Opinion

Trump isn’t likely to lie low post exit

Rajkamal Rao | Updated on January 08, 2021

Already eyeing re-election in 2024   -  REUTERS

He could complain regularly on conservative-friendly talk shows, and would try to imperil America’s every move

When armed protesters stormed the Capitol on the day Congress gathered to officially certify Joe Biden as the President, the revulsion in the media was unanimous. Indian-American Trump voters, who have cherished America’s vaunted principles of the rule of law and a peaceful transition of power, cringed at the images.

But Trump, who had previously egged his supporters to protest peacefully, remained characteristically adamant and issued an ominous warning the day after. “While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!” he said in a statement released by the White House. “I totally disagree with the outcome of the election.”

A review of numerous comments on conservative media sites shows that millions of Americans agree with Trump’s incessant remarks that the election was rigged. A Fox News poll released in December found that 77 per cent of those who cast ballots for Trump — about 56 million voters — thought the election had been stolen.

To media pundits who have decried such assertions with broad statements that there was no evidence of “widespread fraud,” Trump supporters retort, “Maybe, but targeted fraud is all that it took in a close election!” National Public Radio, probably the most-liberal media outlet, analysed how close it was: “Just 44,000 votes in Georgia, Arizona, and Wisconsin separated Biden and Trump from a tie in the Electoral College.”

Conspiracy theorists

Whether or not fraud was involved, we will never know. Nearly every court that dismissed Trump’s post-election challenges relied on technical grounds but never examined several key questions: Did dead people, out-of-state residents, or illegal immigrants vote? Were signatures on mail-in ballots checked with signatures on voter-registration rolls? Were ballots that arrived at counting centers late checked to see if votes were cast before Election day? Why were so few absentee ballots rejected despite the massive expansion of mail voting?

For conspiracy theorists, these questions can fuel a powerful resistance that America has never seen before, even unlike the recent BLM riots that crippled Portland and Seattle. There are rumours that Trump, the conspiracy-theorist-in-chief, may sit out Biden’s inauguration and plan a rally in Florida at the exact same time to kick off his 2024 re-election campaign.

With Biden in office and the Democrats controlling both the House and Senate, many of the Left’s pet policy dreams now have a chance of becoming a reality. Each amounts to an unwinding of policy that Trump championed into law.

Trump’s tax cut on Corporate America will likely be reversed to fund Biden’s ambitious ideas on the environment. The 11-million illegal immigrants will get some pathway to citizenship, although Biden may not immediately overturn Trump’s strict policing on the southern border. Iran will become emboldened as Biden will resurrect the JCPOA.

America’s cold war against China will weaken on all fronts, something that Beijing had patiently waited for four years. Britain, having exited the EU, will find it hard to negotiate a bilateral agreement with the US that Trump promised Boris Johnson. Under Biden, America will immediately re-embrace a global policy of the rules-based international order.

Trump could complain regularly on conservative-friendly talk shows, which will be salivating at a chance to host him, that America is descending into a Socialist nation. Rush Limbaugh alone has 20 million listeners, more than the subscriber base of The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post combined.

Twitter and Facebook may ban Trump, but conservative alternatives like Parler may give him the megaphone that he needs to voice his disapproval. The Washington Post reported that in Apple’s app store, Parler jumped from 1,023 on the most-downloaded list one day before the election to No. 1 in a single week. Parler says that it registered 10 million new users in November alone.

For those who hoped that a five-and-a-half year global roller-coaster ride from when Trump first descended on his escalator is about to end, think again. Jetting around in his private plane, he could imperil America’s every move.

For Trump, who has always hit back at every criticism, payback time is here. And things won’t look pretty.

The writer is Managing Director Rao Advisors LLC Bedford, TX

Published on January 08, 2021

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