The above quote is from a poem by Dylan Thomas, paraphrased by me, and poses the question:
What if, when Trump loses the election, he refuses to accept it and does not go gentle into that good night?
I believe Trump is capable of – correction, embraces – behaviors with only his self-interest in mind. So it isn’t hard for me to imagine this nightmare in the not-too-distant future:
After Trump is defeated in November and the new president takes the oath of office in January, Trump refuses to leave the White House.
We’d have two presidents.
We’d have chaos.
The “two presidents” scenario isn’t that far-fetched – Venezuela has two presidents, Nicolas Maduro and Juan Guaido:
It’s been that way since January 2019 and there’s nothing in sight that even hints at a resolution.
Venezuela is a complex situation, but come January 2021, our situation would be simple:
When Trump loses, he’ll scream voter fraud. He’ll declare the election invalid, demand a recount or a do-over. Or he could simply say, “The election was fraudulent and I’m president for the next four years.”
And he’ll get support from his Republican Senate toadies, Barr, family members and certainly some or all Cabinet members.
Trump has been screaming about “Voter Fraud!” for a long time, and now has “set the stage for this with his false claims about mail-in ballots,” says Fred Kaplan, author of this June 1 article:
I found Kaplan’s article informative, objective and well-written. But before I gave it full credibility, I researched him online. He’s got a Ph.D. in political science from MIT, done many years of political reporting for respected publications, and authored more than a half-dozen books including a Pulitzer Prize Finalist. At 65 Kaplan, as the Farmers Insurance commercials say, has seen a thing or two.
I decided Fred (left) had cred.
And because Fred has cred, so did his article. The simple statement in the title – Trump Can’t Just Refuse to Leave Office – was comforting.
And it was comforting to learn others were thinking about Trump refusing to leave. In addition to Kaplan saying so, he cites Bill Maher “warning of this specter on his HBO show Real Time;” Kaplan quotes New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, who “called Trump’s compliance with the election results ‘the most critical question for American democracy.’” Even Joe Biden, says Kaplan, “has raised the possibility on a few occasions.”
I was in good company.
And the reasons Kaplan offers as to why Trump can’t just refuse – and there are many – make sense.
Kaplan walks us through the reasons, step by step: the nuclear codes that expire when the new president is sworn in and receives the new codes; what the military, Secret Service, and foreign leaders will do, all in support of the new president; the possible charges facing anyone – Cabinet members, for example – who support Trump’s actions.
In other words, Kaplan concludes,
“Trump could hole himself up in the Oval Office, but the Oval Office would very soon be cut off from all power. He would have no choice but to give up.”
I, however, prefer to take my comfort level a step further.
If Trump refuses to vacate the White House, I want U.S. Marshals or the police or whatever the appropriate law enforcement agency is to escort Trump out of the White House. Preferably handcuffed. Definitely handcuffed.
If they’re dragging Trump out – better yet.
They hustle him to a police cruiser and open the back door. One of the officers puts his hand on the top of Trump’s head to lower him into the back seat – like you’ve seen police do on TV a zillion times.
And then – just because he can – the officer deliberately messes up Trump’s hair.
Really messes it up.
Worse than Boris Johnson:
And not only were others besides me thinking about Trump refusing to leave office, others were also envisioning that, and its aftermath – with a little help from PhotoShop.
Kaplan suggests that the new president’s acting attorney general will have drawn up arrest warrants for Trump “on charges – at minimum – of criminal trespassing.”
“If Trump calls on the armed forces or militias or the nation’s sheriffs to come defend him, he might also be charged with incitement or insurrection…the pretend monarch is taken away in handcuffs.”
I found these creations online, and thought they were particularly good:
Lacking PhotoShop, I couldn’t begin to match the perfection of these images, but I tried my hand at it, anyway.
I’ll bet you didn’t know Trump has tattoos, did you?