The Electoral College met Monday and formally affirmed Joe Biden as the nation’s 46th president, to be inaugurated as such on Jan. 20, 2021. President Trump’s legal challenges have run their course, showing themselves to be substantially weak and little more than a reflection of his insatiable need to have all attention focused on himself.
As the president has made clear; all his supposed allies have abandoned him, even the three justices he appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The nation’s highest court would not even consider the case brought by Texas’ Attorney General Ken Paxton that would have overturned the election results in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia, essentials disenfranchising about 10 million voters. The Republic Governor from Georgia abandoned him by refusing to call a special session of the Legislature — the purpose being to overturn the election. In fact, most of the involved Trump-appointed judges have let him down as well according to his Twitter feed. Not one has leaned toward his defense.
President Trump will continue to insist the election was stolen from him, that it was rigged, and that Mr. Biden will be taking occupancy of the White House in January as an imposter. A fair percentage of his base will go down the rabbit hole with him. We should be past the point of expecting him to be anything other than who he is, someone who is charitable to no one other than himself.
It’s this need that will prevent the Republican Party from moving forward. If, as he now hints, he intends to run for president in 2024, he will severely limit the GOP’s ability to entertain nods from other presidential hopefuls. Imagine being tethered to Mr. Trump’s capriciousness for the foreseeable future.
It’s not only Mr. Trump’s ego that needs perpetual stoking, it’s the Trump brand and the need to generate cash, a lot of it, upwards of $420 million to pay off debts, if the reports from the New York Times are anywhere close to being accurate. It may be that he can’t afford to shrink into the shadows.
So what is the takeaway? What can wannabe leaders take from Mr. Tump’s example?
No one knows for sure. Mr. Biden will determine part of the narrative depending on how well he performs. Part of it will be determined by how the far left treats the Biden years. Part of it will be circumstantial; unforeseen events can make or break presidencies. And part of it will depend on how serious Mr. Trump and his followers are in stoking the fires of discontent. The hope is that when Mr. Trump’s Pennsylvania Avenue address is no longer valid, that his followers will fade away and the attention will drift elsewhere. The hope is that as his power fades, the truth of his years becomes more apparent and his followers will find their sotto voce ways of attaching themselves to others. The hope is that they see Mr. Trump’s bitterness and his narcissism for what they are, traits that have short lives.
The consensus from the chattering class is that our democracy has been forever damaged and that the public’s trust is a casualty that can’t be patched back together.
Forever is a long time. And anything can be built back if its loss is not acceptable. As we watched each of the states participate in the electoral college process on Monday, what we affirmed as not acceptable is losing a process that stands tall against those who would diminish it, who would take away another’s right to vote. That didn’t happen and the day concluded without incident. The further we get from the chaos the more we will acknowledge that the process we have is worth defending [and improving], warts and all.
The fact that Mr. Trump will not concede is not only putting himself above the nation’s best interests, and being purposefully divisive, it’s also anti-democratic. The further we get from this moment, the more that will be apparent.
That’s the hope.
by Emerson Lynn