There is no master plan.
There is no four-dimensional chess game being played.
There is no laying the groundwork for 2024, nor is there a rebranding campaign going on.
He is not focused on establishing his own television network, and he is not interested in implementing conservative policies on his way out the door.
And of course, all of his pathetic acts of desperation are not the final maneuvers in a ludicrous, idiotic conspiracy involving satanic cannibals.
It’s perfectly obvious—or should be at this point—that the president is a narcissistic sociopath who is incapable of long-term planning. And although he lies nonstop, he is honest about his lust for power and contempt for humanity, democracy, and Americans in general.
So why are so many people—from respected journalists to intelligent politicians to pretty good actors—mystified about what is going on?
Perhaps we want to believe, despite all evidence, that Americans did not elect a corrupt con man who is indifferent to the nation’s well-being. We want to imagine some hidden depth to a vapid egotist who received the enthusiastic support of over 70 million citizens. We want to believe that he is not as buffoonish and corrupt as he clearly is, and that there is some misguided principle being manipulated here.
But here is the truth about what Trump wants.
He wants to be president, and he wants Republicans to help him pull off a coup.
That’s it. That’s all.
Sure, there may be supporting malignancies, like his desire for revenge and gluttonous appetite for cash.
But really, he is trying to bully and cajole the GOP into overthrowing the government for him. And he has gotten more than a few conservatives to say, “Sure, why not destroy democracy?”
Apparently, this fact is too disturbing for many Americans to acknowledge, so they scratch their heads and wonder what Trump is possibly trying to accomplish by filing one ridiculous lawsuit after another. Or they question why he flings out wild accusations that shatter upon the slightest analysis. Or they ask why the White House took so long to acknowledge reality and allow the transition process to begin.
OK, one more time—Trump is trying to subvert the will of the people so that he can remain in the White House. It really is as simple as that.
The fact that he is sucking at this endeavor doesn’t mean that he has a hidden agenda. The Trump Administration has been one long study in cartoonish incompetence—from building his mythical wall to protecting Americans from Covid-19. So why should his attempt to seize power be anything other than haphazard and flailing?
There are no smokescreens. His lawyers really don’t know the difference between Michigan and Minnesota. But this just means that Trumpists are idiots. It doesn’t prove that they are master manipulators with unknowable goals.
After all, if we saw a kindergartener throw a massive temper tantrum for ice cream, we wouldn’t say, “I wonder what he really wants” and attribute complex motivations that end with the assumption that the kid is angling for broccoli.
No, we would say that the little brat wants some goddamn ice cream.
The president, who has been compared to a toddler more than once, is that spoiled kid who wants ice cream. You can tell him that he can’t have any more, or that the store is out of ice cream. Hell, you can tell him that thousands of people might die if he keeps shrieking for ice cream.
It won’t matter. Because he has always gotten everything he ever wanted, no matter how horribly he has acted.
He will never stop kicking, screaming, and threatening. And there is no mystery about what he wants.