Saturday, November 28, 2020


I tweeted this in September:

I wrote this on October 28:
I've been saying that Trump will continue to be the leader of the GOP even if he loses this election -- he'll insist he won and was cheated out of victory, his supporters will believe it, and he'll probably announce a 2024 run shortly after the polls close, or possibly on Biden's inauguration day.
And now the Daily Beast confirms it:
According to three people familiar with the conversations, the president ... has not just talked to close advisers and confidants about a potential 2024 run to reclaim the White House but about the specifics of a campaign launch.... Two of these knowledgeable sources said the president has, in the past two weeks, even floated the idea of doing a 2024-related event during Biden’s inauguration week, possibly on Inauguration Day, if his legal effort to steal the 2020 election ultimately fails.
Back in July, David Brooks imagined the beginning of a Joe Biden presidency, and predicted this:
Donald Trump himself may fume, but hated and alone. The opportunists who make up his administration will abandon him. Republicans will pretend they never heard his name. Republican politicians are not going to hang around a guy they privately hate and who publicly destroyed their majority.
In fact, as the Beast story notes, the opportunists who make up Trump's administration are pledging their loyalty:
On Thursday, Bloomberg reported that during an Oval Office meeting earlier this month between Trump, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, Vice President Mike Pence, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the president said he planned on running in 2024, if the 2020 election results were not nullified by Trump’s attorneys.

“If you do that—and I think I speak for everybody in the room—we’re with you 100 percent,” O’Brien told the president, according to the Bloomberg report.
GOP voters are with Trump, too. A Trump 2024 bid is supported by 53% of Republicans in a Politico/Morning Consult poll and by the same percentage in a Newsmax/McLaughlin poll.

But the media doesn't have to enable this. The TV networks don't have to do a split screen during Biden's inaugural, or a picture-in-picture inset of the Trump rally. We'll have one president at that time. The focus should be on him. Trump can pretend to be the shadow president, but he'll have no power as of noon on that date, and four years is a long way away.

But I fear we'll get the split screen and the compare-and-contrast, especially if the inaugural is sparsely attended. Attendance might be sparse, at least by Obama-in-2009 standards, in part because Biden is no Obama, and in part because the spread of COVID will be at unimaginably high levels four weeks after Christmas. Trump's fans, by contrast, will still be ignoring all COVID precautions.

But there'll still be throngs for Biden -- and the media should recognize that one of the men speaking is the president and one is a pretender. Trump is the GOP's early favorite for 2024, but Joe Lieberman was in a similar position well before the 2004 Democratic primaries and Rudy Giuliani seemed well positioned in the Republican Party heading into 2008. No one would have elevated a speech by either of those guys to the same level as a presidential inaugural. The press should treat Trump's troll party as the sidebar it is.

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