Things are getting lonely for Donald Trump: In the fight against election counting, loyal allies are going off the rack. He still has one goal: a stab in the back legend in his fans.
The grand execution at the White House has reached its final act. Somewhere between tragic comedy and farce, the much-discussed piece is now drawing more viewers than ever before. And our hero? Shows itself again in its true essence.
Thursday night, the first performance since election night. The prospects are getting worse, the end is near, so he pulls out all the stops again: if only things were good, he would have won a long time ago. Donald Trump claims. They want to steal their choice. He complains. There is no evidence for this.
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On Twitter you could see in real time how the appearance caused a nuisance worldwide. Some saw the gravedigger of American democracy on the small stage of the Press Briefing Room in the White House, I saw a loser. Of course: you can interpret the behavior as an attempt at a coup with the aim of securing power at any cost. Or as a continuation of the legend that after the impending defeat, he will remain President of Hearts for his portion of the nation. Donald Trump, undefeated on the field. The stab in the back legend of 2020.
If Trump is really in the trenches to defend his presidency, then his final line-up will be quality-class comrades Rudy Giuliani, son Eric, ex-Berlin ambassador Ric Grenell. Others secretly run away.
Are Republicans Following Trump’s Command or the Democratic Process? After a long silence, some participate and others don’t. On Thursday, it looks like Trump will be lonely. Hour by hour, it becomes more striking how the media empire around Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News is partially remote from Trump. The fact that the station’s election statisticians were the first to book early on election night and by far the codecision state of Arizona for Biden caused by far anger among Trump and his followers.
Trump’s appearance in the White House: work on a stab in the back legend. (Source: Evan Vucci / AP / dpa)
And now? As always in America, I see cause for hope and concern, the light and the dark.
The institutions have not yet followed this example. Trump can moan any way he likes, the trial is ongoing. The courts reject the first post-election motions from Trump’s orbit because their reasons are not rooted in reality. (Many more motions and recounts will follow.)
Despite all the doom prophecies, democracy continues. I often read the word election chaos in the headlines. I see it differently. Yes, the process is confusing and incomprehensible, painfully slow here and there, and prone to error. A consequence of the American electoral system, where sometimes every state and sometimes every district has its own rules. Reinforced by the greatly expanded postal ballot as a result of the pandemic, which, as expected, is causing problems. But the mills grind. Only slowly.
But when Trump says it’s all a single scam, tens of millions believe him instead of the institutions. Just like almost every word that comes out of his mouth. He tells it as it is, he just says how it is. Hardly a sentence is heard more often when speaking to supporters of the president.
Troops of Trump supporters take a stand outside polling stations in disputed states, in Phoenix, Philadelphia, Detroit. Aroused by the leader’s fantasies. Nobody knows where that ends. One has to hope that it all turns out well. The long-term loss of confidence in democracy cannot be assessed any more than the risk of violent confrontation.
The exact path for Donald Trump, who planned the dramaturgy in the final act, is also not yet clear. What else will he do in office – and what will happen if he has to leave the White House. He can start his own television station. He can just continue to campaign (and collect donations) and – now please keep breathing calmly – fight again in 2024.
Election night showed the loyalty and strength of his followers, even when he lost. Trump has even won votes after these four years of scandal, following the momentous crisis management failure of the corona and economic crisis. At least four million Americans voted for him more than four years ago (turnout has increased).
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It will be a bit more complicated for us when Trump’s presidency is over. How wonderfully the ego man has prepared himself to solve all the absurd and delusional ideas we encounter from America! But he only cannibalized the fracture, not caused it, only exposed the wounds. And an attitude to democracy that gives me a headache only reinforces that.
I had to think back twelve years on election day. A visit by Sarah Palins as a young journalist to an election rally. You remember: the Governor of Alaska who was to become Vice President of the United States at the time. At the time, I was amazed at the responses she elicited by celebrating ignorance. Much of what we discuss today started with Palin and the enthusiasm for her.
Sarah Palin (with husband Todd): Trailblazer for Trump’s style of politics. (Source: Jim Young / Reuters)
After some searching I found my notes from that time. I spoke to a retiree in Palin named John who was complaining about all the newly registered voters. He suggested an election day test to see if people were “informed enough to vote.” He also prayed for rain on election day, saying it would help “informed, committed voters.”
A woman named Faye, a member of the local Rotarian club, became involved. “We’re making it way too easy for people to vote these days,” she also said. Others then expressed doubts as to whether Barack Obama was really an American.
A few years later, a man made a political career with this then-born conspiracy theory that Obama was not a true American. It was Donald Trump. And he knew exactly what he was doing when he got to the final act in the White House, outlining all the votes for the Democrats, which should still be counted there.
He knows that the very open rejection of democratic principles in proud democracy falls on fertile ground. The idea that some Americans are more equal than others is always tapped. And yet at the same time, so many voting citizens are now voting as they have not done for a hundred years.
The light, the dark. And, oh yes, if the final act of the performance doesn’t turn into a farce, the 46th president of the United States of America is called Joe Biden.