It is an article of faith for many Americans that the Donald Trump years were an aberration and that Joe Biden will usher in something close to normalcy. I’ll take the other side of that bet.
I believe the coming years are going to be at least as tumultuous as the Trump presidency. Although Biden will not directly cause that tumult, his weakness as a leader, of his own party and the nation, will help fuel discord and make it impossible for him to forge anything resembling normalcy.
Most of those who think Biden can wave a magic wand blame Trump alone for the deep polarization gripping America. They’re wrong — Trump was elected precisely because the country already was deeply polarized.
Moreover, while Trump’s personality is highly unorthodox, to say the least, he did not single-handedly set in motion the dangerous levels of strife engulfing our nation. His successful policies on immigration, taxes and the Mideast were fairly conventional by Republican standards.
Instead, the unrest and growing use of violence to achieve political ends are outgrowths of the extreme resistance movement against Trump. He ran as a disrupter, but was a piker compared to those who hated him and were willing to smash every social, political and legal norm to drive him from office.
That resistance was started by Hillary Clinton and holdouts from the 2016 election and spread to Democrats in Congress, especially Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. Their refusal to treat Trump as a legitimate president and worthy of their cooperation marks them as early victims of Trump Derangement Syndrome.
They incited and fanned the flames of the Russia collusion scam and used it, with the help of J. Edgar Comey and other crooked players in the FBI and intelligence agencies, to sabotage the president.
The bid to overturn the 2016 election was the first pandemic to strike America, and the contagion sickened mayors and governors in blue states, the mainstream media, Hollywood, academia, the courts and much of the sports and entertainment world.
The anything-goes madness made it acceptable in many quarters to declare that the president deserved to be assassinated.
The final industry to put its full force against him, the social-media giants, used their monopolies not just to restrict but ultimately to silence the president of the United States. It’s as if Facebook, Twitter, Google and Apple stamped the word “cancel” on the White House.
The tech blackout, while largely a response to the Capitol invasion, was the capstone of four years in which unwritten codes of conduct were broken and traditions shattered. The players were different, but the central explanation was always the same: Trump is dangerous, this time is different, we have no choice.
Trump certainly made his share of mistakes, especially during the post-election period, but the most provocative thing he did was refuse to surrender. For four years, each time he punched back, the would-be destroyers escalated their attacks, which were amplified by a media chorus. The New York Times, Washington Post, broadcast networks and CNN and MSNBC were on a mission to destroy him.
The claim that Trump’s conduct demanded an extraordinary effort against him is a convenient excuse. The truth is that elite institutions, businesses, unions and others aligned with Democrats made the choice that getting rid of Trump was more important than anything else.
Trump didn’t break those institutions and cause half the country to distrust them. The people running them did that.
There is lots of talk these days about the “big lie,” but perhaps the biggest is that America would return to normal when Trump was out of the way. He will be gone Wednesday at noon, but normalcy is nowhere to be seen.
Look at Washington, turned into a garrison town of fences, barbed wire and armed soldiers patrolling the streets. Is this a normal inauguration?
The visible response to the storming of Congress mirrors the rhetoric coming from Pelosi, who rushed a meaningless impeachment of Trump in just one day.
Before Pelosi, in the entire history of the United States, presidential impeachment was used only twice. She doubled that total in the last 13 months. Trump is her white whale.
If the departure of Trump could cure what ails America, we should be seeing signs of it already. But the victory has only stoked the anger of those who never accepted him as president.
Revenge is in the air, as members of Congress and far-left activists demand that airlines, hotels, publishing houses and other businesses shun Trump supporters. Some firms are complying in a craven bid to curry favor that smacks of banana republics where the vanquished are hounded and punished for daring to dissent.
In a move straight out of George Orwell, Dems and the media have twisted the plain meaning of words. “Violence” is speech when committed by Black Lives Matter, and “speech” is violence when it comes from Trumpers.
Political opposition from Republican members of Congress is deemed “sedition” and 74 million Trump voters are blithely smeared as white supremacists.
One so-called journalist at ABC News said America needs a “cleansing” of the Trump influence. The Times bemoaned the “mindset” of those who still support the president while others talk of “deprogramming” them. Comparisons of Trump to Hitler, Nazis and even 9/11 terrorists are so routine they no longer shock.
Unfortunately, this radical talk is accompanied by equally radical plans. The Dems aim to use the coronavirus and the riot as Trojan horses to expand government power and shrink individual freedoms in a push toward socialism. Election safeguards are being permanently dismantled.
To underscore the sweeping nature of what is coming, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, a member of “The Squad,” tweeted Thursday that “There will be no reset button. No return to normal. The status quo was unjust in the first place.”
Will Biden stop the madness? Can he?
Our hopes for America hang by a very slender thread.
Welcome to Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s new abnormal: Goodwin