What would have happened if the plotters who were sitting in the Willard Hotel prior to January 6th had actually figured out a way to persuade Mike Pence to refuse to certify the 2020 election results? For all the talk about how Trump and his gang were engaged in a seditious conspiracy, I’m not so sure that holding a re-run of the election would have been such a bad idea.
From the day after Trump was inaugurated in 2017, he started promoting the fiction that his victory margin was much greater than it actually was. Remember how Sean Spicer got up in front of the press corps and lied about the size of the inaugural crowd?
Trump won the 2016 election because he flipped three blue states – MI, PA, WI – by less than 2/10ths of one percent the total votes cast in those three states. He appeared at more than 60 big rallies in 2018, told the crowd that the election was a plebiscite on him and got swamped in the House vote.
The GOP gained 2 Senate seats in the off-year election, but the Democrats were defending 74 percent of their entire voting bloc, the largest number of incumbent seats that either party had to defend since 1914.
We know what happened in 2020. Joe pulled out 81 million votes, a percentage of the potential voting population which had never been gained by either party before. Why did so many blue voters turn out to vote for Joe? Because Trump was going around the country telling everyone that their vote didn’t count, which is enough of a reason to show up and vote.
What else could Trump say in 2020? Was he going to run on the great job he was doing to beat back Covid-19? In the pre-election polls, Trump was favored slightly on the economy, Joe was favored slightly on foreign affairs. But Joe had a double-digit lead on who would do a better job dealing with the ‘Chinese flu,’ and Trump’s attempt to racialize the pandemic blew up in his face. Remember the ‘kung flu?’
The bottom line is that Joe won the 2020 election because everyone was sick of Trump. When he first appeared on the national political scene his cursing, his bragging, his profanity and his personal attacks on Hillary and every other Democrat were novel and fun. But at a certain point people began to realize that this kind of behavior was Trump’s definition of how to run the world’s largest corporation, and that if he were re-elected, he would run it right into the ground.
Trump copyrighted the MAGA slogan because he figured that selling hats, t-shirts, lawn signs and banners was a way to make a buck. He was the first Presidential candidate who thought of his campaign not so much as a way to get elected, but as a way to build a brand. Which is why he was surrounded by political ‘advisers’ who were steeped in shit and were what Grandpa would call ‘zehr drek’ (read: real bums.)
Who was running the War Room meetings at the Willard Hotel where Trump’s attempt to challenge the results of the 2020 election on January 6th was being planned? None other than Rudy Giuliani’s henchman, Bernard Kerik, a former NYPD Commissioner who pleaded guilty to eight (that’s eight) felony tax charges and did almost four years in jail.
It goes without saying, of course, that Trump granted Kerik a full Presidential pardon at the beginning of the 2020 campaign. But what kind of jerk lets a guy who committed multiple felonies and lied endlessly about his taxes be the front man in a public effort to declare the results of a Presidential election to be a ‘fraud?’
Did it ever occur to Trump that if you’re going to promote the idea that the system has been corrupted, that the person you choose to represent your efforts needs to be ‘purer than Caesar’s wife?’
If Trump demonstrated one thing more than anything else during his Administration, it was his complete and total lack of awareness about how his behavior and his judgements would be perceived. You don’t tell the American people that there were some ‘good folks’ amongst the Nazis who marched down the Charlottesville streets. You don’t tell the American people that some of the countries whose populations want to come to America are ‘shitholes,’ even if it’s true. And most of all, you don’t let a crook like Bernie Kerik plan a demonstration to run up the steps of the Capitol waving Confederate flags.
Know what would have happened if there had been a do-over of the 2020 vote? Joe’s margin would have been greater than it was.
Which is why I’m hoping that Trump will run against Joe again in 2024.