The world wants to know: can anything finally get to Trump’s loyal fan base? Is there nothing he can do, no insult to the office, no threat to the constitution, no petty vindictiveness, no mendacity, no nastiness, no failure of leadership costing, it would seem, thousands of lives, that will shake their affection for the man?
For going on four years, Trump’s contempt for and attempts to undermine the institutions of democracy have not just been tolerated but actually delighted his loyal base.
In fact, Trump’s bad boy thumbing of his nose at traditional expectations of his office seems part of his attraction to those attracted.
Does he refuse, suspiciously, to show tax returns? Do his best to undermine a free press? Seem more comfortable with other populist leaders and dictators than with our traditional allies? Does he seem not to see the difference between fascist white supremacists and those protesting them? Does he insult the elected representatives exercising their constitutional prerogative and duty of impeachnent? Does he express contempt for virtually every branch of government if things don’t go his way?
Trump supporters have apparently no problem with any of this. I can’t remember a single LTE or My View in these pages from the not inconsiderable number of Cape Cod’s loyalists—a shocking 500 in little, supposedly liberal Wellfleet alone– expressing the slightest alarm at anything Trump has done or threatened to do.
( More typical of a Trump supporter letter is the recent one titled plaintively, “Where is the praise for Trump?”)
But now, as the election approaches, the election many see as the most crucial in memory, there’s a new concern that overrides all the others.
Especially as Trump’s chances at winning a second term may be slipping away, the shocking worry is being expressed out loud that he will try in some way to subvert the election, find a way of casting doubt on it, postponing it, and, all else failing, refusing to abide by the results There have been several recent articles to that effect in prominent places.
“What if Trump doesn’t leave the White House” if he loses the election? (The Atlantic)
Trump used police and National Guard troops to violently remove peaceful protesters to clear a way to a photo opp. Would he try to use police or military to stay in office?
For the first time in my long life such thoughts have become thinkable.
In the era of hanging chads, Russian hacking, the lack of a paper trail there’s enough reason to mistrust the election p rocess itself, the simple mechanics of counting the votes.
But what if Trump simply refuses to abide by the results? It happens all the time in other countries. Could it happen here?
Given Trump’s contempt for the impeachment process, for most branches of government, for government itself, given his expressed belief that he is above the law, is it entirely unreasonable to imagine him seeing himself above the whole democratic process?
How about it, Cape Cod Trump fans, if that push came to that shove, if your man made a move like that, would that finally be too much? Or would you, rather than see the country taken back by Democrats, follow your hero into that future?
If there is that limit to your loyalty, you might want to go on the record now, while it counts. Now might be the time for members of his enabling base to let Trump, the man who more than once has said they he can get away with just about anything, know that he can’t.
Speak out now, I would say, or risk being held accountable for your failure to do so.