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There have been lawless moments in the history of the United States. The Wild West comes to mind, the era of prohibition and, more recently, the first three years of Trump's presidency. All will look like going out of church compared to what's going to happen in 248 days, not necessarily because of the nature of the crimes but rather because they will be committed to sight at the highest level .
Win or lose, the day after the election, the world will see the real Donald Trump. Not that we don't already have a good idea of who this president is, but he's going to take it all on another level: corruption, lying, self-negotiation. Right now, although it doesn't often seem like that, there is still a certain level of restraint. Trump knows he can't do everything he wants to do.
That would change once he won the election. After obtaining carte blanche from the Senate and stacking the courts with judges who share his ideology, he will have survived the last obstacle to uncontrolled power held responsible by American voters.
Essentially, Trump will have four years in which he can do whatever he wants.
Some things will happen right away. If you are the director of a prison holding one of Trump's many allies, you'd better have the keys in your hand. Because each of them will work.
Other pardons will be more or less sold in a way that will make Bill Clintons very graceful. Marc Rich look like a masterclass in political ethics. Trump's second inauguration will be an example of a textbook for an autocrat channeling money into his own pockets. It's going to be so bad it'll make Vladimir Putin blush. And this time there will be tanks in the parade.
After that, all bets are turned off. Maybe hell forced Mike Pence to resign and appoint Ivanka as vice president. Perhaps hell is moving a federal agency to one of its troubled complexes and charging them $ 1,000 per room per day. Maybe hell stops funding all of science. Maybe hell would start a war or neutralize a hurricane. It is difficult to predict what his lost brain will prepare.
There will certainly be a scouring of his enemies. And hell spends these four years trying to figure out how to stay in power longer.
If you are wondering: can he really do these things? then you are asking the wrong question. The good one is: who's going to stop it? It will not be Congress, it will not be the sycophants with whom it has surrounded itself, and it will probably not be the courts. And even if the courts were to rule against him, what would happen if Trump just didn't care? It is not as if he had shown respect for the judiciary.
We had a glimpse of the following acquittal of Senate Trumps when he intervened in the Roger Stones case and criticized the sentence, the judge and even a juror.
Let's say that a court decides that the administration cannot dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency and spend its budget on a gold-plated Air Force One. How will he implement this decision? Who will do it? Do you really believe the system will work as expected? Because this president has shown time and time again that this is not the case.
Trump has spent his entire presidency undermining institutions and eroding American confidence in them, so why stop now? If re-elected, the United States will be fundamentally transformed in a way that we cannot currently imagine.
If Trump loses, however, things will be even worse in the short term, especially if it is a close win. There is no guarantee that there will be a peaceful and orderly transition of power. We have already defined how Trump will try to stay in office by contesting the election result. Too many issues are at stake for him, including whether he will be charged as soon as he leaves office.
In addition to undermining the legitimacy of his opponents' victory, Trump will try most of the above. But instead of having four years to do it, hell has to pile it all up in 77 days. It will be corruption and the abuse of power over steroids.
These two and a half months will be crazy off the charts, and his anybodys will guess what will happen besides doing Bush v. Gore look like a friendly neighborhood conflict.
Maybe Trump will sell overpriced condos in exchange for executive orders. Perhaps hell evokes a crisis that would force him to stay in power longer. Maybe Diamond & Silk will become defense secretary. Maybe Trump will try to forgive himself preemptively for all the crimes he has ever committed. Hell may be returning Alaska to Russia.
All of the above assumes that there is even an election, which would be 100% certainty every two years. But in 2020, election day, there is at least a chance that it will not be as usual. Who can say, for example, that Trump will not cancel the election because of coronavirus problems? Hed is hailed as a public health champion on Fox News. Or that he would not dispatch party squads to polling stations in highly democratic districts to prevent electoral fraud?
It is impossible to say exactly what will happen. The only thing we can predict with a high degree of certainty is that it's going to be absolutely crazy, so take a stroll for a really wild ride, America!
The above drawing was created by DonkeyHotey for WhoWhatWhy from these images: caricature of Donald Trump (DonkeyHotey / Flickr CC BY 2.0), bandit (Nick Harvey / Flickr CC BY 2.0)and background (The White House / Wikimedia).
Panorama homepage photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy DoD / Wikimedia.
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