He lost the election – even though he doesn’t want to see it. What will happen to Donald Trump, who has been voted out as US president? There are already initial ideas.
Of course he is not acting as a statesman. He protested against fraud, demanded that the last pending counts be stopped here and new counts there. Complains on Twitter as if in court.
That Donald Trump whispers about fraud when he loses is nothing new. As early as 2016, he complained about the few internal party primaries he had lost. Or in previous years, when he missed the Emmys as a reality TV star. Trump only likes a democratic vote if he ultimately wins.
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But now it is clear that he has lost the election, even though he is still trying to influence the count in many ways. Donald Trump’s maneuver can be seen as an attempt to stay in power. Or as his way of covering and cushioning defeat and maneuvering himself into a position as the winner of hearts in his parallel society that he has bred for himself. Because Trump has been voted out, but is far from over.
Four years in the centrifuge
As president, he put his country in a spin for four years: scandals every week, Twitter tantrum every morning. Russia and Ukraine affair, the separation of hundreds of small children at the southern border, a breathtakingly fast moving staff carousel and impeachment proceedings. Trump was a master of grabbing the attention of the US and the world and remained an entertainer even as president.
It started with a big promise: “Make America Great Again”. He closed the country against immigration and withdrew the US from international agreements. After four years, he didn’t really know whether he had fulfilled that or at least could claim it.
First he wanted to report execution with the campaign slogan “Keep America Great”. Then came Corona and a violent economic crisis, plus a mass protest against deep-rooted racism in the country. In the end, Trump again promised that America would have to be “made great again” first.
Trump never wanted to become president of all Americans and referred everything to himself. He also saw the Corona crisis mainly as a PR problem. He showed no interest in vigorous crisis management and so contributed to the US having such a hard time. In the final weeks of the election campaign, he then pretended that the business activities of Joe Biden’s son were more important to the country than the corona, economic and climate crisis combined.
He wanted to win the 2020 election just like the 2016 election by labeling his counterpart as corrupt. But Joe Biden was not Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump was no longer the exciting outsider, but the sedentary person in a crisis year. His base got drunk on it, but too many changing voters turned away.
He even had the official bonus on his side. Americans rarely vote their president after a term. He used the White House as a backdrop for party conferences and election campaigns, and the Air Force One presidential plane as a backdrop at dozens of airports. The show was good. But it couldn’t be a permanent distraction.
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Trump himself suspected it, saying it like this during a performance in Pennsylvania: “Before the plague came, I had this thing in my pocket.”
70 million Americans
It was not a crushing defeat. Trump was again stronger than in the polls. Turnout skyrocketed and Donald Trump received eight million more votes in 2020 than in 2016.70 million Americans voted for him. That strengthens his position after the presidency.
Trump has a devoted following in whose world he is still the hero. They will continue to show him their affection and attention. This presents great opportunities for Trump, who is always looking for attention: in the transition phase and beyond.
Trump supporters protest in front of a Phoenix polling station: loyal supporters. (Source: Reuters)
Before the 2016 election, in which he had already expected defeat, he considered starting his own television empire. A first idea for the name was already available: “Trump TV”. Four years later, that’s another tempting option for the showman.
Trump is not satisfied with his home channel “Fox News” anyway. While influential opinion leaders were by his side in the evening shows, the newsroom reported Trump too independent – including on the outcome of the election.
The 2024 option
Some of his advisers also expect Trump to immediately announce his intention to run again in the 2024 elections, at which point he would be 78 years old. Whether he really wants to run an election campaign again is a very minor question. Just the statement of his candidacy allows him to do two things: he could continue to hold his beloved gatherings and collect campaign donations.
One question that remains unanswered is how the great Republican politicians behave towards him. At this point, many are still giving him some time to contest his election. Will you remain committed to him?
Private citizen Trump can expect a lot of nasty things, from which he was protected thanks to the immunity for president: several investigations into tax evasion or violation of campaign financing and claims from his creditors such as Deutsche Bank.
Donald J. Trump’s personal fate is therefore less clear-cut than that of his kind of politics. Populism, which revolves around the identity of white Americans, has a firm grip on the Republican Party right now. Four years of Trump have pushed the boundaries of what can be said in the political system.
No one knows what Trump’s final chapter as president and first as ex-president will look, probably not himself either. The Trump method, sure enough, remains in America.