Quote: “Better to Rule in Hell than Serve in Heaven” (John Milton, Paradise Lost, 1667).
In the news: Criminal probes, legal fights await Trump after White House (Michael R. Sisak, AP, 11.20.20)
In context: The blitz of the Trump tenure has obscured the character of the America that elected Obama in 2008 and dumped Trump in 2020. The mangled Trump response to the Covid pandemic foreshadowed the downfall. The felicity of his ouster has been validated ever since that loss on a daily basis.
The title of “loser” is not new to Trump. He’s made a career of losing. He’s lost casinos, yachts, airplanes and sports teams, not to mention court cases and tons of money. The 2020 election, however, dealt him a blow he had never met. He lost “face” in the most humiliating way possible.
Throughout his career, Trump covered losses with blowhard tactics while recouping with more brazen ventures. When he took on America and its democracy, the loss of the project was the end of the final stop.Judging by his record in Office, the US presidency was just another project that Trump ran the same way as other businesses.
Regardless of hue and cry, he rolled over the Constitution as if it were a speeding ticket for someone to fix. The 2020 referendum on his performance was a speedbump that crushed his roadster.His response was to stubbornly redouble usual efforts, which in his position served only to prove why his election to the US presidency was a mistake in the first place.
The United States of America is a federal republic, held together by a central government with states retaining individual rights. Disputes over conflicting laws have been settled in courts, from the state level all the way up to the country’s Supreme Court. That Court heads up the Judicial branch of the central government, one of three set up by the Constitution.
Of the other two branches, the Legislative has been charged with making laws and the Executive with putting laws into practice. The three branches were meant to be a check on each other in the revolutionary stroke of genius that America would be a pioneer democracy..
Democracy in America probably began in the pioneer 1600’s when early arrivals decided who among them would fetch water in the wilderness. The person deemed most likely to succeed took up the challenge on behalf of the group. Given the times, the designate was probably a man, who went forward with blessings and returned to a hero’s welcome.
That 400-year historical tradition of America was massacred in four short years by Donald Trump, an antihero whose record reflected nothing more noble than self-interest.
By all accounts, his rise to the eminence of his current position was based on skills in knavery practiced upon successive power-brokers as he moved beyond New York to emerging capitols in the developing parts of a globalizing world.As chronicled in texts and media, the Trump expansion into ever broader foreign fields was fueled by the need to move on when his growing portfolio of failures and bad debt resulting from opportunistic overreach ran into limits. His success in the new arenas may have been born of a common interest in brokering deals under the radar. A boost into the Oval may have come from that business growth on a global scale.
Regardless of how Trump landed in the Oval Office, his win was a pyrrhic victory for both allies and foes. Nobody won.
Elected by the Electoral College technicality, Trump never achieved majority appeal. He himself was dogged by doubts about his legitimacy. Foreign leaders of all stripes were silenced by the terror of the mighty US powers in such fickle hands And while the entire world was on tenterhooks with Trump, it was the US Constitution that took a workout.
Trump won the 2016 election in large part because he sold himself as an “outsider” who would “drain the swamp” of Washington politics, which was supposedly keeping the American middle class from prospering. The grand promise soon proved empty.
Instead of returning, businesses left. Farms fell fallow under trade wars and the rich prospered with tax cuts. That reality dawned as the Washington “swamp” turned into a “cesspool.”
In the 250 years since its founding, America had evolved in line with the Constitution that established three branches of the central government to act as a check on each other. Quite naturally,, the branches had filled out since horseback days. In his signature branding style, Trump skipped over reality and labeled “good government” as “the deep state.”
As he had with other keynote projects, Trump appropriated the US that others had built, reshaped it for his own purposes and affixed his brand on the new package. He was well along in reshaping American democracy on the bold, gaudy Trump scale when the 2020 election pulled the plug on his marquee ambition.
For three years he had gotten away with violating every Constitutional norm that got in his way. He had fired every one of the “best people” he had brought into office and had escaped impeachment despite the testimony of the most credible American hero witnesses. He had gotten away with firing those heroes for spite and with replacing them from a trove of Trump loyalists to the Trump motto that government was a tool for self-servers who are able to grab it.
Trump had never made a secret of those naked ambitions and apparently that was a big part of his attraction for his base supporters. The quality was seen as refreshingly honest in a politician. The view missed the point that the leader of the free world with the mighty US presidential powers at his disposal needed needed skills beyond those of a mere politician, even a good one. In the hands of a quack conman, those powers proved stressful for the world and deadly when the Covid pandemic hit.
By Covid time, however, the base had become totally enamored of its antihero US President. Like a toxic love object, Trump bound his subjects closer with every insult that outraged objective outsiders. By the time of Covid, in fact, with Trump in the Presidency, the “outsiders” had become the “insiders” ruling the country.
The Covid pandemic was a physical phenomenon subject to the laws of nature most familiar to scientists. As with laws of any sort, Trump declared himself immune. Science-based directives became bowling pins to be struck down in an Olympic battle for control.
Science called for minimizing contagious spread. Trump vacillated between labeling Covid a hoax and calling for a vaccine to be produced at “warp speed.”
Months of predictable devastation and chaos ensued before thr 2020 election pulled the plug on the Trump bowling alley. That unleashed the full fury of the Trump America years.
The 2008 electio of Barack Obama as the western industrialized world’s first non-white president was a groundbreaking victory for teh US. Trump seized teh opportunity to head up a backlash through the conservative Republican party. Reluctant at first, the party went gung-ho once Trump became a winner. Once Trump lost in 2020, he turned on everybody, including the Republicans and the Trump-loyal base that kept the Republicans tethered to Trump.
Not surprisingly, Trump refused to concede defeat. :Lawsuits flew like arrows from a quiver, only to be laughed out of courts. Recounts taxed a Covid-weary nation as Covid spiked in daily rolling records, primarily in the Heartland states where the majority of the Trump base lived. That phenomenon illustrated most concretely the downside of putting the mighty US Presidential powers into the hands of a self-serving opportunist destined to lose the ill-gotten bounty he had managed to amass.
The 2008 election of Barack Obama as the western industrialized world’s first non-white president was a stunning victory for America and the globalizing world. Trump seized the opportunity for a backlash by snagging the US conservative party whose initial resistance gave way to an inevitable win. The party rode the winning streak until the 2020 dump. Then when in fury Trump turned on everyone, sanity rose to the surface like cream in a chruner.
The US 2020 election was a sterling feat under the most challenging circustances. States with diverse rules for voting scrambled to extend opportunities to vote within Covid guidelines. When Trump defied the outcome, states pushed back. They stood up for their integrity within the federal system of government that bound the republic of states into one. Torn and wounded, American democracy emerged as the victor.
Donald Trump has not yet gone but the 2020 election that dumped him removed the venom from his self serving fangs. The simple democracy of the early settlers has prevailed through the complexities of teh modern age. Most significantly, democratic decency rallied against a hostile takeover by an unscrupulous self-server.
The beacon of democracy has proved its worth to lead a world faced with real challenges that can be addressed onto with concerted effortt. Through its 2020 struggle with Donald Trump, America has proved that the old world of the dictator is doomed worldwide.