Last December, during a political discussion on an MTA bus in downtown Baltimore, an older gentlemen remarked: “It’s not Trump I’m worried about as much as the 63 million who voted for him.”

Now the count is 70 million.

I am as happy as any Biden-Harris supporter today. I can’t wait until Inauguration Day and Trump is out of the White House. But here’s the thing: Trump is not going anywhere. He just scored more than 70 million votes, and he’s not even conceding the race to Biden. Armed supporters of the defeated president amassed at state capitol buildings around the country on Saturday.

My Sunday column in The Baltimore Sun discussed Gov. Larry Hogan’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic in Maryland; he gets a somewhat mixed review, but is generally regarded as sensible and competent by a majority of Marylanders. People have spoken to Hogan about running for president in the Republican primaries of 2024. But, really, unless Trump goes to prison — or flees the country to avoid extradition — there is no path forward for Hogan or any other Republican who presents as a moderate. (They are only really moderate in comparison with Trump.) And even if Trump is in Allenwood in 2023 or 2024, I can see another extremist and demagogue taking his place because, evidently, that’s what half the country wants.

We should try to be optimistic — Biden has a plan for dealing with the deadly pandemic and the battered economy, and ambitious ideas for getting the country back to the important business of climate change. But I don’t see the red hats going anywhere; millions of Trump supporters, already suckers to his elaborate con, will continue to believe his protests that the election was stolen. These people evidently love conspiracy theories, and they love Trump. So they’ll continue to support him. They’ll consider him merely in exile for four years.

And, again, barring indictment, Trump will be around for a long time. He’ll be noisy. He’ll work with McConnell and the Senate to block Biden’s initiatives. Trump will likely have a regular gig on FOX to spew vicious and false attacks against the Democrats, which means the alternate reality he’s created will remain in the atmosphere.

So, pardon my pessimism, but I don’t see how any of this goes away any time soon. Seventy million Americans were OK with Trump’s incompetence, cruelty and racism. I don’t know what else they get from him or from Republicans generally. In a few days, the Supreme Court will hear the Trump-supported argument to wipe away the Affordable Care Act, possibly depriving tens of millions of our fellow Americans of health insurance in the midst of the pandemic. Trump presided over the largest net loss of jobs under any president since those records have been kept, dating back to 1939. Are real wages better? (Only moderately, and less than under Obama). Did the enormously generous tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations create new jobs at higher wages? (No, and you can see why at this link.) Didn’t we take a walk on international leadership on climate change? Yes. Didn’t Trump speak and behave like the autocrat he apparently wants to be, and doesn’t he have 191 enablers in the House, 53 in the Senate — a Republican majority being still possible after the January runoffs in Georgia — and thousands and millions more all across the land?

I hope Joe Biden and Kamala Harris can lead us to a better place, but the forces working against a reset of American ideals still look clear, powerful and present.

7 thoughts on “Barring prison or flight, Trump will still be with us and pose a threat

  1. With a saddened heart I have to agree. What I fear most is the influence Trump still has over the Senate. With over 70 million voters on the side of Trump the GOP Senators will not risk losing that backing which in turn will lead McTurtle and the others to buck any attempt from President-Elect Biden to pass urgent and very important bills and/or laws. This will force Biden to make ( what Trump has made a common act) an enormous amount of executive orders, looking as though Biden is keeping a partisan attitude when in reality he will be trying to do what is best for the country and not for his personal gain. Our best chance to a pathway to mending the harm done to our nation is to hope for a double victory in the Georgia senate runoffs.

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  2. Good Morning,I’m a Trump supporter.I’m not going to apologize for it I’ll be honest about my feelings about Biden posing as our next President.I don’t feel that he’s mentally or physically capable for the challenging position.Now that’s where Ms. Harris comes into to play.I must admit that she’s one very,clever woman! Let’s be realistic for a moment ! Who knows how she really feels about Biden? In my opinion,Ms. Harris definitely has her eyes on the big prize! In closing, I want a better future for all of children/grandchildren!!!

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    1. Equalizer88…. There is no need for you to apologize. First, you are entitled to your opinion. Second, you have expressed it well, in words, without guns, without violence. Wanting a better future for children and grandchildren is hardly offensive.
      I have great concern over Biden’s age and condition, but I have great concern over Trump’s age and condition too. I’m not sure we should permit persons who are 70+ to run for President. Ronald Reagan was rather feeble mentally in his 2nd term as he began to suffer from dementia. Trump has a quirky inability to speak English in complete sentences, often repeating himself and occasionally contradicting himself in the same sentence. I recall once he said something like this: “I don’t think teachers should have guns in schools, but, frankly, sometimes they should have guns. ” Biden is cautious and thinks before he speaks and thinks before he acts, and that is an improvement.
      As to Harris having the ambition to be President, if that is the case, it would hardly be the first time a vice-president wanted to become President. In our lifetimes, Nixon was a VP. Johnson was a VP. (he was thrust into the Presidency by assassination, but he had run for President). Gore was a VP. Dole was a VP. Biden was a VP. It’s rather common for the VP to want to move up to President when the opportunity is there.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Dan,I truly respect your opinion,but come on now.You can be brutally honest with us.You know that in your heart of hearts/soul that you also agree on Ms. Harris’s goals!!! In closing, there’s no shame in her game!

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  3. Great post. I agree with you completely. The resentments and demographic panic that fueled Trumpism will not disappear any time soon, especially if right-wing media continue to exploit these fears for profit and GOP politicians obstruct and delegitimize the Biden Administration. To quote Churchill after the Battle of Britain: “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. It is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” – But only if we keep fighting.

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