Poli-ticks

Arlene Violet: One way or another, Trump will be president

By Arlene Violet
Posted 11/19/20

President Donald J. Trump still has not conceded the election. He has promoted many avenues for lawsuits challenging the results of the election. The federal Attorney General has taken the …

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Poli-ticks

Arlene Violet: One way or another, Trump will be president

Posted

President Donald J. Trump still has not conceded the election. He has promoted many avenues for lawsuits challenging the results of the election. The federal Attorney General has taken the unparalleled step of inviting United States Attorneys to consider lawsuits around balloting. Ten Republican state Attorneys General have also entered the fray by urging the United States Supreme Court to block a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision allowing mail-in ballots postmarked by Election Day but delivered through November 6 to be counted. While evidence of widespread fraud continues to be MIA, there still is a chance that Mr. Trump will prevail and end up with a second term. Despite this longshot, even if he loses, Mr. Trump will continue to be president, albeit as a ghost. Here are the reasons why.

Mr. Trump has no intention of relinquishing his power. As Citizen Trump his own tax returns show that he has at least $421 million in debt which he has personally guaranteed due in the next four years. His only leverage to extract favorable treatment is to raise the specter that he will be back in the President’s seat and will take either revenge or favor with his creditors.

He has solid reasons for being able to parlay power. Over 71 million people voted for him, close to 9 million more than in 2016. Despite a scandal-ridden government and impeachment plus the coronavirus outbreak, his supporters are passionate about him. His power is evident since many republicans still cower rather than challenge him. He still has approximately 2 months to vent his spleen against his perceived enemies. Already he is promoting administration appointees into highest civil service status so Joseph Biden cannot get rid of them if they thwart his initiatives. He has established a Political Action Committee (PAC) so he can control candidates with campaign contributions. Just the sheer number of his voters has intimidated Republicans in Congress. He will be their puppeteer with his 88 million-strong Twitter following, giving him a bullhorn over policy. Given the tightness of the U.S. Senate control, he will be able to hector the Republicans into resisting any efforts by Mr. Biden to cobble a bipartisan approach to decisions. Mr. Trump will whip Republicans into obstruction so that Mr. Biden won’t look good and Trump’s way will be paved for a comeback.

Future candidates or those up for reelection will have to seek his blessing, thereby baptizing his approach to social issues. His database will be up for sale to future candidates. He has already floated the idea that he will run in 2024 if he is ousted from the presidency so those in office already will continue their obeisance in order to curry his favor.

Historically, recent first-term-only Presidents faded into the woodwork, subscribing to a theory that it’s untoward to undermine the presidency. Mr. Trump has no such qualms. He is addicted to power and to the adulation of his followers. His effort to curry sympathy by complaining that he is a victim whose reelection was stolen from him will keep him front stage as he plays the martyr. He will fend off potential fraud charges by his “they’re out to get me” rhetoric. In sum, he is here to stay.

Arlene Violet is an attorney and former Rhode Island Attorney General.

Arlene Violet

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