"Donald Trump will become a despised and despondent man for the remaining years of his life, enshrined in history as a sore loser."
Having had little to do while in hotel quarantine for two weeks and coinciding with the final chapters of the recent US elections, I was glued to the television monitor, so much so that I now feel a reverse body clock, no different than the jet lag one gets after returning home from the western hemisphere.
The political technician that I have become through so many years and several Philippine presidencies, I could not help but study how a powerful incumbent such as Donald Trump could be defeated by a relatively bland and un-exciting 78-year old, Joe Biden, who everybody considered “retired” from political life after serving two terms as vice-president to the charismatic political trend-setter that Barack Obama was.
At the end of the day, there would be no one to blame but candidate Trump himself.
He could not point to a lack of support from the Republican Party which he treated like one of his private properties for the last four years. As of last count, the Democrats were hardly able to increase the number of legislators in both houses of the US Congress. And Trump had his loyal army of private militias no different from Hitler’s Sturmabteilung or Mussolini’s Blackshirts, consolidating support for him through means fair and foul.
But it seemed quite clear that the candidate felt threatened as the surveys showed Biden’s numbers steadily ahead of him even as the campaign drew to a close. Worse, the surveys showed his “sleepy” Joe closing in, even about to defeat him in the battleground states which in 2016 Trump won over Hillary Clinton. At which point, he asserted himself more and more into the minutiae of the campaign, from schedules to messaging.
Trump the candidate became his own campaign manager. That is a no-no in any political handbook.
It gets worse when the candidate becomes far too emotionally unhinged.
His core group’s strategy, most likely fashioned by the candidate himself, was to pooh-pooh the early voting and mailed-in ballots. Encouraging pro-Trump to go to the polls on E-Day, they figured they could establish an early “trend” when the canvass rolled in. Their calculations, even of the E-day voters, were off the mark. The strategy fit into the candidates stubborn refusal to listen to science, pandering instead to his quackery.
He underestimated three developments: One, the voter’s fear of being infected by the coronavirus especially among senior citizens who now shifted to Biden. Two, there was now a real wave of dissatisfaction over his government’s handling of the pandemic. And three, after the killing by police of black men which Trump never condemned, the African-American communities became active anti-Trump political organizers all around the country.
Just like the airborne virus, change was in the air even in the states where the Republicans were in political control and where Trump won four years back. The incumbent took these battlegrounds for granted until it was too late, forcing him to do outdoor rallies after an initial stadium-located grand Oklahoma rally panned out for lack of attendees. Fear of the contagion in an indoor arena took the better sense of even this traditionally “red” state.
So a stark contrast was drawn by the Democrats where Biden and Harris, and in the last weeks, with former Pres. Obama himself, carefully going on outdoor “drive-in” rallies, where the blowing of car horns replaced the cacophony of un-masked people shouting lustily in the air with all those millions of coronavirus particles spreading. Meanwhile too, the COVID numbers grew and grew to alarming levels, reaching almost a hundred thousand in one day of the week before E-Day, drowning the 33-percent GDP recovery from the first quarter slump.
“Covid, covid, covid” became a more intense issue in the last weeks of the campaign. Trump was increasingly on the defensive, and his inane tweets and spoken insults on “sleepy” Joe and “Kambala” Harris alienated even the voters who originally supported him in 2016.
He and his Jared, his Eric and Donald Jr., even his Ivanka and the White House acolytes who did little except to say “amen” to his every rant did not realize that a tidal wave of early voters both in the Democratic urban centers and the suburbs, as well as independents disgusted with the events of 2020 in their imaginary “Great America” were registering their discontent in droves, thus the close to a hundred fifty million votes, two-thirds of which were early ballots.
The Trump team got the number of early voters wrong, and even early canvass results gave them just narrow margins in the battleground states. Texas, Republican for the last 40 years, did not give Trump a huge popular vote. Trump got Florida, but Biden narrowly won in Georgia, which the Republicans controlled since Bush. And now Biden was able to resurrect the Democratic “blue wall” in the rust belt states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, which was the “Waterloo” of the surprised Trump.
Their strategy backfired, and when they saw it coming too late in the day, Trump desperately hopped in and out of these critical areas via Air Force One, preening before his “hakot” crowd all about himself and how great a leader he was. His antics beamed on television, turned-off all the more.
Meanwhile, Biden, the decent chap, kept inspiring television watchers with the message of “healing the nation” and “saving the soul” of America. So stark was the contrast.
When the canvassing began, the White House was gripped in the tenterhooks of vanquishing reality while their boss continued to be in denial. Pathetic.
Only a leader with ego so big that dwarfed ability to accept or comprehend reality could descend into such depths of shameful conduct. Still in denial, his trolls are now manufacturing “evidence” -- mere allegations of cheating which would not stand in any court.
Many American pundits, amazed that Trump still managed to get 71 million votes to Biden’s 76 million (although the latter handily won the electoral votes) believe that Trump will still be a political force to reckon with after this defeat. And his Republican cohorts, believing similarly, kept silent, with some shamelessly echoing his mantra of being “cheated.” Only a few, like Mitt Romney and even former Pres. George W. Bush, advised Trump to gracefully concede and pave the way for an orderly transition of power. Even the leaders of so many countries except Russia and China which chose to remain quiet, have already congratulated Biden and Harris.
My take is the opposite. Trump is a goner. Past tense, with no political future.
After he leaves, or is hauled out of the white mansion on Pennsylvania Avenue, he will become a despised and despondent man for the remaining years of his life, enshrined in history as a sore “loser.” The world will remember him to his dying days as the epitome of the “ugly” American.
All because of a monumental ego even his huge corpus found too heavy to bear.