Will he follow the lead of Andrew Jackson, who took the win, or the bad loser Hillary Clinton?
reOnald Trump approaches a crossroads.
Those who claim he endangered the tradition of smooth presidential transitions by not conceding immediately after the media declared him the loser are suffering from amnesia.
When Trump was elected in 2016, the Washington establishment lost its collective spirit. The upper echelons of the FBI and CIA were still broadcasting a fraudulent dossier of Christopher Steele paid for by the campaign of his opponent, Hillary Clinton, and the Democratic National Committee.
Shortly before Trump’s inauguration, President Barack Obama summoned Vice President Joe Biden, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and FBI Director James Comey into the Oval Office . The purpose of the meeting was said to have been to put together progress reports on how best to continue government oversight of Trump’s appointed national security adviser Michael Flynn and thereby disrupt the transition.
Flynn’s name was soon exposed, apparently by officials in the Obama administration, and then illegally leaked to the press.
Harassment during the transition became thematic for Trump’s next four years, which saw bogus evidence submitted to federal courts and the illegal leak of other classified material.
No former president has faced such hysterical opposition determined to remove him from office – whether by a special prosecutor, concocted charges that he should be tabled under the 25th Amendment, or, well, an attempt unsuccessful impeachment by indictment.
The president’s private phone calls to foreign officials were leaked. Media darlings and unnamed opponents in government have bragged about sabotaging Trump’s initiatives. Washington analysts and retired military officers have launched coup scenarios on how best to use force to remove him from office.
So it is a bit rich for the media to warn now of Trump’s dangers to the mind of smooth presidential transitions. These protocols were deliberately made null and void in 2016.
But it all passed. What matters now are the country’s interests first and Trump’s voters second. Trump therefore has a number of avenues.
One is to continue to deal with legitimate reports of electoral irregularities. He can continue to ask the courts to overturn any illegal vote that does not comply with state electoral laws. His supporters demand and deserve nothing less than an investigation into all accusations of improper serial voting.
But in a few days, Trump will have to prove that such crimes and distortions of the state matter enough to have wrongly elected Joe Biden as president. Realistically, Trump has maybe a week or so to make his case or concede.
Then, to maintain a majority in the Senate for Republicans, and to save the very rules and protocols of the Senate, Supreme Court, and Constitution, Trump will have to scold Georgia. His challenge will be to get his Conservative base excited to re-elect the two outgoing state senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.
Trump’s “Make America Great Again” program will be codified as that of his party. He has a year or more to decide whether he wants to play the kingmaker role among Republican candidates for Congress and President or run for a second term. The two options are ultimately not mutually exclusive.
By then, there’s a chance the country will have been turned off by a far-left change from Biden, her party’s substitute wing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Such extremism caused Democrats to lose seats in the House in 2020.
Trump can look forward to a successful first term that turned the Republican Party into a multiracial, upper-middle-class coalition. His resets in the Middle East and China are unlikely to be changed by future presidents.
Trump ultimately closed the border to illegal immigration. His initiatives to revitalize America’s interior put an end to the idea that industrial decline was inevitable rather than a foolish choice.
But Trump’s other alternative is darker. Currently, lawyers affiliated with Trump say they can prove their explosive claims of historic electoral fraud by leftists and foreign interests. They further claim that Trump was not deprived of a close election but of a real landslide, constituting the biggest scandal in US history.
But so far none of these attorneys have produced the whistleblowers, computer data, or forensic evidence needed to prove their incredible charges. If they don’t produce it in a few days, and if Trump pivots to put his fate in their hands, then the pillory Republicans risk losing Senate races in Georgia. And with this historic setback, he would endanger his legacy, influence, and possibly a crack in a second presidential term.
In more blunt terms, Trump could be forced to choose in a matter of days whether he wants to emulate Andrew Jackson, the aggrieved victim of the twisted 1824 market that denied him victory in this year’s presidential election. Jackson came back in force in 1828 to secure a landslide populist victory fueled by a deeply wronged following.
Otherwise, Trump would risk being reduced to the status of presidential sore losers like Al Gore and Hillary Clinton. Despite all their media accolades, Gore and Clinton never quite come to terms with their losses in 2000 and 2016, respectively. Despite their alleged magnanimity, Gore and Clinton grew increasingly bitter, shrill, and conspiratorial – and ended up being caricatured and largely irrelevant.
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