On the eve of the Democratic National Convention, Donald Trump delivered his concession speech. That is to say, he told us in advance what he plans to claim should he lose. Despite his trailing poll numbers and no evidence of fraud, Trump said that the “only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged.”
Of course, grace in defeat was never an option for Donald Trump. In order for Trump to concede anything he must tacitly, if not overtly, admit he has lost. In Donald Trump’s corrupt mind that would constitute a confession of weakness. So his insistence that a loss could only mean that he was cheated has always been a foregone conclusion.
Many of us have become so inured to Trump’s infantile, whining, self-dealing and self-aggrandizement, that it’s hard to imagine him behaving any other way. After all, this narrative is nothing new. He said the same thing in 2016. And, as it turned out, not even winning that election was enough for him. He became the first candidate in history to claim that an election he won was rigged.
Trump’s ego was so wounded because Hillary Clinton got almost three million more votes than he, that Trump squandered taxpayer money on a commission to investigate voter fraud in the 2016 election. Try though they might — and, as they were Trump appointees, they tried mightily — after an investigation a year and a half long, members of the “voting integrity commission” found not one shred of evidence of fraud.
In his speech at Monday night’s convention, Bernie Sanders referred to the Trump phenomenon as “The unthinkable has become normal.” I think that nicely summarizes what has happened in America. It wasn’t that long ago that a harmless (albeit clumsy) statement like “we have binders full of women,” or a candidate misspelling the word “potato,” or a president splitting hairs over the definition of the word “is,” became a national scandal. As the Pussy-Grabberin-Chief might have put it, hold my Diet Coke.
One good thing may come of all this. It’s certainly inevitable that Joe Biden will make mistakes when he gets into office. Those mistakes will seem harmless, perhaps even endearing, by comparison. In the end, four years of the corpulent malignancy that is Donald Trump will have made us grateful for a president who is finally human again. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.