Bye, Trump!

(This is a repost from Facebook – why did I post it there instead of here? I do not know. But it belongs here, so here it is. It’s also a faintly ironic read, considering that after I posted it, Trump has continued to protest his electoral loss.)

Bye, Trump!

It is with an almost palpable joy that I read that President Trump started the transition to Joe Biden.

I think in many ways my fear was that he’d declare himself the winner by fiat, even now, despite not really thinking he’d go that far.

I guess that’s why I’m glad to see him gone, even though I cannot really admire his replacement or Joe Biden: I don’t trust Donald Trump. He’s not been as tragic a President as many have painted him – there’ve been good things for many people, and that’s how it usually goes for every President – but with Trump there’s always been a lurking fear that the lizard-person hiding within the bloated shell would emerge and show us the values he’s always told us he had.

A transition means the Trump term in office is finally at a close. Finally.

Now the hope is that his age and experience in office overwhelm his pride somehow – and he goes away, politically, to fade into memory. My greatest fear is that Trump will return in 2024, or inspire politicians of any persuasion by his methods.

That last isn’t really a fear; it’s an existential dread. And worse than that: it’s not just politicians. You see evidence of Trump’s mindset in the rank and file of every party; read Facebook and you’ll see it on any post dealing with politics. What’s terrible and tragic is that the evidence of Trump’s mindset isn’t an indicator of political party; you see it just as much in “blue” as you do in “red.”

Hint, people: we’re not “blue” or “red.” We’re human. As soon as you decide you cannot associate with someone else because of their politics or skin color or what invisible being they believe in – or don’t – you’re saying “blue” or “red” is more important. It’s not. Maybe you just decided you can’t associate with me. C’est la vie. Good luck out there!

I imagine Biden will surprise me much as Trump has; I can imagine so many realistic scenarios for his term that most results would fall under the “I thought that might happen” heading, starting with “The House begins efforts to remove him from office in February 2021” to “He turns out to be the first successful isolationist President of the century.” (Let it be the last, please!)

I mostly hope that Biden is a weak President. Let Congress resume its actual power and responsibility, not as opposition to the Executive branch but as the representatives of the people; let Congress govern instead of restrain.

That’s been Congress’ great failure under Trump, actually, and where Trump was strongest. Trump drew clear lines. They were not good lines, but clear ones.

He even asked Congress straight up to fix those lines: when he said he’d refuse to extend DACA, he said rather clearly that he wanted Congress to make DACA into law. He said he’d sign it as soon as it hit his desk… and Congress punted, being consumed with its own version of “Orange Man Bad” and trying to get rid of someone whose primary function in office seemed to be to beg for Congress to limit that office and the damage it could do.

Way to go, Congress.

I will not miss Trump, I hope. I really hope we don’t look at a President Harris in early 2022 and think “hey, Trump’s version of zero tolerance was better.” (Trump’s “zero tolerance” crap … I … no.) I really hope we don’t see Trump mess with political weathervanes in the future; my desperate hope is that he retreats to his golf courses and limits his influence to mulligans on every rough. Let him start his own cable news network, if he likes, and let all four thousand viewers stew in his particular miasma if they like.

I am willing to let him have his own private island, just like I am willing to accept a Biden/Harris ticket to make him go away.

But please, let it end there: let Trump and the division he inspired and could not heal pass away. Let us unite behind an American President and stop yowling at each other over who we did, or didn’t, vote for. Let us see each other as members of the human tribe, despite our failures and flaws, and together we can actually grow.

Let us grow.

The Republicans just lost the Presidency for 2016.

Right now, it looks like Donald Trump is going to be the Republican nominee for President of the United States. This will have the effect of punting the Presidency straight into the Democratic Party, even if they nominate Hillary Clinton – who is, for better or for worse, one of the less likable candidates they’ve tried to offer in quite some time.

I think this is a pretty solid assertion, and it’s based on my observations of some of the data out there. I’m not good enough at this to be on, and they have far better research sources than I do, but I think my reasoning is pretty solid even so.

The way I see it is this: Trump is winning the Republican nomination with around 40% of the Republican primary votes. In caucuses, his numbers are generally close to that – he’s not winning a majority, he’s just getting better percentages than his opponents, for whatever reason.

The reasons make sense: with so many competitors, it’s easy to see how people split their non-Trump votes around, which allows his votes to coalesce around a man who is still an awful candidate.

Here’s the thing that kills his candidacy in the general election: most of the people who are not voting for him don’t see him as viable even as an alternative.

Consider this scenario: candidates A, B, and C are in the race. Let’s say each of them, for the sake of argument, has 33% of the voters in his or her camp. However, for candidate A’s voters, candidate B is an acceptable alternative… and for candidates B and C’s voters, they’d rather stick their childrens’ hands in active woodchippers than vote for candidate A. All of candidate B’s voters would prefer C to A, and all of candidate C’s voters would prefer B to A.

That’s close to what we see in the Republican party today: Rubio’s supporters are going to run to Kasich or Cruz, for the most part, with some deciding to settle for the “frontrunner.”

That doesn’t mean that Trump can’t win the nomination; he certainly can! After all, it’s not that every Rubio supporter will go to either Cruz or Kasich; many will choose “solidarity” over “ethics” or “sanity,” and Trump will get an even larger percentage of the Republican pie.

But in the general election? It doesn’t work.

Trump needs every Republican vote to even have a chance against Hillary or Bernie; he won’t get them. Too many Republicans have either ethics or memories.

With that “alternative” thinking – our discussion of candidates A, B, and C – not enough people, even Republicans, will see Trump as a viable alternative. They either won’t vote at all, will vote for a third party or write-in candidate, or will strike against their Republican brethren by voting for Hillary.

Add in the fact that he’s so polarizing – like Hillary herself – and his presence will motivate many Democrats to vote even if they wouldn’t have otherwise, and we’re looking at an electoral college domination that would blow Mondale out of the record books.

Mondale won one state against Ronald Reagan, for the worst electoral college loss (525-13) in the books in recent memory. Not, however, the worst electoral college loss ever – that looks to have been John Quincy Adams against James Monroe (231-1), although it’s worth noting that George Washington is considered to have been voted in unanimously – if we took the numbers from his time and projected them into the modern electoral college, he would have won every possible vote. Dude was a man.

It’s fully possible that Trump might change his tune after the nomination is settled; he might veer from his current brand of lunacy to gain some sort of “mass appeal.” That may even work for some people – because honestly, he’s run his campaign so far better than any such campaign I’ve ever seen.

But that’s a red herring. I mentioned that voters with ethics and/or memory wouldn’t be swayed, and they shouldn’t be. Trump can change what he says, but he can’t change what he’s said – and what he’s stood by saying.

It’s one thing to say “she has blood coming from her wherever” — but something else entirely to say it and not immediately see it as a brand. It says that the person who brings up that particular comment is a cretin, a cad, a person of low class no matter how much money he has. And that’s not the only thing like that that he’s said… never mind his other issues.

So for me, if I had been a likely Trump voter – and no, I never was one – I’d remember all of this stuff he’s spouted during this campaign, and factor in all of the other things he’s shown me through his life over the years, and I’d refuse to vote for him.

And that’s ignoring The Apprentice – I assume that was entertainment, where he was acting like a stupid boss for the purpose of creating theatre. I wouldn’t have been able to do it – I’d actually want to show my best at all times – but there’s apparently a market for such things.

I suppose it’s possible that enough voters could forget who Trump has been over his life and through this campaign – and maybe they’d actually elect this fool to the Presidency. I sure hope not… I want to think better of my fellow Americans.

But they could always change my mind.