There are two things we know for certain about Donald Trump. First, he hates losing and will do anything to avoid it. And second, he always has to be the center of attention. Both of these egomaniacal traits are now on full display in the aftermath of the election.
If Trump had conceded after Biden was declared the winner on November 7th, the nation’s attention would clearly be focused on president-elect Biden as he chooses his team for the new administration. Instead, we see Trump grabbing headlines by claiming massive fraud, filing multiple lawsuits, firing top officials and putting the country on edge, fearing he could actually pull off a coup. It’s all part of Trump’s narcissistic game: Pay attention to Me, Me, Me all the time.
Trump doesn’t care what his refusal to concede is doing to the country. Time Magazine details how the country is “caught between crisis and confusion.” In truth, Trump is most likely delighting in scaring his political opponents with the threat of a coup. It’s his payback for their rejecting him.
So, is all Trump’s bluster about his inability to accept defeat? Or is it really more about his incapacity to give up center stage? Clearly, both factors are at play. But, as this drama drags on, it appears that it may have more to do with the latter than the former.
In Friday’s New York Times, Maggie Haberman notes: “By dominating the story of his exit from the White House, (Trump) hopes to keep his millions of supporters energized and engaged for whatever comes next.” In fact, Haberman reports that the “president has told some advisers that if the race is certified for Biden, he will announce a 2024 campaign shortly afterward.”
Trump knows that his lawsuits to overturn the election are failing. His highly paid lawyers are abandoning his efforts to destroy the integrity of our elections. Officials in every state, Republican and Democrats alike, have found no evidence of voter fraud. And, finally, some of his Republican colleagues are breaking ranks and acknowledging Biden’s victory. Begrudgingly recognizing that he’s lost, Trump is plotting how to remain the center of attention after he leaves office. No matter what, it’s at the core of his shallow being.
Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump has to be escorted out of the White House on January 20, 2021. That will get him more attention than leaving quietly. It would take some of the spotlight away from Biden’s Inauguration and make Trump’s day. That’s just who he is.
As difficult as this transition period is, a light at the end of the tunnel is beginning to appear. American democracy will survive Donald Trump’s assault.
Bruce Berlin, J.D.
A retired, public sector ethics attorney, Berlin is the author of Breaking Big Money’s Grip on America (See breakingbigmoneysgrip.com.), the founder of New Mexicans for Money Out of Politics, a former U.S. Institute of Peace fellow, and the founder and former executive director of The Trinity Forum for International Security and Conflict Resolution. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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