land allowed, in order to stay ahead.
While working on Plan A and Plan B, Trump has apparently already been activating Plan C.
You see, by repeating the lie that the presidency was stolen from him, Trump intends to keep his voter base agitated and motivated all the way up to 2024 if he decides to run again for the presidency. At the same time, Trump will retain his stranglehold on the Republican Party.
By means of his loyal voter base, Trump has succeeded in intimidating GOP leaders who are concerned about their political careers. Although many have privately expressed disdain for Trump’s ways, they don’t dare to admit it publicly.
The “long shot” suit filed by Paxton may not have been as frivolous as one might think — neither was the support of 126 Republican legislators for the apparently baseless and hopeless Supreme Court filing.
Paxton is currently under investigation by the FBI for allegations he abused his office to benefit a wealthy donor — a problem Trump could eliminate with a presidential pardon. On the other hand, GOP legislators may have simply been trying to remain in Trump’s good graces by reassuring Trump that they have his back.
Since his loss to Biden, Trump has managed to raise over $207 million in contributions from supporters, ostensibly to cover his legal expenses. In fact, only a small portion of that amount has so far gone to legal costs. It is suspected that the rest — plus future contributions — will go to a political action committee to fund a 2024 campaign.
Trump’s enemies may be waiting to unleash criminal and civil cases against him, once he leaves the White House. While he has begun to wield his pardoning power to buy loyalty — he is reportedly planning to also pardon himself — this authority only covers federal crimes, and not indictments slapped on him by States like New York.
The Southern District of New York is reportedly waiting to charge him for a number of violations of state law. That could mean a prison term for Trump.
But would that disqualify him from running for president? Not at all. The U.S. Constitution allows convicted felons, even those behind bars, to run for public office.
The 50 states have different laws governing those who can vote, but with respect to running for president, one only needs to be a natural-born citizen, at least 35 years old, and must have resided in the U.S. for 14 years.
But can Trump win, even as a convicted felon? The odds would weigh heavily against him, of course. But no one can ever underestimate the loyalty of Trump’s voter base.
Remember how he bragged that he could shoot someone in the middle of Manhattan and not lose a single vote?
The 73 million Americans who voted for Trump could be persuaded to rally to his cause if he succeeds in portraying himself as the victim of injustice — just like Nelson Mandela who spent decades in prison and emerged as the President of South Africa.
It should now be clear what Trump’s Plan C is. He will repeat the lie about being a victim of “massive fraud” — over and over and over again until most Americans take it as gospel truth. That is already happening even now.
Like a vampire, Trump has tasted blood and wants more of it. There are enough suckers among his voter base to feed on.
Dinaya will be his mantra.
That mantra will be in addition to the lies that he will tell about anyone who stands in his way — and that will include not just Democrats but also ambitious Republicans who may be eyeing the presidency — like Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
Those who think that they can deal with Donald Trump in the usual orthodox or traditional manner will be in denial. Trump is loyal only to himself. Everyone else is fit for throwing under the bus.
No one should be surprised if Trump is also activating Plan D.
* * *
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.
* * *