Damned with him, damned without him.
“Out out damn Trump.” -Medium post, October, 2020
Republicans are playing roles snatched from an eighteenth century Restoration Comedy: shall I chasten thee or hold my tongue? Sorry, Mr. (former President) Obama, Republicans are NOT intimidated by Trump (1), they are holding onto their collective tongues…and their wallets.
Let’s get real. Election 2020 is over. All Republican eyes are on 2022 and 2024 and the major donors are also watching where ‘the chips fall.’ All Republican candidates can do at this point is hurt themselves by miscalculating their donors and a primary attempt in 2022. True, to Obama’s point, some Republicans may be fearing reprisals; plausibly, most are fearing as Sen. Lindsey Graham once eloquently put it, “the phone stopping ringing.”
In politics right now political campaign calculation “trumps” ‘intimidation.’ Republicans and their donors play hard. And they have a lot of ‘good work’ behind them: voter suppression, gerrymandering, dis-informed Facebook trolls, smearing, election meddling.
Take a page from perhaps the most powerful Republican in the country right now, Sen. Mitch McConnell: ‘keep your powder dry,’ don’t stop the great work we have (taken years) to accomplish.’ In other words focus on concentrating power, not on sharing information and its sidekick comity.
That Obama replied to Capehart’s question like a psychotherapist and not a political organizer echoes Biden’s new role as healer-in-chief. Adroitly, Obama is framing the Trump-Biden “transition” in the context of 2008 when he and Bush were challenged by the economy hemorrhaging. Obama is giving Biden space to come up short of the nation’s collective expectations. Arguably, the Obama-Capehart interview signals to Trump and his enablers that time is NOT on their side. But counter to this notion is that Trump and company already know this and now — for the time being — the authoritarian amalgams of criminality and power accumulating are running the clock.
So, why NOT run out the clock?
(1) Interview with Jonathan Capehart, MSNBC News, November 19 and 21, 2020