This morning Donald Trump tweeted his disappointment about the transition between President Obama and himself. It was the (as usual) knee-jerk reaction from a comment made by President Obama that he felt he would have won a third term against Donald Trump if he’d been allowed to run again.
As is becoming painfully obvious, Donald Trump is unable to bear even the smallest slight against his reputation, and since the President had the audacity to make this comment on the record, there is little or no chance that Trump will be able to forget this disparaging remark anytime soon. Of course, Trump has proven that he won’t let something like this slide, but he has also proven that he sees these kinds of comments as an opportunity to advance his own agenda.
It’s almost as if Trump has begun laying the groundwork for how the transition of power was eventually botched to make him look bad, or to undermine his ability to govern. But why?
If you look back at the election he did the same thing regarding the validity of the election system, casting doubt in an obvious attempt to explain what looked like a pending loss. His numbers were in the toilet and he needed to begin the misinformation campaign to explain a loss were it to occur.
Now, as Trump prepares to head to the White House his favorability numbers are among the lowest of any President-elect in a long time, 43% at last glance (compare that to Obama’s 68% when he was entering office in 2009). Meanwhile, Barack Obama’s favorability ratings on the way out the door are hovering around 54%, a full 11% higher than the Mr. Trump (Note that at this point George W. Bush’s numbers were at an all-time low of 22%). In other words, Trump is already running at a deficit in public opinion, and that has to be someone’s fault!
Traditionally Presidents have gone out of their way to maintain a peaceful transition of power, no matter who their replacement or predecessor. They also have refrained from badmouthing their predecessor, since it’s understood that with the office comes many inherited difficulties, sometimes going back generations. It’s a job with a lot of power, a very wide scope, and a ton of problems. So what happens when a man who cannot accept fault in any way, and who consistently makes sure that to pass the buck rather accepting the responsibility for it, inherits all of those responsibilities and problems?
I guess that remains to be seen, but I’d like to make a few predictions.
First, I would guess this is likely the end to peaceful transitions of power in The White House. Partially because he has already made his first shot across the bow of Obama’s departing ship, and partly because if we get a chance to replace him in future election, I cannot see him ever going quietly.
Next, it is now possible that Donald Trump could very well be the last President we ever have. That may sound hyperbolic, but I mean it. He could be the last President of the United States for any number of reasons. He may find the need to manipulate the system so that all free elections are indefinitely suspended in some way, allowing him to remain in power for as long as he can or to pass it along to his progeny. Or he could simply get us all killed in a nuclear conflict because he does not know how to back down or deescalate anything, obliterating the United States as we know it and its political framework. Or he may simply get to preside over the next American Civil War, during which he would likely invoke untold amounts of wartime protections for his beloved executive power.
The point is that I simply don’t see a scenario where Donald Trump will allow any further free and fair election to dethrone him. Once he is in power he is going to do whatever he can to retain it. There is little doubt that the American landscape has forever changed already. How much, remains to be seen.