The other night at a rally in Georgia, packed with red MAGA hatted supporters, President Trump joked that if he loses to Joe Biden he might have to leave the country. OK, Mr. Trump: Go ahead. Pack your bags.
A United States without Donald Trump as its president would be sweet, and the way things are going, it just might happen. But a United States with Trump actually gone? That would be nirvana. On Twitter today, someone asked where they thought Trump would go. Several suggested Russia. At least one said "Hell."
Here's what Trump said as he was ridiculing Biden, who made Trump look like a schoolyard chump during their dueling network interviews Thursday evening -- which Biden roundly won substantively as well as in the ratings, with 600,000 more viewers than Trump:
“I shouldn’t joke because you know what? Running against the worst candidate in the history of presidential politics puts pressure on me," Trump cracked. "Could you imagine if I lose? My whole life, what am I going to do? I’m going to say ‘I lost to the worst candidate in the history of politics.’ I’m not going to feel so good. Maybe I’ll have to leave the country? I don’t know.”
There was a murmur and some chuckles in the crowd.
The thing is, it's no joke. Trump very well could be out the door as the American people -- or most of us, anyway -- have had enough of his act and are ready to kick him to the curb. Even members of his own team have deserted him, coming out with tell-all books, testifying against him, and otherwise letting it be known what they think of him.
According to the New York Times, even the national polls that tend to lean toward the president have Biden with leads ranging from 6 percent to 15 percent. Other polls have Biden up by as much as 17 points.
And now, some Republican senators say they fear a Republican bloodbath.
Said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) last week. "If on Election Day, people are angry, and they've given up hope and are depressed—which is what Pelosi and Schumer want them to be—I think it could be a terrible election. It could be a bloodbath of Watergate proportions."
Sen. Ben Sasse (NB), like other Republican lawmakers, told constituents in a town hall on Wednesday that Trump mishandled the Covid-19 response, "flirted with white supremacists" and suggested the GOP could face an electoral "bloodbath."
On YouTube, in answer to a constituent's question, Sasse said, "The way he kisses dictators' butts. I mean, the way he ignores that the Uighurs are in literal concentration camps in Xinjiang right now. He hasn't lifted a finger on behalf of the Hong-Kongers. He and I have a very different foreign policy. It isn't just that he fails to lead our allies, it's that the United States now regularly sells out our allies under his leadership. The way he treats women and spends like a drunken sailor. The ways I criticize President Obama for that kind of spending, I've criticized President Trump for as well. He mocks evangelicals behind closed doors. His family has treated the presidency like a business opportunity. He's flirted with white supremacists."
Today, on MSNBC, Sasse repeated that concern, and said that's why he's kept his distance from the president, has not endorsed him, and is not campaigning for him.
So, like the bully he is, Trump struck back.
In a series of tweets, he called Sasse a "liability to the Republican Party and an embarrassment to the Great State of Nebraska." He said Sasse is the "least effective" Republican senator who "truly doesn’t have what it takes to be great" and suggested that the Republican party "should find a new and more viable candidate."
All of this indicates that things are getting dicey for the Republicans, many of whom will, no doubt, be relieved when he is gone.
However, Democrats should guard against overconfidence. With two weeks remaining before Election Day, when the last votes will be cast, much could happen to change things, as they learned in 2016, when the polls had Hillary Clinton comfortably ahead only for her to lose in the Electoral College.
Moreover, Trump has refused to say he will gracefully turn the government over should Biden beat him. Trump and the Republicans have pulled every dirty trick in the book to hold down the vote, from warning against fraud with mail-in voting and then trying to sabotage the Postal Service, to making it harder for people to vote in state after state even as the pandemic continues to worsen.
And now, he's stacking the Supreme Court with a friendly justice, whom he apparently sees as an ace in the hole should the election results be contested in court, which he likely will do regardless of whether it plunges America's democracy into crisis. He will continue spreading conspiracy theories online, mobilizing his militant supporters in the streets, and spreading lies upon lies in his super-spreader rallies and on social media.
How can we fight back? By voting. Biden's margin must be so substantial that there can be no doubt as to the legitimacy of his victory. Nothing can be left to chance.