The last of Trump
This country won’t re-elect Donald Trump
November 2016 scared the hope out of a lot of us. And, because of that, we’ve kept our heads down and just white knuckled it through the hard parts of the past three years as well as the really soul crushing parts of 2020.
But now, even after the United States Senate voted to acquit former President Donald Trump of inciting a deadly riot at the Capitol building on January 6, some hope has returned. So much so that I believe we’ve seen the last of Donald Trump -- or any Trump -- “serving” in the White House.
I haven’t made a sweeping prediction like that since the summer of 2016 when I told my then 8-year-old son, “This country will never elect Donald Trump.” But I think I’m correct this time around for a five reasons:
Remembering that it’s not 2016. More than four years after that campaign cycle and election, we’re still shaken by Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton. But a lot has happened since then and a lot is going to happen over the coming years as this country, and the world, grapples with the coronavirus pandemic and related fallout that reaches from the economy to health care to social services.
Working government. I chuckled when I recently heard liberal pundit Molly Jong Fast say something along the lines of: “Republicans make the government not work and then criticize it for not working.” The further we get from a barely functioning government, led by the Golfer in Chief, the better we all are. Each week of President Biden’s administration, we continue to see regular briefings with information and even details from scientists about the evolution of the coronavirus. It’s especially helpful when we experience flashes of functioning government, most notably the first stimulus package approved by Congress and signed by then President Trump nearly a year ago, which really worked. What didn’t work was the lag in additional aid and extended support for a range of public entities, including schools and health agencies and local governments.
Limiting the hate drip. Since Trump was booted from Twitter and Facebook and other social media platforms, the volume of the MAGA megaphone has come way down. That quiet also has left a portion of the party without one true leader, leaving a variety of voices who are much less known -- ranging from Don Jr. to U.S. Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida to Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia -- to try to fill that void.
Voting changes and election shenanigans. The Democrats ended up winning Georgia’s two runoff U.S. Senate elections that came on the heels of Trump’s defeat -- even if he wasn’t publicly admitting it. When the MAGA voters don’t have Trump on the ballot, they’re less motivated, especially when the leader of the party is lying to them over and over again about elections being rigged. On top of that, tens of thousands of Republicans have officially left the GOP since the January 6th insurrection. And those who still support former President Trump are so mad at the few GOP senators and members of Congress who voted to impeach him that they’re increasingly calling for the creation of a third party. Moves like that don’t typically help a party.
Being honest. On January 6th and during the days and weeks that have followed, the sentiment, “We’re better than this,” came up over and over. Here’s the thing: We’re not. And we haven’t been for a while. We weren’t better in Tulsa on 1921. We weren’t better in Rosewood, Florida, in 1923. The white folks were never “better,” as we ignored systemic racism and continued to gloss over the suffering of Indigious people and the theft of their land during the creation of this country and failed to teach our children our complete history. And now we face a reckoning of it all. We’ve come too far and seen too much in 2020 to go back to 2016.