Delusion doesn’t disappear quickly. If you believe the Earth is flat, it is hard for anyone to convince you that it is round. If you believe your candidate won an election for president and that a loser or pretender who benefited from massive voter fraud is sitting where he should not be, logic and truth are irrelevant. The flat Earth folks are loony, but essentially do no harm. But not every excursion into nonsense is so benign.
Donald Trump recently tweeted “I won the election in a landslide, but remember, I only think in terms of legal votes, not all of the fake voters and fraud that miraculously came from everywhere. What a disgrace!”
With the Electoral College confirming Biden’s victory, some Republican leaders are finally accepting the obvious, but over 50 million Americans still apparently agree with Trump. They look a lot like rational people, but no one will be able to convince them that Joe Biden had a clear victory with no evidence of fraud, missing ballots, or extraterrestrial influence.
What is worrisome is that thousands of them, hopefully in diminishing numbers, will be attending Trump rallies across the country during the next four years. They will be fed endless stories about socialist plots, international conspiracy and minority freeloaders burning and looting.
By the end of his term, Trump and allies will have collected over $200 million. Some will be spent on rallies where Trump will be saluted as exalted leader. They will cheer Trump with hate on their breath and violence in their hearts.
In 2018, the Southern Poverty Law Center found 1,120 hate groups at work across our country. The band of evil brothers included 112 neo-Nazi, 51 Ku Klux Klan, 148 white nationalist groups. Many will show up at Trump rallies where Trump, protected by free speech, will feed them raw meat of minority stereotype, of rigged elections, of biased courts.
Out of office, he will make his presidential lies, vilification of opponents, denial of fact, seem like a Boy Scout oath.
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What is frightening beyond Trump is that some Republicans in Congress will undoubtedly appear with him and provide cover of respectability, more protective of their seats than their honor. Of 196 Republicans in the House this session, 129 supported the Texas challenge to election results in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia and Wisconsin, effectively violating their oath of office to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
The Supreme Court declared Trumpian legal garbage they supported unworthy of a hearing. That should have been the end of it, but it isn’t and won’t be.
Orange hair at the podium, red caps in the audience means brownshirts on the street, like COVID19, spread across this land. Destroying confidence in elections and the legitimacy of our three equal branches of government cannot be masked.
There is a vaccine: a compound of courage, truth, devotion to democratic principles. Without that bipartisan vaccine, our country as we know it and love it, may not survive four more years of Donald Trump.
Norman Sherman of Coralville has worked extensively in politics, including as Vice President Hubert Humphrey’s press secretary, and authored a memoir “From Nowhere to Somewhere.”