Thursday, July 11, 2019


I feel we've been through half a dozen news cycles since this morning, when The Washington Post published a story about Tim Alberta's new book American Carnage, but I want to make note of this:
Trump is regularly depicted as far more interested in campaigning than governing. During one dinner in 2017, Trump asked others a startling question, Alberta writes.

“Has any president besides Franklin Roosevelt done anything big after their first term?” he said.

Trump also makes clear how much he enjoys the campaign trail.

Worried he may miss a rally in South Carolina, he yells at the Air Force One pilots to land a plane in a monsoon-like rain after they circled for an hour, swearing that he could land the plane.

After a 2018 rally in Missouri where Trump soaked in the adulation of the crowd, he screams into the night: “I f---ing love this job!”
Win or lose, Trump will go into a tailspin after Election Day 2020. If anything, he'll go into less of a tailspin if he loses, because he'll first protest the outcome -- we don't know how seriously, or how successfully -- and then, assuming he ultimately accepts defeat, or at least does nothing to prevent the swearing-in of his successor, he'll undoubtedly go right back to his regular gig on Fox & Friends, plus even more tendentious tweeting than he does now. Plus, he'll tell himself that he can run again in four years, in order to get vengeance on whoever beat him. He'll probably file papers with the Federal Election Commission right after he concedes.

(Many people think Trump just won't leave office, but today's climbdown on the citizenship question tells me that he will reluctantly accept the results of the election if he loses.)

If he wins? Then he's going to face an existential crisis. What will there be to live for? He can't run again! Trump likes to troll us with suggestions that he intends to remain in office for more than two terms, but again, I don't think he'll try to do it. Sure, he'll ask his staff what it would take to change the law, and when told it would require repealing a constitutional amendment, he'll become sad and grumpy.

I don't know how he'll cope, but I'm certain he'll immediately do a round of "thank you" rallies (as he did in 2016), only this time the tour might go on for a year or more -- until the midterms, in fact, when he'll leap into campaigning for Republicans in Congress (in rallies that will really be about his ego). After that, I don't know what he'll do. Try to hand-pick a successor? (I question whether the GOP electorate will really go for Ivanka.) Declare martial law so he doesn't have to leave office?

Apart from the promise of more campaign rallies, I can imagine only one thing that could inspire him to get out of bed in the morning if he wins a second term.

But he'll be pursuing a goal he'll never attain. They'll never give Donald Trump a Nobel Peace Prize.

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