Trump tweeted tonight that there was “NO WAY” he lost the election, and now “YES WAY” is trending because everyone is tweeting it back at him. This has turned into junior high school, and Trump is still finding a way to lose.
That’s right, Trump tweeted “NO WAY WE LOST THIS ELECTION!” The only part I care about is that he tweeted the words “WE LOST THIS ELECTION!” It’s a concession. No take backs.
I’ve advocated for giving Trump less attention in general now that he’s lost the election – particularly when he makes threats that he knows he can’t carry out. But the reality is that we are stuck with him in this defeated, shrinking, but still dangerous role for another fifty days. We can’t ignore him entirely, at least not until he’s out of office.
It’s worth keeping in mind that one of our more effective tools these past four years has been belittling Donald Trump every time he’s done something embarrassing. Belittling an honorable adversary is inappropriate. But Trump is the opposite of honorable, and being rude to him has been almost a moral imperative.
The reason humiliation has been an effective tool is that voters in the middle understand it. They don’t listen when you talk about authoritarianism. They don’t care when we talk about corruption, because they inextricably believe that both sides are corrupt anyway. But they don’t like the idea of having a President who’s incompetent, a buffoon, an embarrassing punchline.
And so it’s been important over these past four years that we’ve always belittled Trump whenever he’s done something we could belittle him for. It’s helped keep the middle turned against him, which is why his approval rating remained low, and why he lost. It’s also difficult for Trump to play offense when he’s stuck playing defense over his latest embarrassing moment.
In that sense, each time Trump pops up and absolutely demands attention over the next fifty day, it’s not a bad idea to belittle him in response. Remind him that whatever attention he gets is not going to be the kind of attention he wants, so he’ll go back into a funk and leave us alone for a few days.
To ignore Trump entirely, while he’s still occupying the office of President of the United States, would be dangerous, because then he would be free to scam and pilfer unchecked. It would also be dangerous to exaggerate the remaining damage that he can realistically to do us; he’s not going to magically impose martial law or start World War III. The middle ground is to keep taking his strongman routine and throwing it back in his face for the punchline that he is. It’s gotten us this far. Let’s keep using this strategy to finish him.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report