Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The presidency is leaving Trump - but it's going to be ugly

Quote of the Day: “Our system’s magic is this: on January 21st, Donald Trump doesn’t leave the presidency. The presidency leaves him.” - Rick Wilson.

Here is some more of Rick Wilson’s essay at the Daily Beast: Trump’s Final Hissy Fit Is Petty, Illegal and Stupid. Joe Biden will be the 46th president of the United States. We’re done. It’s all over but the weeping and rending of MAGA garments.

I want to be clear about one important thing. Joe Biden will be the 46th president of the United States. We’re done. It’s all over but the weeping and rending of MAGA garments.

Even if Donald Trump chains his ample ass to the golden toilet in the White House residence, it won’t matter. As amusing as the thought of seeing a half-naked Trump dragged by his bespurred heels out of the White House residence is, we won’t be granted that particular pleasure. His acute fear of humiliation will prevent our acute delight in seeing it. Oh, he’ll grump and preen and pretend he’s not leaving, but he’s leaving. For good.

Our system’s magic is this: on January 21st, Donald Trump doesn’t leave the presidency. The presidency leaves him.

But between now and then, it’s getting ugly and I am here for all of it.

Even the Dear Leader’s formerly loyal Ministry of Propaganda and Correct Thinking at Fox News has seen the writing on the wall, and it’s been delicious. The dawning sense of betrayal in Trump World that Fox has slipped from their control has shaken MAGAmerica to its core. Fox News has stubbornly done some—wait for it—news reporting in the last few days, and man is Trump pissed. Although Fox helped build the consensual sensory deprivation tank Trump followers hide in, the bond with Trump is broken. They’ve refused to un-call states that were called for Biden, reported that Trump’s assertions of massive voter fraud are false, and even cut off Trump guests in mid-lie.

Rupert Murdoch is clearly done with Trump and out of fucks to give about him, surprising viewers, including Trump, who expected fellation over facts. I can’t blame them for being upset; imagine what it’s like when five years of magical thinking are suddenly shattered. Even the Friendly Friends at Fox & Friends are off the reservation. Can Lou Dobbs be far behind?

Is this a preview of the coming Trump TV-Fox war? Maybe. But in the short term, it is so utterly riveting I would pay for it on pay-per-view.

The blizzard of bullshit and lawsuits emanating from Trump’s pet law firms Jones Day and Porter Wright will only intensify in the coming days, along with leaks from lawyers at those firms. Like the gambling day-trader he’s always been, Trump is trying to lawyer his way out of an untenable situation. He’s not getting home on it. Judges are laughing them out of their courtrooms.

If this were some Third World despot’s collapse of power, Trump would be ordering his last few loyal aides to load the blood diamonds, bearer bonds, and bullion into the presidential getaway jet. They’d race to the airport for a last-minute escape before the rebel army seized the field, taking with him only a loyal cadre of bodyguards and his second and third most attractive mistresses.

Instead, he’s spending his last days in power on a public hissy fit to keep the General Services Administration from beginning its legal duties in the transition. That move is Trumpism distilled from its purest from: petty, illegal, and stupid in equal measures.

And on a wholesale firing of defense and intelligence officials. That began with Defense Secretary Mark Esper, pushed out in an act of Trumpian revanchism against the supposed Deep State—which means any adult who values their oath of office over bending the knee to Trump, a president who always puts the national security interest of our enemies ahead of our own. Expect more of this in the coming days as the Stephen Miller-Richard Grenell faction makes a play to permanently discredit members of the intelligence community and disrupt the Biden transition.

What frightens the Trump White House most is that Biden is moving competently, steadily, and sanely to appropriately assemble a transition, starting with a crack team of scientists, epidemiologists, public health experts, and others who will provide an unaccustomed professional approach to COVID. Americans admire Anthony Fauci, but he’s quite clearly been sidelined by Trump’s pet charlatan, Scott Atlas, who is willing to kill a few million Americans to prove his garbage herd immunity theory.

Like holy water to a vampire, methodically assembling a transition operation meant to do things, address problems, and serve the American people is utterly anathema to Trumpworld.

So Trump will posture, shit-tweet, rage, and promise fell and terrible legal and political consequences to all who oppose him. He’ll declare victory even as he sinks beneath a wave of ballots in a dozen states.

I will tell you once again: It won’t work. The transition will occur and Trump’s lackeys, ball-washers, and assorted minions will get shit-canned along with Trump himself.

Here, via Charlie Sykes writing in The Bulwark, is that wave. He asks How Alarmed Should We Be?.

First, consider the numbers. Given that recounts rarely, if ever, yield more than a couple of hundred votes, it’s hard to see how this picture will change much, if at all.

Manu Raju
@mkraju
Biden’s current lead over Trump:
Georgia - 10,621 votes
Arizona - 17,131 votes
Wisconsin - 20,539 votes
Nevada - 36,186 votes
Pennsylvania - 45,063 votes
Michigan - 147,896 votes

Bush’s 2000 lead over Gore in Florida: 537 votes

BUT …

What Republicans think they are doing versus what they are really doing.

I suspect that the vast majority of elected Republicans know that Trump has lost. By delaying admitting that, they imagine they are simply buying themselves time, creating some space for Trump to come to terms with his defeat. They are hoping that the inevitable court rulings provide them cover to acknowledge Joe Biden’s win.

In reality, though, they are feeding the narrative that American democracy is no longer legitimate. This is not just about Joe Biden. The long-term implications will be a corrosive undermining of faith in the American system.

This is the final, but perhaps the greatest of Trump’s violation of norms, shattering centuries of bipartisan understanding of the necessity of maintaining faith in democratic systems in the peaceful transfer of power.

In case you think this is an overstatement, the reality is that tens of millions of Americans now will believe that the next president is illegitimate because the election was stolen.

Then, of course, there is the bottomless cynicism of Mitch McConnell:

Robert Costa
@costareports
Based on my convos with Rs over wknd, most everything McConnell does from here on isn’t about January 20th (inauguration day & working with Biden) but January 5th (the Georgia run-off elections). To win the latter, Rs believe the base must be stoked, esp in a fast-changing state.

Finally, also from Sykes, Donald Trump’s Last (?) Big Lie

Aaron L. Friedberg and Gabriel Schoenfeld in today’s Bulwark:

The president’s allegations are profoundly dangerous and could serve to destabilize our entire system of government. The ability to transfer power peacefully is a singular achievement of our political order. Its success depends on the confidence that people have in the fairness of the electoral system. With millions of Trump’s followers believing his charges, that confidence has been placed in jeopardy, setting the stage for truly dangerous confrontations in the short term and potentially shattering much of the nation’s faith in our system of government over the longer term.

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