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The Lost Cause of the Trumpocracy

Summary:
Donald Trump's insistent denial of reality following his loss in the 2020 US presidential election threatens to do still more damage to American democracy, even though it comes as no surprise. Like the southerners who never could get over their loss in the American Civil War, Trump has nothing left but his own mythomania. WASHINGTON, DC – Joe Biden’s clear defeat of President Donald Trump, announced on Saturday, November 7 after four days of counting, is – a week later – still not enough for Trump to affirm Biden’s victory. Biden’s win supposedly ended what had been called the most consequential US election of modern times, but for reasons of his own, Trump is still holding out. How to

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Donald Trump's insistent denial of reality following his loss in the 2020 US presidential election threatens to do still more damage to American democracy, even though it comes as no surprise. Like the southerners who never could get over their loss in the American Civil War, Trump has nothing left but his own mythomania.

WASHINGTON, DC – Joe Biden’s clear defeat of President Donald Trump, announced on Saturday, November 7 after four days of counting, is – a week later – still not enough for Trump to affirm Biden’s victory. Biden’s win supposedly ended what had been called the most consequential US election of modern times, but for reasons of his own, Trump is still holding out.

Under the guise of insisting that he was the victim of voter fraud – he has been advertising for months that he’d make this argument if he lost – Trump is denying Biden, and the country, the chance to begin an orderly transition of power. That Biden is the most experienced person in modern history to enter the presidency will help, but he faces the toughest situation confronting a new president since Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in 1933, in the midst of the Great Depression. Given the raging pandemic and economic collapse, Biden’s challenge may even be more difficult.

Most of Trump’s opponents recognize that the election didn’t fulfill their ardent desire for an overwhelming repudiation of a president they despise. They must also face the fact that Trump retains an exceptionally large following. Almost ten million more people voted for Trump this time around than in 2016. The Democrats fared much worse in the elections for the Senate and the House of Representatives than the polls had predicted (they were wrong again), with the Senate probably remaining in the hands of the Republican master strategist Mitch McConnell – unless the Democrats sweep two run-off elections to be held in Georgia in early January.

The most alarming conclusion about Trump’s presidency is how perilously close the United States came to a breakdown of its constitutional system. If Trump had succeeded in his efforts to reverse the election (clearly futile from the outset), US democracy could have been destroyed. So perhaps...

Elizabeth Drew
Contributor to New Republic, Daily Beast, Project Syndicate, Nation (book reviews). Fifteen books, including reissue of Washington Journal, Nixon & Watergate.

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