The Coup That Wasn’t

Donald Trump Golfing. Photo by Steve Jurvetson.

President Trump is trying to overturn the results of the election. This effort is being conducted for him in broad view of the American people and the world. He has challenged, without evidence beyond the level of second-hand and very self-serving rumors (many of which were seeded well before the election), the validity of the election itself. He has spoken with legislators and election officials to suggest they ignore the popular vote in their states and simply work to retain him, instead. He has replaced key personnel at the Pentagon and the intelligence services. All of this is designed to present the image of a man who actually won, and is going to refuse to leave.

He wants this image because it enables his fundraising efforts. In reality, he’s going to leave. There is no coup, nor is there going to be one. There was never any real chance at one. It was illusion, a farce for the rubes which was hyped by his media supporters and echoed by politicians who wish to maintain the good graces of the ignorant populists in their party.

The latest rumor is that he plans to announce his candidacy for 2024 as he leaves office, in an effort to steal some of Biden’s spotlight. This is a highly plausible scenario. Trump loves attention and he recognizes that attention, particularly now, is tied to money.

What people often forget is that he doesn’t care about ideology.

Trump will announce a run for 2024. If he decides he cannot succeed, he will instead promote one of his children… probably Ivanka, based on the current puff pieces… as an heir apparent, and travel with them to conduct rallies. This is in part because he thrives on adulation and in part because it is a good way to rake in donations.

He is not going to do this to promote the xenophobic populism which is “Trumpism”. He doesn’t care about that, nor does he care about a political legacy. His ego is too dominant a force in what passes for a personality; he likely believes his legacy is already cemented as one of the greatest Presidents ever, if not the paragon of officeholders. What he cares about are money and power.

Misunderstanding this is what led to many Republicans believing that he would simply play golf during his time in office and leave the actual difficulty of running the country to Pence. This is Trump; he instead played golf and simply assumed running the country was easy. His time in office is a string of rash decisions and gladhanding with virtually no time spent learning the details behind any event or policy. In many cases he simply deferred to America’s enemy leaders because he viewed them as his rare equals on the international field.

This is why Trumpism has typically seemed incoherent. It is. It is a philosophy of “Trump’s gut feeling”, that is all. Ultimately, the people who cheer on Trumpism care far more about it than Trump himself.

Trump is announcing, not because he necessarily cares about being President (although he loves the title, the perks, the campaigning and especially the attention) but because he wants what comes from being perceived as a serious contender for the office: money.

Trump’s properties have historically been targeted to the wealthy. This presents a problem for a President who has positioned himself as the spokesman not just for the common man, but for the downtrodden. His greatest fans, his cultists, come from what would traditionally be described as average people and while those people are not necessarily stupid, they are generally not exceptionally wealthy.

Trump can raise a lot of money directly from them in the same way that televangelists have grown wealthy by fleecing the faithful, but his fans aren’t likely to be regular attendees at his clubs and hotels, nor renting offices or apartments in Trump Tower. There are only so many parties that Scott Baio and Kirk Cameron can attend before it becomes obvious they’re not bringing the rest of the entertainment industry with them.

Trump is announcing because he wants the Hillary effect: he wants to be seen (or for one of his children to be seen) as, if not an inevitable President, a likely one. From that perception he hopes to gain donations from foreign governments and large corporations expecting to buy favors from the second Trump Presidency. He’s demonstrated the family is for sale, and he’s putting out his shingle for offers.

Such activity would be the reward he wants: he’d be treated respectfully by influential people around the world, his liquid assets would be at the levels to which he’d previously pretended, and he wouldn’t have people pestering him for decisions all the time. He can be the backup quarterback, the one that is assumed to have all the answers, while getting a better salary than the quarterback on the field. The Clintons played that game for more than fifteen years and went from low-level millionaires to the ranks of the ultrawealthy because of it. Trump saw this, as one of Clinton’s pals, and he wants in on that action.

The best response to this will hopefully come from the Attorney for the SDNY, with charges for Trump and the family. But even absent that, Trump can see his simplistic, transparent plans go up in smoke if people simply stop giving him attention and support any efforts to minimize his influence within the party.

There is a serious risk that populism remains a significant force within the Republican party, which is as good an argument for remaining independent as any I’ve heard. But Trump himself can be sidelined, and doing so would shatter his dream of making a fortune in the post-Presidency. With the damage he’s wreaked, I think such an effort is worth pursuing across the months ahead… especially as it would require me to stop paying much attention to the dullard, which perfectly aligns with my desires.

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.