Less than two months remain until the election. At a time when seem to be anxious, my concerns aren’t directed toward the Presidency but rather toward more mundane and immediate concerns like my community’s reaction to COVID-19. This is not because I trust the American people; rather, it is because I trust Trump.
I trust him to be the same horrid person he’s always been. He is living down to those expectations.
The latest revelations of top administration officials forcing changes to intelligence reports, making them shift documents to hype the potential dangers of antifa and diminish concerns about Russia, are nothing more than the latest iteration of “sharpiegate”. Trump says something, and his underlings scramble to make it happen.
This is hardly a new development under Trump. Books on Presidencies past tell of staffers scrambling to cover for gaffes and errors made by Commanders-in-Chief. The differences are in magnitude: both the size and frequency of the mistakes. The shiftiest former Presidents have attempted to hide the truth from their political opponents and the American people. Trump doesn’t bother; he merely declares a new truth and expects his minions to follow along.
This trait is to be his undoing. It is September of an election year. This is when people are traditionally said to start paying attention, and at some times that is correct; now, it is not. People have been paying attention for months, albeit usually to a woefully limited quantity of sources. What is happening this time is that people are starting to assess their situation. They are asking themselves, “Am I better off?” and they weighing their answers against their fears about various politicians.
This is why both Republicans and Democrats are stoking fears about their opponents right now. It is also at the core of why I am convinced that Trump is going to lose.
I’m not saying this from a position of appreciation for Biden; I’ve repeatedly made clear that I have serious problems with the man, based on his long history in office. Rather, I’m recognizing that every flaw he exhibits is on display to a much greater extent in Trump. There is nothing team Trump can present about Biden which does not reflect worse on Trump.
That drawback can be balanced in a limited way with Trump’s bully pulpit, which is being regularly abused. He calls conferences to demand the press’ attention, then accuses Biden of not campaigning seriously. But Biden, so far, has not responded with any mock bravado such as threatening to punch Trump in the nose or encouraging people to shoot through doors; he has remained on message, promoting a story of unity and hope… and in so doing, dissipating some of the fear the Republicans are trying to generate over him.
This is all known and expected. What has been ignored by many, because we’ve lived through much of it and have grown calloused, is the effect of Trump’s daily repudiation of reality.
Trump’s methodology has resulted in daily abuses up and down the chain of command. These are the stories which are being released now… whether from the top, in the form of books by Bolton, Woodward, Cohen and others, or from the bottom, in the form of whistleblowers and news reports. The deluge of corruption stories hasn’t culminated, it’s just beginning, and it was as predictable as October following September.
The election isn’t a lock, but Trump cannot win it. The only way he retains the Presidency is for Biden to lose it… to have such a catastrophic performance over the last two months as to make people feel more comfortable with Trump than him. Bad debate performances won’t do it. A gaffe or ten won’t do it. Allegations of corruption won’t do it. A loss will require consistent failure on at least one topic, probably many, and Biden is showing no signs of failure.
I’m looking ahead to what happens after the election, because I don’t see Trump winning it and I don’t believe that the Republican machine will accept massive voter fraud to keep him in office in perpetuity… too many of them have predicated their decisions on having power for four more years, and while I don’t trust them to protect the Constitution, I do believe they would not willingly cede all authority by signing off on direct election fraud.
It’s an unusual feeling for me, this confidence, being this far out from election day… more odd still because I truly don’t like or trust the person who I believe is going to be the next President. But I believe he’s going to be superior in every way to the current officeholder, and that’s at least movement in the right direction. For a person who’s been figuratively tearing his hair out for four years, it’s a very calming place to be.