As the president’s men exhaust the patience of a phalanx of federal judges with stupid lawsuits, Fintan O’Toole writes a bleak, often florid, and bracing post-mortem of the Trump presidency, or, rather, “there cannot be a postmortem on Trumpism” because “Trumpism is postmortem.” Trump has forever existed, O’Toole writes, as “an afterlife,” a survivor of bankruptcies and divorce and malicious parenting whose orange hand makes dead things great again.
[Trumpism’s] core appeal is necromantic. It promised to make a buried world rise again: coal mines would reopen in West Virginia, lost car plants would return to Detroit. Good, secure, unionized muscle jobs would come back. The unquestionable privilege of being white and male and native would be restored. Trump did not manage to do any of this, of course. But, in a sense, that very failure keeps the promise pure, unadulterated by the complexities of reality.
This invasion is thrilling for Republicans because it is also a kind of liberation. As the agonized tone of the 2013 autopsy report makes clear, the transformations of gender, class, race, and ethnicity necessary for them to be reborn as the voice of a genuine national majority, even if they had been possible, would have been extremely painful. Trump’s delivery of the death certificate freed the GOP from this torment. There was nothing to revive. What Trump stumbled on was that the solution to the party’s chronic inability to win a majority of voters in presidential elections was to stop trying and instead to embrace and enforce minority rule. This possibility is built into the American system. The electoral college, the massive imbalance in representation in the Senate, the ability to gerrymander congressional districts, voter suppression, and the politicization of the Supreme Court—these methods for imposing on the majority the will of the minority have always been available. Trump transformed them from tactical tools to permanent, strategic necessities.
I’m glad to read a denouncement of the racist anti-democratic anachronism called the Electoral College in the NYROB’s august pages.
Speaking of necromancy, a Miami-Dade church is the place where Trump dead enders gather to spread COVID as they pray to God “to use [his] powers during these investigations and amid this fraud that is being attempted by these evildoers who want to destroy our nation, destroy our faith,” etc.