I began this blog in early 2017. Thus the entire period that I’ve placed my words out into the ether have come during the Presidency of Donald Trump. I’ve used what wit I possess to attempt to persuade others of the utter vapidity and unsuitability of that man to hold the office of President of the United States. I’ve been accused of TDS, and of not accepting the results of the last election, and I can deal with that. I’ve also had the opportunity to share bits of life from West Virginia, and certain thoughts I’ve had on the sciences, sports, and reminiscences. But over everything hung the pall of Donald Trump.
Now we are within a day of the election where I hope there is a wholesale denunciation of the character and actions of this charlatan con-man. But even if the polls are to be believed, we still live in a country where over 40% of the inhabitants who bother to vote, still want a continuation of the abysmal results of the last four years. That alone bothers me. It concerns me that so many Americans know so little about their past that they think only the present matters. It concerns me that so many Americans are willing to throw away hard-earned bricks of freedom in exchange for the pabulum of reality television. I am concerned that we will not find it possible to re-emerge after the election with a national sense of purpose and identity, because the 40+% who favor Trump do not share any of the vision I have about this nation’s purpose and identity.
Assuming Biden wins, some of the actions of the last four years can be reversed almost immediately. The horrendous decision to pull out of the WHO will never take place, since it wouldn’t have taken place until next July, and the Biden administration will be certain that it never happens. Some will take time. If the Republican attorney generals who brought the misbegotten suit against the ACA have their way, the Supreme Court will eviscerate that legislative act. Hopefully they will provide an interim period before the act is inactivated. The new administration will need to use that time to come up with a new legislative solution, perhaps one that incorporates many of the proposals made during the campaign.
But what will remain is the imprint of the Trump administration on the judiciary. The Faustian bargain that Republicans made with Donald Trump was to have the Federalist Society provide the acceptable list of judicial candidates, and then the Republicans would overlook all of Trump’s failings in exchange for this wholesale remaking of the judiciary. I’m old enough to remember when the radical fringe of Republicans were clamoring for the impeachment of Earl Warren, since they viewed him as the avatar of all evil in the US. Imagine declaring that schools needed to be integrated! Imagine that someone believes the Constitution requires eliminating state sponsored prayer in school! Imagine that someone believes a person accused of a crime had a set of rights that had to be enunciated when they were arrested, and if those rights were not shared, the person could be released even if they were guilty of a crime! It was for these and other similar errors of judgment that the John Birch Society wing of the Republicans demanded the impeachment of Chief Justice Earl Warren. That smoldering fire finally re-ignited into a blaze during this current administration. The effect on the judiciary and the Supreme Court will be felt for decades to come, ensuring that the court falls further and further out of synch with the direction of the nation.
It will be interesting to see what realignment and renunciation of the previous administration occurs within the halls of Congress if Trump is defeated. Will it be possible for those Republicans who had surgically attached themselves to the generous hips of Donald Trump, to extract themselves from their current folly? Or will we see the splintering of the party into two factions: one, a populist wing based upon Trumpian concepts; and two, a wing of pragmatists who believe in conservative principles. Similarly, if the Democrats assume control of all three elective branches of the Federal government, will they be able to hold together the two factions in their party. The wing that believes, like the Trumpian wing, that the entire structure of government needs to be demolished and replaced with an idealistic new structure. Or, the wing that believes in incremental changes to the current structure, ensuring that change is more gradual.
I would not be surprised to see an eventual realignment into a three party system. One would be based upon the Trump position of isolation and America First, one would be the Democratic Socialists, and one would be the centrists who wish to tinker with the current structure. How those structural changes could be brought about remains to be seen. We’ve lived with the current two parties for over 150 years. Yet the events of the past four years has shown that it may not be possible to reconcile the disparate belief systems back into the previously defined containers.
First things first, though. If Trumpism is not repudiated on November 3, then the existential threat that is Donald Trump will have enough time to dismantle the structures and mores of our government so that we may not survive as a nation to have another election.
Even if Trump is defeated, I still worry about the damage he can do during the remaining time he has left in office. For those who are fans of Lord of the Rings, think Saruman and his deliberate attempt to spread evil in the Shire after he was thrown down. Doing destruction merely because it formed his only form of revenge. That is what I can foresee if Biden wins on November 3.