Two men cling to power.
They are very different men facing very different circumstances. But the problem is the same.
Donald Trump and Mike Madigan do not want to let go.
They have known this special something that comes from controlling the fates of others and submitting events to their will and they are not ready to give up on that.
When some readers raised this comparison just a few days ago, I rejected it outright, so great are the personal differences between the two men.
But, upon reflection, there is no common denominator in their current situation: power and its allure.
Trump is hanging on to the presidency despite the loss of the election. Now is not the time for him to leave, just the time for him to admit that he will.
His claims that the election was stolen from him are baseless, and his methods of pursuing those claims are dangerously reckless. His efforts to undermine the vote are unprecedented in our modern history.
There were people saying from the start that he would refuse to step down, an argument that was used to justify impeachment, among other things, and I thought then we had to cross that bridge when we got there.
Now the bridge is in front of us. It is a precarious period when Trump was elected but remains in power. On the other side is the Biden presidency, which is by no means a safe haven but dry land from the past four years, only Trump and his saboteurs trying to blow up the bridge.
We need to trust our legal systems and the belief that other Republicans who still hold power will see the wisdom in making everyone safe.
In the meantime, I would respectfully ask my Democratic friends to think twice before taking part in street protests in the coming weeks.
Now may be the time for this, but know that there are forces both on the right and on the left that will take any opportunity to take us further into dangerous territory.
It only took Trump four years in the White House to develop a thirst for the kind of power that not even money and celebrities can buy.
Imagine what happens with Madigan, who clings to the presidency of Illinois House, a position he has held for four decades.
Unlike Trump, Madigan has just been re-elected to his seat on the Southwest side and has asked his colleagues to give him another term as president, which they seemed prepared to do despite a corruption scandal that was stinging him. heels.
But a federal indictment on Wednesday of a key Madigan ally in an alleged scheme involving the speaker has turned the tide, sparking enough defections that he now appears to fall short of the 60 votes needed to maintain control of the House .
Just as Trump says the election result was unfair, Madigan sees unfairness in a legal process that put him in suspicion without charging him. The result is the same: he has to go.
Of the two, I would consider Madigan to be the more likely to go quietly and honorably in the end, but, if there’s a way to hold it any longer, he’ll try.
More than any politician I’ve ever known, Madigan has held power for himself, his efforts focused on maintaining his majority more than any particular set of political considerations.
They say timing is everything in politics, and the Madigans have been better than most. But he missed his signal to leave.
It would have come sometime after his role in defeating former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, when people like me were still happy to have him as a bulwark against Rauner policies, but before federal agents consecrated so much time and energy to investigate him.
Some Democrats worry that everything will fall apart for them without Madigan to orchestrate their strategy.
Sorry, but if Democrats can’t rule without Madigan, they don’t deserve to. And I expect them to get along very well.
Mike Madigan is not Donald Trump, and vice versa. But at the moment, they share the same problem of not knowing when to leave.
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