Why him?

To: The Handy Dandy Tool

Yesterday I, along with countless far better informed and more articulate journalists, wondered aloud whether all the signs and portents emanating (spewing, really) from your administration and the GOP power-pack indicate that a coup is neigh. Indeed, for all the world it looks as though you all have pushed and cajoled one another and the angriest, best-armed faction of your base, right up to the edge of the “we will not leave” cliff.

For sure, there are the quasi-reassuring murmurs telling us that this is all bluster meant to soothe your ego and that no one REALLY thinks you won’t leave office without a fight. The subtext is that you just have to get some other ego-stoking plan in place and then you’ll leave with a bunch of bravado and fist-pumping. There’s also the “it’s going to be ok” narrative that insists “our Constitutional norms and doctrines” are holding strong and Trump et al. can’t possibly prevail in the long run.

I actually do believe these takes have merit if for no other reason than I seriously doubt you want to risk being further embarrassed by being forcibly removed from the Oval Office – on camera. But still, if you and your GOP props continue to hold the Presidency hostage for another week or two, I think we’ll have to rethink this deal and grapple with the idea that you all might just go for it.

Before we get there, though, I want to see if I can unpack what feels to me like a big-ass question in all of this, which is why you? Why have Mitch, Lindsey, Ted and the gang gone as far as they’ve already gone in denying the reality of President-elect Biden’s win and your loss? Why are they willing to play this very out there alternative-reality game for the likes of you? Does it have anything at all to do with you or are you just a handy tool to them?

You definitely have the ability to whip up a crowd of ardent MAGA supporters. You definitely belong to the “did he really just say that out loud?” club, which gives them tons of cover (as in, they look mighty composed, reasonable, and most importantly, trustworthy, compared to you). You also appear to be supremely malleable on the cheap such that a bit of praise here or a reception held there and you’ll deliver whatever goods are on order. But even with all that, you seem like a major liability, you seem like someone who could easily blurt out what’s actually going on, pull the veil back as it were, and expose the whole evil plot.

So, are they reasonably sure you’ll mind all of your (and their) p’s and q’s assiduously because they’ve uncovered some super deep dark terrible secret thing you did? Do they have you by the short hairs financially over some criminal conduct or just plain old bad judgment? And/or is there a “gentleman’s” agreement such that the eventual spoils from this exercise will be divvied up and you’ve been promised the lion’s share if you just keep up the defiant Tweeting?

Basically, what gives? Why are they willing to hang themselves out to dry for all the world to see (literally)? I know it’s something of a cop out, but my hunch is that it’s all of the above plus the still staggering fact that 72.7 million Americans voted for you and they simply cannot afford to be perceived as crossing you. I don’t quite know why I felt compelled to draw this all out when really, the math is simple – you’re still wildly popular with Republicans even after (or, really, because of) all the shitty, shitty things you’ve done to US, the environment, and the entire world population and if any of them want to continue to hold elective office, they need to play along with the charade.

How does one come back from such a thing?

May we be safe from a GOP that has clearly sold its soul.
May we be willing to not ever forget this betrayal of our democracy.
May we support the solid, get-the-job-done-regardless strength of our incoming President and VP.
May we truly accept that we can never take democracy for granted again.

Tracy Simpson

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