With two weeks left to go in the White House, Donald Trump’s presidency has devolved into a procession of denial, coercion and golf.
Donald Trump, US president for about another fortnight, has clearly just passed the “denial” part of his emotional stages of grief, or at least or whatever stage takes that slot in the emotional makeup of a deeply flawed man whose gamut of feelings runs a straight line from gloating to smug to bored to incandescent fury.
For weeks since the federal election last November he golfed and ignored the explosion of COVID-19 deaths in his country and golfed some more, confident that that election he comprehensively lost would be turned around by launching the sort of spurious legal battles which wore down his underpaid contractors during his “business” “career”.
And it’s all absolutely going to work! At least, if you listen to Trump or make the mistake of reading the Twitter feeds of people with MAGA in their username.
If you ignore things like the US Constitution, numbers, legal reality, and facts you’ll be aware that President Donald Trump not only didn’t lose the election he lost but is about to turn everything around any old second now. So-Called President-elect Joe Biden will be jailed for fraud! Hilary Clinton will be jailed for being an accessory to being Joe Biden! The election will be overturned on January 6! It’s all finally coming together!
‘I just want to find 11,780 votes’: President Trump told Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in an effort to overturn his defeat in the state in an hour-long call, audio recordings released by media outlets showed https://t.co/GeDaX7XDKK pic.twitter.com/TaaZW9nWtD
— Reuters (@Reuters) January 4, 2021
What links all of these massive Trump victories over his foes is that they are always juuuuuuuust around the corner. They’re never happening now, but they’re definitely happening tomorrow – which, as an adorable redheaded philosopher so told us in show-stopping song, is always a day away.
Trump fans maintain their unshakeable faith despite every single deadline for every single brilliant four-dimensional chess move has come and gone without the election result being rendered any less Biden-y, for they live in the perpetual present where Trump promises like Mexican Border Walls or the sudden and total disappearance of COVID-19 are clearly the work of sinister pro-Joe forces seditiously infiltrating one’s own memory.
Among the current last-ditch solutions are to have the military re-run the elections in the states Trump doesn’t like the results, which isn’t a thing the military can even do. Or it’s to get Vice President Mike Pence to not read out the election results for the states Trump didn’t win, in the mistaken belief that such silence would magically invalidate the already-validated counts.
And there have been the legal challenges, which have so far failed 60-odd times, using a diminishing pool of competent lawyers willing to launch cases of the type “I heard a thing from a guy, so now overturn the election result”.
Thus Trump has been forced to unleash his greatest superpower: hectoring people until they give him what he wants. And that’s why he’s been begging, cajoling and outright threatening Republican Brad Raffensberger, Georgia’s Secretary of State.
The transcript of his call is just extraordinary, not least because it has what reads like a very, very over-it Raffensberger responding to minutes of baseless accusations with “Well, Mr President, the challenge that you have is the data you have is wrong.“
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“All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state,” the president of the US demanded like a cross between a mob boss and Veruca Salt from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory prissily demanding an Oompa Loompa right now daddy, all the while still angrily insisting that he actually won the state by hundreds of thousands of votes despite three recounts, repeating baseless claims of fraud, and ominously warning Raffensberger that it would be “very dangerous” for him not to reverse the result.
And this would just be a hilarious piece of political Vaudeville, watching Trump take pie after pie in the crotch, were it not that a) thousands of Americans are literally dying of a disease which the Trump administration has ignored, underplayed and turned into a political football, and b) if Georgia was not about to hold two runoff elections which will either hand the senate to the Democrats or maintain under Republican control.
Those ballots are happening on Tuesday US time, at which point we’ll see whether having the President loudly scream THE ELECTION IS RIGGED AND YOU CAN’T TRUST THE GOVERNOR OR ANYONE CONDUCTING THE COUNT for weeks on end enhances the confidence of Republican voters in their participating in a representative democracy.
Because ultimately that’s what will determine the future of Trumpism in the GOP. Donnie’s legacy of presiding over preventable deaths, the eruption of open racism across the US and an unprecedented funnelling of public money to already-overfull pockets is entirely acceptable – but if he loses them both the Presidency and the Senate, expect the already muted support for Trump in the party to squeak out completely.
Maybe Donnie should just threaten to hold his breath until the election is called for him. It’s just about the only option he has left.