There are roughly four American voters in every 10 who will vote for the Donald this November, no matter what.
That means even if you, and most other people in the world, can’t stand the man, he is well on the way to getting slightly less than 50 percent of the vote he needs at this year’s presidential elections to continue as “leader of the free-world”.
Gasp, I hear. How can that be? This is a man who is a serial atrocity that no mother would tolerate in a four-year-old called Denis. And yet, even in the face of an appalling lack of leadership (or of anything), in the face of a pandemic that’s decimated the United States, a culture war that he has stirred up, and in the midst of popular protests against police abuse, he strides forth emboldened even more.
Moreover, the worst legacy from the Trump presidency may well be the irreparable damage done to global dynamics and relationships, including those that materially affect New Zealand.
I could go on about Trump, but it’s pointless. I don’t get a vote and a good night’s sleep is too easily disturbed by visions of the worst Western leader in living memory.
But the reality check is obvious – the November US election will not end Trumpism. That’s in spite of my pray-to-God prediction that he won’t win the election, despite the gerrymandering, voter suppression and Electoral College system that makes it much easier for Republicans pulling disproportionate support from smaller rural states.
But, before we even get to that, Trump will hold on to most of his massive supporter base, who back him no matter what.
However, unlike in 2016, he doesn’t have the benefit of a smart woman opponent to kick around. This time he has another grey-haired bloke who is trusted to do the right thing – of course he will.
In polarised America, the middle ground, presumably made up of people with some education, is full of people who voted for Trump in 2016, but who also voted for Obama in the two elections before. Curiously, these people appeared to have seamlessly moved from Obama’s “hope and wishful thinking” to Trump’s promise of “Make America Great Again”.
But many in this band of perhaps 20 percent of voters have witnessed 125,000 American deaths from Covid-19, as well as ongoing economic trauma and social unrest. They are now part of a recent Gallup poll showing national pride at a record low, which one would think will be bad news for Trump.
So, why can’t Trump lose in the end?
The first reason is that Trump is yet to pull out all the stops on voter suppression, so even losing the election is not forgone. Already he is railing against mail-in voting that helps make voting safe in a pandemic, but which also inevitably increases the turn-out in favour of Biden.
But then, losing the election will merely be a flag-fall for him claiming a rigged election where he will appeal to his Republican Senate cronies, the Department of Justice and Supreme Court to render the results from a few key states so suspect that a new president cannot be installed in the White House.
After all this perhaps fails, we can imagine Trump being forcibly removed by the military where the “orange man” may end up wearing an orange jump-suit, after President Biden refuses a pardon and the new Congress takes him to court, with all immunity gone.
If the majority of Americans finally get the democracy they crave in November, Trump will blame everyone else, become a martyr and remain the flag-bearer for those in the US still yearning for a vision of America that Trump championed but could never deliver.
Fraser Carson is a former member of the XŌtaki Ōtaki College Alumni Trust and the founding partner of Wellington-based Flightdec.com. Flightdec’s kaupapa is to challenge the status quo of the internet to give access to more reliable and valuable citizen generated content, and to improve connectivity and collaboration.