It is easy to consider Donald Trump as being unhinged, perhaps mad. We have been following him closely for 4 years
and wondered what had become of the America we thought we knew, a land that was the fountain of democracy, that provided a home for those fleeing persecution and searching for a better life. We focused on his idiosyncratic behaviour. America’s ills and woes were blamed on him. But that is only part of the story. At the November 5th elections even though 81.3 million Americans voted for the ultimate winner Joe Biden, more than any other presidential candidate in US history, 74.2 million voted for Donald Trump. So, a large percentage of Americans support his racism, his xenophobia and accept his blatant lies. All of this flies in face of the fact that he has supervised one of the worst disasters the country has ever experienced, one where over 400,000 are expected to die before he leaves office. The positive image that America has portrayed to the rest of the world has been destroyed and it has to some extent become a laughing-stock.
The real Trump revealed itself even more following the elections. He seemed to have lost touch with reality and is a fit case for psychiatric study and treatment. But there might be some method to his madness. He knew his base will never leave him because it shares his sentiments and his outlook on life. He has turned the Republican party into a cult where many members of Congress appear to be willing to be part of his erratic behaviour and to do his bidding.
With all the evidence to the contrary, the cult leader still insists that he won overwhelmingly. Cult members are going to continue the fight to Congress. The Courts, including the Supreme Court, have dismissed all of his crazy appeals and petitions. When asked to support their claims, they seem to be asking the Courts to allow them to search for the evidence. Much of this was embarrassing with the Supreme Court on one or two occasions dismissing their appeal in a single sentence without even bothering to proffer a justification for their ruling. Who could waste their energies on such absurdities! His main lawyer Rudy Giuliani was the ideal person to represent him for both seemed to be cut from the same cloth.
What is interesting about all of this is that some Americans take pride that their institutions have been able to withstand the bombardment. The Electoral College’s decision was a proud moment for President elect Biden. Maybe they could take pride in that, but the country only barely escaped. What must become clear to many is that institutions depend on the persons managing them. They have no life of their own. Had the results been closer and had more astute lawyers lent their support, the situation might have been different, and the explosion inevitable. Trump buoyed by the support he has had for his mad ravings is prepared to announce that he is putting his hat into the ring for 2024.
I suspect if he does that one of the expected candidates, Mike Pence will withdraw. He has been Trump’s clone, rather robot, for so long that he appears hardly to exist outside of Trump.
There is even more to this seeming madness. Having lost the election Trump will lose certain presidential privileges.
State prosecutors will be hard at work finalising the many charges against him and his family, including the ogre like Jared Kushner whose task seemed to be to ensure that the family benefitted financially from his father-in-law’s position. I am not sure to what extent he succeeded. Trump still has another 50 days to inflict more damage and further unmask America. More will be fired, more sent to the gallows, especially blacks. America shows itself ready for an autocrat but one who is smarter and more likeable.
Dr Adrian Fraser is a social commentator and historian