October 31, 2020

The Post-election Interregnum

Once all the frivolous Republican litigation challenging Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election is resolved, Donald Trump will no longer have any incentive to please or help anyone but himself. He will use his last opportunity to settle scores, to further enrich himself and his family, and to lash out at God knows who or what out of sheer malevolence. 

Do not expect Trump to help the incoming administration or to retire quietly. He will issue pardons to unworthy supporters, perhaps even to himself. (Pardoning himself for past and future crimes will be a great temptation for the president. Such a move would be challenged, of course, and it has the drawback of suggesting that he might have done something wrong, an admission Trump would be loath to make.) Expect more increasingly outrageous executive orders from the Oval Office. Thanksgiving and Christmas will give the president excuses to take additional vacation days and to use time on the links to temporarily alleviate his frustration and anger. The effect will be fleeting.

Alas, Trump will remain bitter, uncomprehending, and eager to identify people and circumstances to blame for his misfortune. This will be a painful time for the American people and perhaps a dangerous time as well.

But we will somehow muddle through with the hope for better times and a strengthened democracy beginning on January 20. As Biden assembles his cabinet, a return to reasonable governance will seem a genuine possibility. Let us hope that Donald Trump does not find a way to derail that possibility.

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