So, Trump is the kind of idiot who can’t handle losing, but is too megalomaniacal to notice when he doesn’t have a chance. In addition, part of the original allure of Trump was that he was a winner, and that was only enhanced by pro-incumbent bias in the electorate.
So, now Trump is going out a loser and many people are hoping they’ll never have to think about him ever again. I beg to differ. I want to see him back in 2024, and if necessary in 2028.
As bad as he is, and as much as a bit of lustre may have been removed by losing to Biden, the hard right base is going to continue to believe in him fervently. Part of it will be that they don’t believe he “lost” because they’ll believe this election doesn’t count. Cheating after all, y’know? But a good bit will be that only part of his lustre is gone. He’s still the hateful, spiteful fascist for which the hard right longs. He’s still an overt strongman type, and the hard right craves a strong leader.
So, and hear me out, whoever thinks he’s lost some lustre is not the left, who never liked him, and not the hard right, who will love him obsequiously for eternity. So the ones for whom he’s lost lustre have to be the center and center-right.
Assuming that’s true 3 years from now, he can easily trounce any opposition in the GOP presidential primary in 2024, but he won’t be able to do as well in the 2024 general as he did this time out with the benefits of incumbency and with his reputation as a winner still intact. Trump continuing to dominate the GOP holds them stagnant and useless while their reputation continues to grow worse and worse for having hitched themselves in an ongoing way to Trump even after his horrific failures.
The never-Trump Republicans, of course, will resent him and vilify him and berate the party members who continue to carry his water. But the mainstream media will continue to resent him for how he reminds them of their own failures to champion the truth (when that is literally journalism’s only job) because they were too busy creating a bothsides/ horse race narrative and to champion conservatism (literally the only job of 2/3rds of pundits) because they were too busy defending Trump to have a chance to articulate a coherent conservatism.
I articulated just recently my belief that lefties won’t win, but that in the face of an inability to win control the control freaks among politicians and the electorate will retreat, will effectively declare defeat whether the lefties declare victory or not. This piece read together with that one, should help anyone to understand why I think it’s not ultimately a bad thing for Trump to return to the national scene in 2024. Trump would win the GOP nomination again and would lose the election again. But unlike the majority of cowardly GOP candidates, Trump is unable to back down. He would carry the GOP banner forward on several fronts, all of them naked attempts to control others, to exact revenge through dominance.
Where other GOP candidates might lead marginal, slow retreats at the edges of their failures, Trump would charge. The other GOP candidates might, in their tentative, cowardly approaches to fascism, keep the party alive longer. Perhaps not attempting so many frightening deeds, but still alive, still armed, still dangerous.
Ah, but the full charge demanded by a renominated Trump? If you’ll forgive the moaning protest of the bar, he could drive them onward but only halfway. He would ride them into storms of shot and shell, then save himself from the jaws of death with his troops in the mouth of hell.
To put it in terms of another lesson learned not far away, the Left and the Democrats can never succeed in imposing de-Baathification. But Trump, the quintessential cowardly strongman, will surely destroy the Baathists from the inside. If we leave him to fight these bloodless battles every four years, he will (politically) kill anyone strong enough to challenge him, promise victory after victory that he cannot deliver, and then, when he has thoroughly gutted his party of all hope and strength, attempt to pass on the party to his children only for the party faithful to find that none of them are the successor strongman they seek, because Trump would never have tolerated the survival of a family member with the ability to command their own cult, to rival his power.
It took Hitler 12 years and the military occupation of Germany to thoroughly disempower the Nazis. With no direct military victories, Trumpism might last as long as or even longer than Nazism. But it cannot survive the loss of Trump, who is in his 70s and in no great state of health (not least as someone who can expect lingering complications from acute COVID-19) and who might, though they haven’t been noticed yet, have limits to the overweening confidence that allowed him to mount quixotic campaigns for this or that policy which he could never succeed in implementing, and which would be similarly necessary to mount increasingly futile presidential campaigns.
So sooner or later, Trump will retire or die a natural, not political, death. The more damage he has done to the GOP before that happens, the more likely a truly functional government of the USA can finally emerge.
So soldier on, Trump! Claim fraud if you must. Keep your troops loyal to your cult of personality and they will be unable to simultaneously act to aid the survival and power of an independent Republican party. Urge your brigade on. Rule your Baathists with terror, with loathing, with incoherent whim. Let not a single principle remain to the party, as that principle might constrain you and your only law, your only principle is that you personally must never be contradicted, never be restricted, never be checked.
I am proudly antifascist, but in the unique circumstance of a democratic country that won’t quite let fascism come to full power – a necessary condition I now hope we may be able to maintain – you are more threat to American fascists than I could hope to be.
Half a league, Trump. Half a league onward.