Trump Declares Victory in His Imaginary Election
Here in Korea, the middle of the afternoon is the wee hours of the morning back in North American time zones, which means I had the dubious pleasure of watching a bunch of Democratic spokesmen on the U.S. news networks interviewing other Democratic spokesmen, as they all pretended to be objective observers of an election in which they have been actively campaigning against the Republican incumbent president for four years.
I also had the even more dubious pleasure of watching the two stars of the show — more like dim bulbs than stars, in fact — make their obligatory remarks to supporters, while the results, still inconclusive, trickled in.
Joe Biden came first, because it was already past his bedtime. He entered with his wife, who, rather than being the inconsequential stage prop that electoral spouses usually are, was tasked with the challenging role of prompter, repeatedly telling the slow-witted and obviously confused candidate what to say and whom to thank. For what it is worth, the gist of Biden’s rather incoherent and inelegant remarks was that the election is not decided yet, but he is hopeful.
Then, hours later, came Donald Trump, who appeared to be in a slightly better overall position than the crooked polls had been “predicting.” Being Trump, of course, and also noticeably exhausted, he could not resist the urge to do the two things Trump does best — promote himself and project hatred for everyone who does not love him, in equal measure. Declaring the election already won in his mind, and therefore all further vote-counting not merely superfluous but inherently and universally corrupt — explicitly using the word “fraud” — he effectively signaled that he will not brook any objections to his premature declaration of victory, and furthermore that he has absolutely no regard for any American who did not vote for him. He boasted meanderingly about having received historic numbers of votes, while ignoring the fact that his opponent had thus far received more. He bragged of still being close enough to win a few of the states where Biden is currently leading, while insisting repeatedly that if any of his own close leads or sixty-percent-tallied leads should change hands later, this would be proof of Democrat corruption and fake votes.
On its face, one might think this was just the usual Trump demeanor and natural persona: the illogical, self-important, callous moron. But there was something more. The smell of final vindication, of achieving the “historic” love that he has so childishly craved all his life, seems to be elevating his rhetoric to a new stratosphere of divisiveness and tribal venom. He was speaking to “his people” as though no one else in the country mattered, and even more, as though “his people” had not only the divine right, but also the obligation, to join him in hating all opposition to his greatness and power. The complete lack of any trace of humility has always been part of the Trump package — he is an infantile megalomaniac — but the abrasiveness with which he was telling his followers to preemptively reject all vote counts that might break against him tomorrow, and encouraging them to treat everything that happens beyond this moment, the moment in which he declared himself the winner, as evidence of an enemy conspiracy, seemed to be a substantial step into uncharted territory for America.
Donald Trump is a vain demagogue and desperate self-promoter. His chief motivation is always fear of being humiliated and exposed, which vents itself in ferocious demands for love and loyalty, and wrath toward anyone who denies him that adulation and respect. But his is the coward’s wrath, the sort that hides behind crowds of protectors, which is certainly how he sees and treats his fans. This tendency — infantile fear of opposition and rejection, overcompensated for with feverish fits of irrational self-glorification before anonymous multitudes — is truly dangerous in a political leader, to the extent that he is actually proficient at attracting followers who adore him as he demands. In this age of idol worship and “Show me the money” materialism, Trump’s grotesque red neon sweat act actually works on millions of people dying for a savior to rescue them.
What does all this portend, should Trump actually pull out this election, as seems plausible? Well, at the very least, it guarantees that I will be proved right in my frequently-stated assessment that any half-intelligent American progressive would be a fool to wish for any result in 2020 but a Trump victory. As the past four years have amply shown, Trump’s deliberate divisiveness, his open disdain for anyone not cheering for him today, and his casual willingness to invoke the rhetoric of paranoia, fear, and hatred in order to rile up his weak-minded millions, provide the progressives with exactly the kind of opponent they have always tried to accuse Republican presidents of being, but with only marginal success in the past. Trump does their work for them. He is neither capable of nor interested in making a case against socialism, in disarming the left in popular perception by countering their invective with civilized but unrelenting principles, as a real statesman would do in this hour (as Reagan very effectively did). Rather, Trump merely declares that everyone who does not love him is inherently a “socialist” who must therefore be despised and rejected and accused of treason. The radicals see his tone deaf and violent invective as their great opportunity to win over the greater public. That is why they have become more brazen and unmasked than ever before during his first term. Trump is their perfect foil and the impossible realization of all their anti-American Marxist rhetoric: the capitalist pig.
He is the first Republican president of whom it is not only reasonable but intellectually mandatory to say, “This man must be stopped.” He is a dangerously unhinged demagogue, and I hope every one of the Ben Shapiros and Mark Levins out there who have spent four years making excuses to justify his profiteering support for this jackass has the decency to admit today that he has been supporting a man with the moral character and political personality of Mussolini. Okay, I am not foolish enough to hope for that — but let us just say I enjoy the thought of the little worm eating away at those men’s souls today, as they twist and squirm to evade the thoroughly unpatriotic (shall we say “fraudulent”) asininity of their position.