The self-declared “leader” of the Republican party he decimated announced Tuesday he is running for president, again, a job he lost in 2020 for good reason. Yes, Donald Trump is back, again, running for a job he never won in a popular vote, and right after a midterm election where most of his hand-picked and endorsed candidates were rejected by voters who made it clear that they have had enough of his megalomaniacal ego, fraud, corruption, and criminal behavior.
Conservative icon George Will remembers a quote by racist George Wallace back in 1968, when voters denied another run by him to seek a presidency he never deserved: “We got too much dignity in government.”
Trump all-but-destroyed dignity in government during his reprehensible one term as president, a term decided not by the popular vote but through a gerrymandered Electoral College that he then tried to subvert in 2020 after he lost by an even larger margin in popular and in the college totals. He is under investigation for sedition, blatant attempts to obstruct justice, criminal violations of America’s Espionage Act, use of fraudulent tax returns and financial statements to obtain loans though fraud, and other acts. Indictments are expected before the end of the year.
Will, in his column Monday, Will remembered George Wallace in 1968: “Thirteen presidential elections later, voters solved that problem. Now they can make amends by closing the Donald Trump parenthesis in U.S. history,” he wrote.
The first, and almost certainly the last, public service for which he is actually responsible is his decision to run again. This gives the nation an occasion for self-correction. When the Republican nomination is denied to him, as is increasingly probable, he will, of course, pronounce the process rigged. By then, few will care.
Among the Republican nominating electorate, Trump has a floor of forever Trumpers, but the floor is sagging. If his bitter enders were the questioning sort, they would ask: What states that he previously carried might he lose in 2024, and what states that he previously lost might he conceivably carry in 2024?
His 2016 victory was sealed by wafer-thin margins (a combined 77,744 votes out of 13,940,912 cast) in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. All three just elected Democratic governors, two (Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan and Josh Shapiro in Pennsylvania) by landslides over notably supine Trump grovelers who were out of their depths and perhaps their minds. Trump’s marathon post-2020 tantrum was ignited when he was declared the loser in Arizona, which has just elected a Democratic senator and perhaps governor. Georgia, which Trump won by 211,141 votes out of 4,114,732 cast in 2016, and which he lost by 11,779 votes out of 4,999,960 cast in 2020, just emphatically reelected Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), both of whom Trump reviles because they acknowledged the arithmetic of his 2020 Georgia loss.
When Trump started his improbable, and many felt impossible, run for president in 2016, most considered it a joke, a sick one, but one that tapped voter anger that too many had discarded and ignored. Many who voted for him then have since said they regretted the vote, did not do so again in 2020, and would not even consider it in 2024.
But the Republican Party, driven by its racist tendencies and a desire to win at any cost, became part of the MAGA (Make America Great Again). That never happened. Like so much of what Trump claims, he lied. He did all he could do to destroy this nation while he looted its treasury to prop up his failing business and his lavish lifestyle. He had to run again, many felt. It is a matter of survival.
He was always going to run. Absent incarceration or interment, and perhaps only the latter, he inevitably would seek the presidency again. His narcissism, his megalomania, his delicate yet illimitable ego, would have it no other way.
Donald Trump craves the power. Even more, he craves the attention. And more than ever — after an unprecedented two impeachments, a humiliating reelection defeat that he can’t even admit, and amid multiple criminal investigations and civil suits — he seeks vengeance. The l’état c’est moi president who apparently tried to sic the IRS on his enemies (and perhaps succeeded), and who tried to extort Ukraine into smearing Joe Biden, can’t wait to get back on the job.
Trump won’t succeed, as his successive losses of the House, Senate, presidency and last week’s midterm results show. Too many Americans would crawl on broken glass to vote against him, no matter who his general election opponent may be. They have seen enough.
Still, too many have underestimated Trump. He has no conscience, no morality, and no shame. His only goal is to feed is ego and fatten his bank account.
“Republicans are (justifiably) blaming Trump for their pratfall in last week’s midterms, the third straight election in which voters rejected the MAGA brand” observes columnist Dana Milbank.
“The grifter announces another run for the presidency,” notes Ann Telnaes in a Post editorial cartoon.
Over at The New York Times, columnist Michael Wolff says “aid bare the chaos at the heart of Trumpian politics, exposing Mr. Trump for what he is: not a model chief executive but an inattentive, lazy, incompetent manager whose defiance of convention and hot mess of a personality were saddling his campaign with a heavy disadvantage. The government can continue to function if a president isn’t on top of the details, but a presidential campaign is in trouble when a candidate can’t be bothered with the game plan and is dismissive of the people trying to stick to it. And while Mr. Trump won his first campaign and lost the second by only a relatively slim margin in just a few key states, that was in spite of the calamity that surrounded him.”
For America, Trump was a horrific accident waiting to happen. It is one that the nation, and its voters, won’t allow to happen again.
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