As this awful and eventful year winds to a close, there are a precious few things of which we can be certain.
One of them is that we are getting a new president, despite what your high school friends are posting on Facebook. Donald Trump lost this election by 74 electoral votes and more than 7 million actual ones. And not even Mike Pence can make it all better for him.
But the fact remains that 74.2 million Americans voted for this boor, this heel, this shitstain on the fabric of our republic.
And they’re not going anywhere.
Trump may have lost some of his people since November, with his abstinence from anything that resembles governing. He may have lost some by refusing to sign the military-funding bill, by playing chicken with the latest round of COVID relief, by the sedition in which he and his cohorts are actively engaged, even now.
That leaves, by conservative estimate, 30-50 million malcontents roaming free in the United States, many of whom — if grand statements on Parler are to be believed — do not plan on recognizing Joe Biden as president even after he is inaugurated.
Now it’s true that when Trump became president, a strong resistance movement coalesced immediately: anti-fascists, civil rights groups and even newspapers mobilized against anticipated abuses of power and destruction of democratic norms.
What’s the difference?
In the case of Trump, we were proven right almost immediately, and in the end it was even worse than we thought. None of us, for example, foresaw the danger after Trump disbanded the pandemic response team. We couldn’t know that he would deliberately misinform the American people about threat of the coronavirus. We never expected that Trump would send coded signals to the Proud Boys on live, national television. Even through all that, the resistance recognized his right to govern, however ineptly.
Conversely, all Biden resistors want is to call off our representative democracy so that their guy can be president, perhaps for life — or until 2024, when Don Jr. can run.
In that way, resisting Trump is not the same thing as resisting anyone who is not Trump. Yet resist they will, leaving the rest of us to grapple with the problem of bringing them back into the American fold.
And if past behavior is an indicator of future performance, they likely will not come quietly.