Trump’s Incompetence Is the Only Thing That Stopped a Dictatorship Day
It’s important for Americans to recognize how close they came to losing everything. Donald Trump was perhaps the most dangerous politician to ever hold office in the history of the United States. When he was handed a dubious electoral college victory despite claims of foreign interference, he acted as if he’d just been named dictator for life.
Trump flouted the Constitution from his first day. He committed a litany of impeachable and immoral actions. Despite the blatant corruption of his administration, he had a very good chance of getting reelected.
Today, a lot of talking heads are claiming that our system worked, that democracy prevailed. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The frightening reality is that the system didn’t defeat Trump, Trump’s own incompetence did. Our democracy has been exposed, and Trump has created a blueprint that a more intelligent and capable demagogue might use to completely dismantle the protections we enjoy as US citizens.
A failure of checks and balances
The primary belief of the founding fathers was that you can’t trust anyone with power. Their solution was to have a system of checks and balances. The idea is that if power is divided, no single entity can acquire enough to corrupt the system.
Partly by chance, and partly by blatant lawlessness, the Republicans very nearly managed to circumvent the mechanism. Trump happened to hold office at a time when there were multiple vacancies on the Supreme Court. This allowed him to stack the court with candidates of questionable qualifications that he presumed would demonstrate loyalty to him over their oath of office.
This situation emerged through the enabling of Republican politicians who repeatedly stood by Trump even when his behavior violated the Constitution. They did everything they could to ram through Trump’s appointments. Even though Trump eventually lost the presidential election, our nation is now stuck with unqualified judges at every level.
A plague of corruption
Trump attempted his theft in plain sight and he experienced almost no resistance from the Republican party. His plan was to install loyalists everywhere with the expectation that they would disregard their obligation to the Constitution in favor of decisions that benefited his administration.
These decisions, ultimately, did not manifest. However, it’s terrifying to consider what might have happened if the election had been closer. Most presidential elections are ultimately decided by a handful of counties. A corrupt politician can pressure courts and legislatures at local, state, and federal levels to overturn legitimate votes. It does not take a lot of voter erosion to manufacture an unlawful victory.
Trump used every means within his power to apply unreasonable pressure, and he is likely to persist in his deranged rantings until the end of his days. Fortunately, the election result was so overwhelming that Trump’s attempted coup couldn’t find traction. But we shouldn’t be too satisfied with ourselves that Trump ultimately lost. His plan might have worked if he hadn’t done so much to sabotage himself.
The most incompetent campaign in history
Trump’s campaign was off the rails insane. He repeatedly insulted war hero John McCain and then couldn’t figure out how he could lose Arizona. McCain is a state hero! Obviously insulting him is going to alienate voters. Trump did so many things wrong in his campaign, it would be easier to list the things he did right.
He insulted the military, he tweeted a video of a man screaming “white power,” he showed not even the slightest remorse for all the lives lost because of the Coronavirus. Instead, he held massive super spreader rallies and mocked people who took reasonable precautions seriously. His first debate performance was absolutely unhinged and the second performance wasn’t much better.
When you add it all up, it’s incomprehensible that the guy got even one vote. That he managed to get more votes than any seated president is a shameful commentary on the intelligence level of our citizens.
The scary part is that if Trump had done just a couple things differently, he might not have alienated the critical margin of votes necessary to win. His own arrogance and stupidity is what sunk him in the end, and he still came terrifyingly close to overthrowing our whole democracy. It’s highly likely that other corrupt politicians are going to look at Trump’s game plan and realize it needs only a couple minor altercations to become a viable strategy.
The system failed us
Anyone who says the system worked is delusional. If the system had worked, Trump would have been impeached, removed from office, and sent directly to jail. That he was allowed to engage in so many behaviors designed to overthrow the results of a legitimate election is unforgiveable.
Trump exploited the office of president for his own personal gain and to the detriment of the country. His efforts to dismantle the post office when absentee ballots were critical to national safety during a deadly pandemic is unconscionable.
Republican politicians did not use the tools at their disposal to protect the nation from this raving madman. They abdicated their responsibilities to the American people and violated their oaths to the constitution. In the end, party loyalty surpassed loyalty to the nation.
We must fortify our elections
Anyone who loves liberty cannot be satisfied with the recognition that we just dodged a bullet. Trump has exposed multiple, exploitable weaknesses in the fortification that stands watch over our fundamental freedoms. Too much of our government operation relies on the assumption of good faith. We need to install more protections to prevent a potential criminal in power from utterly destroying our democracy.
There have to be consequences for what Trump has done to our nation. We have to send a message to the next demagogue that the citizens of this country will not stand by quietly and give up their right to liberty without a fight.
We must all look at the Trump administration and recognize that our system failed. If Trump had not ultimately imploded, he might very well have seized absolute control. The next time something like this happens, we might not be so lucky. Those that ignore history are doomed to repeat it.
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