The end of Trump

The end of Trump Featured

NEXT week Joe Biden will be America’s president-elect. He is not the best choice but anyone from the Democrats’ stable of “presidentiables” would be better than Trump. All the polls reflect the dominance of Biden in the popular vote. But the American system is somewhat complicated in that the winner is determined by the Electoral College, not by the plurality of the popular votes. Recent cases point to two Democrats who lost the US presidency through this mechanism — Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Al Gore in 2000. There were other similar outcomes in US political history, in the presidential elections of 1824, 1878 and 1888. But I leave this to history buffs to play around with. With 50 million voting early and after presidential debates where both candidates clashed — Trump vomiting lies and conspiracy theories and Biden sheepishly appearing presidential — polls predict Biden winning both the popular and the 270 electoral votes.

Conspiracy theory – failure of elections
But conspiracy theories (CT) abound regarding possible impediments to the winning Biden’s assuming his seat come Jan. 20, 2021. Trump has been laying the groundwork for his continued stay as president for a second term. He has been insinuating all along that he will be cheated massively by the Democrats through the mail-in ballots. Traditionally, a large number of minority voters — principally the black community, overwhelmingly Democrat — vote through this method while the Republicans vote on the day of the election itself. With this Covid-19 pandemic, pundits theorize that hordes of Democrat voters would stay home on November 3, having mailed in their votes weeks and days beforehand, avoiding the crowds at the polling places.

Without evidence of mail-in voting fraud, even in past elections, Trump has of late been sabotaging, with his complicit postmaster-general, the flow of the delivery of the ballots to and from the mail-in voters’ addresses. The counting of the November 3 ballots after the poll closing may reflect earlier Republican voting patterns giving Trump the lead — especially in the “swing states.” Trump can then declare an early victory, agitate for a stoppage in the counting before being swamped by the results of the mail-in ballots. Any controversy to stop the counting due to a perceived mail-in fraud may have to be litigated by the Supreme Court, where Trump has the majority — so the CT goes.

Since his call to arms to “Liberate Minnesota! Liberate Michigan! Liberate Virginia!” from the lockdowns — legally mandated preventive measures against the spread of the pandemic — sympathetic militia in full battle gear responded. These right-wing Trumpers also came in droves, many from out-of-state, as a counterforce against the “Black Lives Matter” protests in Portland, Oregon and other cities, exacerbating violence in the streets. At the first presidential debate, he primed his white supremacist cohorts “Stand back and stand by” and encouraged them to congregate in the polling places, not so much as poll watchers observing the voting process but perhaps to intimidate Biden sympathizers.

America’s winter of discontent
Analogous to the British crisis of 1978-1979, America’s would be much worse. The United Kingdom’s widespread trade union labor strikes and the ensuing economic and political turmoil may pale in comparison with what could happen in the United States. With the pandemic still raging, unemployment at an all-time high, the economy in shambles, America’s global reputation in tatters and above all these, the government presided over by a xenophobic president, the transition to a Biden presidency may not parallel that of England’s Margaret Thatcher taking over in the aftermath of the downfall of Prime Minister James Callaghan’s Labor Party. America’s six weeks lame-duck period between November 3 and the constitutional transfer of power on Jan. 20, 2021 may be the most volatile, putting the world in great peril — another defining moment for American democracy, or its final demise.

American expansion
America began to enforce its concepts of governance in the Philippines at the turn of the last century with its first taste of colonialism in the wake of Spain’s defeat. Its political doctrine of Manifest Destiny arrived in the mid-18th century, originally applied only to expanding its territory over North America, became its burning impetus in acquiring dominions, spreading democracy and capitalism worldwide. It reflected a smug and sanctimonious certainty of America’s correctness, of the superiority of the American system of governance and the firm belief that the people of the world would like to become Americans.

With its star in the ascendant after World War 1, the US has obdurately imposed its ideals and models and its political structures, consequently dominating economies as well. It assumed the role of a self-appointed policeman not without spilling blood — having caused and/or participated in five major wars since 1945 — Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan. It has involved itself in wars against terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Somalia, among others.

The rot within — four years of the Donald
It is inevitable that America will go into decline — the way other empires did — British, Spanish, Portuguese and the ancient Greek, Macedonian and Roman, among others. Great empires fall from within, rarely from conquest. And the inevitability of the fall of US hegemony is presaged by the ascent of a chauvinistic leader embodying the decay within. President Trump paradoxically embodies the polarization of America, the seeds of its impending demise.

In 2016, I watched him descend that Trump Tower escalator with trepidation, bursting into America’s consciousness during the primary debates — observing with disdain mixed with awe and alacrity his scorched-earth performance with nary a sense of civility, armed only with an overpowering ego and blatant narcissism.

Excerpts of an article I wrote, “OMG! Trump won!” (TMT, Nov 29, 2016):

“I have been entertained by the Donald from the time I read his book on The Art of the Deal through his shenanigans in New York with his flings and wives; his reality TV career and even his presidential run during the primaries. I never thought he was serious about anything except for advancing his brand, lest of all his presidential ambitions. But last Wednesday morning…I had a surprise coming — no, I was shocked! All the major US polls were wrong, the Fil-Am community was wrong, the whole world was wrong! Only the Donald was right.

“Tapping on the fears of the white disinherited forgotten voters, those at the peripheral, at the background of the American dream, Trump sure knew the winning combination to the presidency by accentuating the great disparity in the system, the long battle of financial insecurity and meager incomes. He also advocated for ‘massive tax reduction’ of those at the middle and working classes; this despite allegations of his own tax avoidance which surfaced during the campaign period.

“Trump’s notions of racism, disrespect for women and minorities and his preaching of hate may seep into US foreign policy psyche and may depart from decades-old American values.”

I asked myself then. Will this man foreshadow a new American era? Or is he a portent of its downfall? After four years, all my conjectures came to pass. My questions are no longer rhetorical.

To be continued

Read 384 times Last modified on Wednesday, 28 October 2020 11:30
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