I couldn’t bring myself to headline with, “Why it might be better if Trump got re-elected…”
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I’m no “Trump-humper,” but it seems to me that America might actually be better off if Donald Trump did get re-elected in 2020. My main concern? He’d still be eligible to run in 2024, and in the intervening four years – with a Democrat as president – he might just wreak more havoc to American democracy than he could as president.
Think of it. Trump sitting on the sidelines, humiliated, much as he was when Obama joked, “Donald Trump is here . . . still!” (Google “obama trump is here still youtube.”) And think of him still managing to get his face on the “front page,” each and every day, possibly drumming up enough support – or gumming up the works enough – to get himself re-elected in 2028. (Like Grover Cleveland did in 1884 and 1892 – with four years in between of Benjamin Harrison – thus becoming the 22d and 24th president.)
So wouldn’t it be better to get it over with? To get rid of Trump once and for all, in 2024? Then too, if he did get re-elected in 2020, he would immediately become a “lame duck.”
Strictly speaking a “lame duck” is an official “whose successor has already been, or in the near-term will be, elected.” But it can also refer to a U.S. president who’s been elected to his (or her) second term. See Lame duck (politics) – Wikipedia, saying the status can be due to “a term limit which keeps the official from running for that particular office again.”
The official is often seen as having less influence with other politicians due to their limited time left in office. Conversely, a lame duck is free to make decisions that exercise their standard powers with little fear of consequence… Even at the local level, politicians that do not seek reelection to office lose their credibility and influence to fellow councilmen. Projects uncompleted may fall to the wayside as their influence is greatly diminished.
See also 22d Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and Lame Duck: Definition, President, Amendment, Sessions. The latter noted that any U.S. president winning a second term “automatically becomes a lame duck.” Then too, because the amendment keeps a president from serving a third term, “He doesn’t have to worry about getting re-elected.”
For another take see Putin won reelection yesterday. Now he’s a ‘lame duck.’ The March 2018 Washington Post article featured a “quick take on the implications” of the election, with writer Joshua Tucker reaching out “to my colleagues at PONARS-Eurasia.” One writer said the “key thing that happened Sunday is that Putin formally became a lame duck in a political system dependent on one man.” (Which sounds eerily familiar.*)
Another point, from Henry Hale, professor at George Washington University:
While the big result for Putin seems to reflect continuity and stability, Russia now enters a period of unsettling uncertainty. Here’s the big issue: Putin cannot run again without changing the constitution. Positioning for a possible succession struggle is already on the minds of Russia’s political class.
As to that last sentence, “locally” it could be amended to read: “Positioning for a possible succession struggle is already on the minds of America’s conservative class.” (In the same way, if Trump got re-elected in 2020 he couldn’t run again in 2024 “without changing the constitution.”)
As for Tucker’s own “two cents… Even though the next election is six years away, Putin’s ability to control events in Russia will begin to dissipate as soon as it becomes clear he really is not running for reelection in 2024.” In Trump’s case – should he win re-election – his ability to control events in America will dissipate, because of the 22d Amendment.
See also the Belated 4th of July meditation, which spoke at length about the 22d Amendment and its effect on “The Donald.” The point? Whether by “popular” vote in 2020 or operation of law in 2024, Trump will end up leaving the White House. What happens then? (Aside from the cheering, the dancing in the streets, the fireworks and parades.) For one thing it would begin a new nightmare – for Donald Trump. (No more “in the news every &^%$ day!”)
But there’s another possible result: “lame-duck presidents are more concerned with their legacy. They can focus on policies that are less popular, but more far-reaching.” Which could mean that Trump would no longer have to worry about catering to his wacko base.
One example from history: “President Ronald Reagan signed an arms control treaty with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev,” and famously asked him to “tear down this wall” in a speech at the Berlin Wall in 1987. “That was despite his opposition to arms control during his presidency.” In Trump’s case – and maybe both more concerned with his legacy and less concerned about catering to his base – he might become the man I had such (possible) hopes for.
Barnum served two terms in the Connecticut legislature in 1865 as a Republican. [On slavery] and African-American suffrage, Barnum spoke before the legislature and said, “A human soul, ‘that God has created and Christ died for,’ is not to be trifled with. It may tenant the body of a Chinaman, a Turk, an Arab or a Hottentot – it is still an immortal spirit.”
