The Past Repeats Itself

One of the problems with Donald Trump is that you never can be sure he means what he says or believes his own words. Can his most recent musings be taken seriously/

If you remember 2016, Trump suggested before the vote that if he lost the election it was because the results had been rigged. This came at a time when the polls suggested Hillary Clinton would win handily.

Polls are a snapshot in time, and should always be taken with a grain of salt. Trump himself doesn’t believe them, unless they happen to reinforce what he already believes.

I seem to recall (and am too lazy to look up) Trump saying he wouldn’t accept the results if he lost, that they were obviously rigged. Now, with another election looming and trailing once more in the polls, he is saying it again.

This time though the words are more problematic. In 2016 Citizen Trump would have had legal recourse if he felt there were election irregularities. The options available to President Trump should he lost in 2020 are far more disturbing.

There is a transition period between the November vote and the swearing-in of the new president in January. Should Trump lose, he will still be president in that time, still commander-in-chief of the armed forces, still able to rule by presidential decree with almost no restraint.

I don’t want to put on the record some of the possibilities I have been imagining. All of them would involve a constitutional crisis in the United States such as the country has never seen before.

When a new president is sworn in, Trump would cease to have authority. However there is a lot of damage he could do in the intervening ten weeks.

Of course that may just be idle speculation. Trump may be re-elected in November. His standing in the polls can be misleading as the US doesn’t really have a national election – it is the Electoral College that matters, as the country discovered in 2016. The Republicans are adept at getting their supporters to the polls.

It could also be bluster. Trump could lose and decide to go quietly after an orderly transition to the new administration.  He has carefully crafted his persona to the point where neither friend nor foe knows what he will do next. He sees an advantage in keeping people off-balance.

As an observer I am looking forward to seeing how it all plays out. If I was an American I would be uneasy at best, and maybe even a little scared for the future of  my country.

Maybe the pundits were right and Donald Trump is a threat to democracy. But only if he loses.

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