The Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue

Thanks to Republican inaction, millions of unemployed workers have seen their last checks from the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, which was meant to sustain them through a coronavirus-ravaged economy; the virus is still raging, but their life support has been cut off.

So Trump has completely botched his job, bringing unnecessary pain to millions of Americans and unnecessary death to thousands. He may not care, but voters do. So he should be trying to turn things around, if only as a matter of political and personal self-interest.

But here’s the thing: Even if Trump were the kind of guy who could learn from his mistakes, it’s too late. If we had found ourselves in our current situation a year ago, there might still have been time for Trump to get the virus under control and turn the economy around. But the election is just around the corner.

Suppose that the numbers on deaths and jobs were to get somewhat better over the next three months. How much would that improve voters’ views of the denier in chief? How much credence would the public give, even to genuinely good news, after the false dawn this past spring? At this point Trump is simply a failed president, and everyone except his die-hard supporters knows it.

But as I said at the beginning, Trump is one of those nightmare bosses who can’t do the job but won’t step aside.

So of course he’s now talking about delaying the election. This was predictable; indeed, Joe Biden predicted it months ago, amid much mockery from pundits (none of whom, I predict, will apologize).

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Now, Trump can’t do that. There will be an election on Nov. 3. But what Trump can do, if he loses, is claim that the election was stolen, that there were millions of fraudulent votes, that the results aren’t legitimate. Hey, he did that after losing the popular vote in 2016, even though he won the Electoral College.



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