Which no doubt surprised a number of his supporters. And from there he got elected Mayor of Bridgeport, CT in 1875, and “worked to improve the water supply, bring gas lighting to streets, and enforce liquor and prostitution laws.” And he was instrumental in starting Bridgeport Hospital in 1878, becoming its first president. Thus Barnum – credited with saying there’s a sucker born every minute – “evolved from a man of common stereotypes . . . to a leader for emancipation by the Civil War.” And maybe – just maybe – Trump could also “evolve.”
So who knows? If: 1) Trump did get re-elected in 2020, and 2) no longer had to worry about throwing raw meat at his wacko base, and 3) started seriously thinking about his legacy (or developed a conscience, or started appreciating that he’s “closer to the end than to the beginning”), he might actually evolve – as Barnum did – into a “humane, effective and ethical politician.”
Stranger things have happened. (Though I’m not holding my breath…)
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Will Donald Trump’s Greatest Show on Earth continue past 2020?
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The upper image is courtesy of Unintended Consequences – Image Results. See also Unintended consequences – Wikipedia. Also called “unanticipated consequences or unforeseen consequences,” they’re defined as outcomes “not the ones foreseen and intended by a purposeful action.” They are grouped into three types: 1) An unexpected benefit (“luck, serendipity or a windfall“), or an 2) unexpected drawback or “unexpected detriment” in addition to the desired effect, or 3) a “Perverse result.” That’ third one is a “perverse effect contrary to what was originally intended (when an intended solution makes a problem worse). This is sometimes referred to as ‘backfire.”
Re: I’m no “Trump-humper.” The term is a short version of “Trump-humping evangelical.” That in turn is a term mentioned in a post in my companion blog, “Trump-humping” – and Christians arguing with each other. It’s based on a reader comment to an article in The Resurgent website entitled, After NPR’s Embarrassment It’s Clear: We Need More Christians in Media.
(A note: The “Resurgent” is a conservative website started in 2016 by Erick Erickson, a conservative evangelical blogger and radio host famous for making controversial statements. In one case he took issue with Trump’s saying 2015 debate-moderator Megyn Kelly had “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever” while questioning him. “The next day, Erickson disinvited Trump from a RedState gathering held in Atlanta, calling Trump’s remark ‘a bridge too far’ and that even ‘blunt talkers and unprofessional politicians should not cross’ certain lines, including decency.” But in 2019 Erickson endorsed Trump for re-election in 2020. For other, more controversial remarks see the Wikipedia article on Erickson.)
So anyway, the comment said, “We need more serious Christians – not Trump-humping evangelicals – in media.” Which led to this response, by Patriotmom: “The serious Christians I know would not call someone a ‘Trump-humping evangelical.’” Which I said was probably true. Also, the article actually didn’t say we need more Christians in media; that was the headline writer. The article writer actually said “What is needed more than anything in the world of mass media today is a substantial influx of new reporters, journalists, and anchors who can speak intelligently about Christianity.” Which is something entirely different.
Re: “Lame duck is free to . . . exercise their standard powers.” I recognized the incorrect grammar; “lame duck” is singular and “their powers” is plural. The writer apparently chose not to “gum up the works” by saying “he or she,” or risk offense by using one or the other sex-distinctions. Likewise I chose not to gum up the works by writing “sic” in brackets, with “sic” loosely translated as “that’s the way the dumbass wrote it!” Also in the same paragraph, the proper grammar would be “politicians who,” not “politicians that do not seek…” (Just so you know I’m not the dumbass…)
The Vladimir Putin image is courtesy of Wikipedia. The caption: “Putin in KGB, c. 1980.” From 1954 on the KGB was the “main security agency for the Soviet Union.” It was preceded by agencies like “Cheka, NKGB, NKVD and MGB . . . acting as internal security, intelligence and secret police.” Its functions included foreign intelligence, counter-intelligence, and “combating nationalism, dissent, and anti-Soviet activities. In 1991, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the KGB was split into the Federal Security Service and the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation.”
Re: “Eerily familiar.” An interesting note from the Putin won reelection yesterday article: “Putinism in Russia (coupled with Trump’s assault on checks and balances in the U.S. and cutbacks in U.S. foreign assistance to democratic causes in foreign countries) is likely to eclipse the already dim prospects of democratization in the ex-Soviet states.”
Also re: “The Donald.” See 409 Hilarious Nicknames for Donald Trump — Find Nicknames.
The Reagan image is courtesy of Reagan Doctrine – Wikipedia.