It was almost four years ago — on Jan. 20, 2017 — two enduring myths were born.
First, from the Right: President Donald J. Trump’s inaugural crowd was bigger than that of President Barack H. Obama.
Second, from the Left: Trump would destroy American Democracy.
As to crowd size, photos taken from the same vantage point at the same time of day clearly showed the crowd for the historic first (half) Black president was larger than for the first builder/developer/casino operator/reality TV host.
Most of Trump’s acolytes did not believe the photographic evidence, setting the stage for four years of refusal to believe simple facts and self-evident truths. As Kellyanne Conway explained in regard to the inaugural numbers, Trump had “alternative facts.”
In TrumpWorld 2 + 2 can equal 5. It is staggering, but while lying is unethical and dishonest, it is not a betrayal of Democracy. Ask any politician.
Almost four years later the same guiding principle allowed Trump to claim election fraud without a scintilla of what the courts refer to as “evidence” or “proof,” which does not encompass theories of communist (and Hugo Chavez) interference put forth by (soon-to-be-disbarred?) attorney Sidney Powell.
I just mentioned the courts. Keep that in mind.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, almost from the beginning, some hysterical Democrats were wetting their pants with predictions about how Trump would doom Democracy.
Right off the bat, as The Donald lashed out against “fake news,” panicked Democrats were talking about how he would break the First Amendment and silence the press.
Really, people were seriously pushing that on social media.
“How will that work?,” I asked innocently.
“Is he going to send the 101st Airborne to surround the New York Times Building as Eisenhower surrounded Little Rock’s Central High School in 1957?”
Trump mimicked reporters, he shouted at them, he ridiculed them at rallies, he roasted them in tweets, but what did he actually do to them?
Less than Obama, who sicced the FBI and Justice Department on reporters.
Throughout his presidency, as Trump admittedly shattered norms of courtesy and procedure, the Left rang one alarm bell after another, that Trump was destroying Democracy.
Even today, you can fish around online and find some speculation that Trump will not leave office. He will barricade himself in the Oval Office and call on his militia supporters to bring their AR-15s to Pennsylvania Avenue to protect the presidency that he has lost.
Some of you, suffering with Trump Derangement Syndrome, probably believe that even now. And you call the Trumpsters delusional.
I mean, you impeached him for Christ’s sake, to no avail. Every time you attacked him, you made him stronger, like a space monster in a ‘50s science-fiction film.
The Steele dossier, the Russian connection, accusations of treason, the browbeating of poor little Ukraine . . . all proved hollow.
When my Democratic pals wailed about how Trump was destroying Democracy, I said, “How exactly? Show me one actual thing he has done to kill Democracy.”
I didn’t get a good answer from them, but for fairness I dug up a piece from the Washington Post, in which a group of university political scientists listed the threats against Democracy. Going to academics for a fair opinion of Trump is like asking vegetarians to judge a pig roast. For me, most of their points are perceptional rather than procedural, but you can decide.
How many times did we hear the phrase “constitutional crisis” from a cheerleading media that was hoping for one?
“He is ruling by executive order!”
So did Obama.
He is making agency heads “acting” so they don’t have to get Senate approval.
It’s all legal.
Way back at the beginning, what about the “Muslim ban” (that wasn’t actually a Muslim ban), to his continuing struggle in the courts to get the election reversed.
His first “Muslim ban” was knocked down by the courts, and Trump obeyed the court order and rewrote the “ban” until it passed muster.
As to his current wild mouse ride through the courts, he is following established procedure, like it or not. And each time the court rules against him he screams like a stuck pig but he accepts it. (OK, maybe he appeals, but that’s still coloring within the lines. It is using the Democratic tools used by Al Gore.)
This is why I referenced the courts way back at the beginning.
The Colonial geniuses who created us, designed a government with three equal branches — executive, legislative, and judicial.
While my Democratic friends were running around like Chicken Little, I did not see the sky falling.
If the executive is eccentric, to say the least, and if congress is cowardly,, the bulwark of the courts remain.
I always believed, and still do, that our Democracy is stronger than those who would subvert it. I knew Trump was no match for our 244-year record of self rule, that in the final analysis even those who believe in Trump’s inflated inaugural numbers — like Trump himself — will accept the order of the courts.
And he will be out of the White House by Jan. 20.