The titular author of “The Art of the Deal” continues to search for an offer that can’t be refused, continues to assume the institutions of American Democracy are no different from the multitude of shady deals, broken promises, and corrupt bargains that made him what he is.
By Anatole d’Ecotopia
At first glance, Donald Trump’s 11th hour veto of the Covid Relief Package would seem to be little more than a ham-handed effort at quid pro quo — an attempt at buying off the American voters who roundly rejected his presidency by raising a miserly $600 stimulus payment to an equally inadequate $2000. In fact… it is nothing of the sort.
Trump’s latest actions are clear indication that, regardless the epic tales of delusion and denial coming from within the White House, he has indeed grasped the fact that he has lost the presidency — and is responding in the only way he knows.
In other words… payback.
Trump does not expect his intervention into stimulus legislation to yield benefit to the American people — any more than he truly believes that the stunt planned by his supporters in Congress for the final certification of the Electoral College results will permit him to retain the Presidency. But in neither case is a tangible result required — or perhaps even wanted. Just as Trump will go to his grave questioning the legitimacy of Barack Obama’s birth certificate, he will likewise do so insisting that he was “cheated” of the Presidency and that his followers were “cheated” of the stimulus payments they desperately need. Who, exactly, is responsible for these thefts will depend entirely upon whoever currently incurs Trump’s ire — or possibly even vary based on audience; having lied thousands of times in the course of his presidency, there is no reason to assume Trump’s relationship with the truth to improve as an ex-president.
The continuing reckless spree of pardons is also payback, for either past or future favors. In cases where there is no obvious quid pro quo, there remains the opportunity to appeal to the vile prejudices of Trump’s loathsome base. Failing even that, there remains payback of another sort: Casting as many monkey wrenches as possible into what little machinery of governance remains unwrecked by the disaster of his presidency.
Anyone who assumes there is no “plan” to this is once again committing the grave error of underestimating Donald Trump. The plan is to retain the cult-like loyalty of his fanatic and ill-informed followers, while simultaneously doing everything possible to ensure the failure of the Biden/Harris Administration. The plan is to remain a power broker within the Republican Party — both as payback to those he feels “betrayed” him by not backing his ludicrous efforts at overturning the election, as well as to maximize his ability to secure the GOP nomination in 2024.
The fact that none of this is even remotely beneficial to the country is, of course, irrelevant. There is no reason to assume that service to this country is any more now a motivation for Donald Trump than it has ever been. His only motivation remains his ego and his appetites. His only rationale for remaining a factor in the public life of this country remains his ability to incite the even cruder appetites for payback and revenge of those who — to this moment — gladly pump millions into Trump’s suspect enterprises and political aspirations (which are, of course, one and the same).
The titular author of “The Art of the Deal” continues to search for an offer that can’t be refused, continues to assume the institutions of American Democracy are no different from the multitude of shady deals, broken promises, and corrupt bargains that made him what he is. Of course, Donald Trump has never truly authored anything but broken promises… but he has no reason to assume that is any more a liability now than it has ever been.
That needs to change.
Donald Trump needs to finally be held accountable. He cannot be permitted to simply sulk off to Mar A Lago, Mexico, or wherever he plans to reside while he nurses his grudges and plans this country’s future victimization. Lives and fortunes have been squandered, the security of the country compromised, the dignity of its highest office utterly tarnished. Trump will certainly describe it as “payback”, will once again paint himself a victim — because payback and victimizing are all he knows… but that’s not what it will be.
After Joe Biden takes the oath of office, many things in this country will remain the same. We’ll still be at the mercy of an uncontrolled pandemic; we’ll still be watching the collapse onset of late stage capitalism; we’ll still be facing the consequences of climate change too long ignored. But that oath will have been administered to a man who understands what it means… not one who used it as a license for self-enrichment. Already, Biden is forming a government of others who also understand that oath — who will very likely also understand that such oaths require that Donald Trump finally face the one thing he is most fundamentally incapable of understanding.