With just a few days remaining before America puts either a tomayto or a tomahto in the White House, we need to ask ourselves this question: win or lose, what can we expect from Donald Trump after election day?
It’s a sad reality that everything we feared about Trump’s unethical and immoral behavior has come to pass. Conservatism has been destroyed, the Fellowship of the Pharisees has been exposed as a group of cheap grace hustlers and cons, and Trump has recreated the GOP into his own nationalist image.
Equally sad is how, regardless of next week’s outcome, Trump and Trumpism will be with us long after next week’s election.
But before we turn the keys to the family truckster over to Donald Trump or Joe Biden — two equally deplorable and unqualified individuals — on January 20, 2021, America still has to complete Trump’s first-term journey. And we should buckle up for what will likely a bumpy, if not constitutionally catastrophic, commute from November 3 to inauguration day.
If Trump loses, the lame duck president would have an endless and frightening list of things he could do. Based on some of his past comments, he could:
- Pardon himself and family members for the “unfair” investigations he’s endured
- Resign and let Pence serve out the rest of his term, then grant Trump a pardon (ala Ford/Nixon)
- Rescind DACA and the DREAM Act by executive order followed by a blanket pardon to illegal aliens
- Continue working to invalidate the election entirely
But what if Trump beats Biden on election day? What might happen in a second Trump term? In a piece entitled The Middle Finger Election, Editor-at-Large Charlie Sykes at TheBulwark.com gives us his answer to that question.
As Axios reported “a win next week, no matter the margin, will embolden Trump to ax anyone he sees as constraining him from enacting desired policies or going after perceived enemies.”
He is already planning a festival of retribution, which includes firing FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel, and Defense Secretary Mark Esper, reports Axios. A safely re-elected Trump would also be unleashed to turn the Department of Justice into a weapon of political revenge.
He has already signaled his plans to gut much of the Civil Service, issuing an order “that strips job protections from employees in policy roles across the government.”
Beyond that? There is no second term economic plan. The debt and deficit? No idea at all. He will likely purge more medical experts and continue to wield his magical thinking against the coronavirus until we get a vaccine. Hundreds of thousands of Americans will die and the economy will be weighed down for years.
On immigration, expect more cruelty, as there be no one to dissuade Trump from his pet ideas that include things like sharpened spikes on his new Wall. He may pull out of NATO. The corruption will continue, and Republicans will look the other way.
And none of this will come as a surprise, because everyone will have understood what the election was really all about.
Sykes also points out how faux-conservatives in the media will be responsible for Trump’s second term. Using Ben Shapiro as an example, he shows how they have enabled Trump via their doublemindedness and capitulation to Trumpism.
In 2016, Shapiro posted a six-minute video on YouTube titled “Donald Trump is a Liar” followed by an article written a month later, “I Will Never Vote for Donald Trump: Here’s Why.” But in 2020, Shapiro will be backing Donald Trump on election day because “Democrats have lost their fucking minds.”
Sykes concludes his piece with these words:
With Trump, it can always get worse, because there is no bottom. In just four years, Trump has already made the conservative movement, dumber, crueler, more dishonest, and more extreme. Rationalization has turned to acceptance. As the toll rises from the pandemic the pro-life party increasingly behaves like a death cult.
Four years into his presidency, Trump can tweet conspiracy theories about Seal Team Six, and Republicans no longer even blink.
What will be the butcher’s bill for another four years of Trump’s denialism and flimflammery?
Two years of accommodating deception, cruelty and corruption, can be a temporary bargain.
In four years, it becomes a habit. In eight years, it becomes a culture.
In the 2020 election cycle, Trump and the GOP have been running on the recycled promises of past elections while attempting to scare voters into voting Republican to stop the advance of socialism. This is why Trump mentioned socialism in his 2019 State of the Union, and it’s why Mitch McConnell has promised to be a “firewall” against socialism.
But voters shouldn’t be fooled. Republicans are directly responsible for the rise of socialist ideology.
Regardless of the outcome in next week’s election day, Donald Trump has put America in a no-win situation. And that’s one more reason we need focus on local down-ballot candidates and issues to get things back on track.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable for their failure to uphold conservative values, and he promotes those values instead of political parties.