So Tuesday is the day. December 8 is the “safe harbor” deadline by which all the states must resolve all election-related disputes. Then the electors vote next Monday, but that should be anti-climatic, because over the weekend, Biden was certified the winner in California, which gave him 279 electoral votes, and it doesn’t look right now as if electors are going to be replaced anywhere; the crazy-ass Republicans of Pennsylvania are up to something, but it looks like it’s mainly for show. So as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, it’ll basically be over.
Donald Trump will know it. He’ll try to pretend otherwise, even though it’s obvious to anyone with an IQ higher than the life expectancy in his beloved Russia that it’s all just a massive grift—a financial grift to get his bag-of-hammers-dumb supporters to pay off his debts, and a psychological grift of both his sucker admirers and the cowardly Republicans who know better but have the spines of amphibians and still won’t do something so basic as call Joe Biden the president-elect. (By the way, after Jan. 20, will they call him Mr. President? Sadly, this is a serious question.)
Trump knows. He knows he is a historic loser. And he is in pain. He’s humiliated. And I’m overjoyed. I’ve never been big on schadenfreude, but this is one occasion when it’s absolutely called for. Politics, like war, relies on both sides agreeing on a winner. When that breaks down, that's precisely when brutal mockery is in order, since that's still much more civil and preferable to endless rhetorical let alone martial conflict. So there’s never been anyone in American politics more deserving of total humiliation, and besides that, it’s important for the sake of this country’s future for decent people today to keep saying and saying how hideous the Trump era was. Memories, as we know, are all too short.
So that’s the serious part, but the fun part is: just enjoy this. Trump called Georgia Governor Brian Kemp over the weekend to beg him to do… I don’t know, something illegal. Kemp said no. Kemp is not exactly a hero of democracy, given that he rigged the vote in his own election against Stacey Abrams, purging more than 100,000 voters from the rolls. But here, he’s doing something honorable for a change.
I love to imagine Trump’s addled state of mind as he hung up that phone. Imagine: Someone said no to him! Someone told him there are rules. That apply to him! Someone who lives outside the Trump bubble of constant need for affirmation explained reality to him, didn’t coddle him like a little, weak, pathetic baby.
I love to picture him padding around the White House, looking at Lincoln’s this or TR’s that, and realizing that he’ll be moving out soon and not by his choice. He must be going insane. Lying, stealing, and cheating have gotten him everywhere in life; from Jamaica, Queens, to Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, and then to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But finally, he’s facing some accountability. And with any luck and some aggressive prosecutors, he’ll soon be facing more.
Everybody says he’s going to have the GOP wrapped around his finger for years to come. I’m not so sure. There’s a pretty big difference between being the president of the United States and not being that. Once you don’t have that power, things change. I watched some of his rally in Georgia on Saturday night. Yeah, he had he people, and they cheered. But it was pathetic. He was pathetic. These rallies will continue to draw the idiots who don’t realize he’s just conning them and using them because he can’t live without their unconditional adoration. But to the rest of the world, they are going to get old fast.
And at some point, some Republicans are going to start challenging him. This will take a few months, I suspect. And it may or may not succeed. Trump might still have that weird power over his base, and Larry Hogan or Marco Rubio or whoever it is who steps forward to challenge him may regret it. But it’s going to happen, and it’s going to put some dents in him.
In the meantime, the Democrats need to set the narrative of the Trump era. The pro-Trump right is going to start spinning immediately on Jan. 21 about how great the Trump years were. Democrats can’t ignore that. They have to keep up a constant counter-narrative. If they don’t, Trumpland is going to have millions of people convinced that the Trump years were good, especially if the economy hits a recession at some point. If Trump really is planning to run again, the Democrats have to spend four years reminding voters of every single awful thing Trump did.
For now, though, let’s just take some pleasure in watching the mad king dissolve into a puddle of rage. Might he do something dangerous? I don’t think he’ll start a war or anything. If he really does want to run again, he won’t start something that might turn into a big problem he’ll have to inherit in 2025 (that’s the reason for not having a war in Trumpland: It might be hard on him). I bet he signs a relief bill if Congress can agree to one. Again, it will be something that will reflect well on him in four years.
The crisis of Trumpism is not over. I fear we’re stuck with that for a long time to come. But it’s possible for that to be true, and this also to be true: that Trump himself is moving, and I think fast, from being someone we had to take seriously to someone who’s just a joke. For the first time in his life, reality has caught him and made a loser of him. And once that glass is shattered, and the bubble has been burst, spirits are unleashed that he can’t control. It’s my bet that there’s a lot more reality headed his way.