That so many Americans are interested in Presidential “legacies” and are personally and emotionally involved with “my President” and "my leader” is unhealthy. After all, the President was supposed to be a Constitutional public official.
A President should respect the Constitution and Union, obey and enforce the laws, and keep a firm but prudent stance in regard to the world beyond our borders. He was not assigned to be the leader of the world or to have a legacy as the reformer of human society. “Legacies” usually mean some change in society and change is always the agenda of some self-interested minority.
And we should remember that any President is always first and foremost a politician.
There are still optimists who think Trump might yet emerge as the winner of a second term. He has against him much of the judiciary and of his own party, the authorities in most of the States in question, the entire federal law enforcement apparatus, the military, and the media. Suppose the unlikely event that he emerges victorious from the lawsuits, the States, the Electoral College, and the House of Representatives. Does he have the determination, the skill and vision, and the support in power to deal with the obstruction and violent uprising that is bound to come?
His election would provoke the greatest law and order crisis ever seen in an English-speaking country in modern times. We can expect conditions similar to what preceded dictatorships in Russia and Germany. The Enemy is well-organised, we Deplorables are not.
Wishful thinkers are convinced that Trump has left a “legacy” of a new perspective and direction in American politics and society, that he has permanently reformed the Republican party and given a voice to us Deplorables, the millions who have supported him.
It might be useful to consider how we Deplorables will be faring after late January. Will we have a better view of the future of our country? No. Will we feel more secure? No. Are we less fearful of the federal government? No. Are we likely to be more prosperous? In fact, millions of us have been devastated economically by Trump’s truckling to the bureaucracy over the Covid scare.
How many Trump voters and policemen have now been killed and maimed by “peaceful protesters”? How many are now in prison for defending themselves against thugs who have been freed? I see no evidence that Trump really cares about this and I know that the Republican Establishment does not.
In power Trump was unable to master the Republican Establishment. Is he more likely to do so out of power? Nothing prevents the party from reverting to its natural state, serving the capitalists and providing public office to its myriads of mediocrities while expecting to keep the votes of us Deplorables who have nowhere else to go---even after four years of Trump.
Good folks in Georgia are holding rallies and demonstrations in support of the GOP candidates in two doubtful U.S. Senate elections. And what use if Republicans maintain a slight majority in the Senate? Both the candidates are weak on immigration and the defense of Southern symbols. And doubtless Mitt Romney is smiling complacently at the prospect of thwarting any opposition to the Harris agenda. Trump is working for the candidates. He is not doing it for himself or his people, but for the Party, which will show no gratitude. Romney is a genuine Republican while Trump is a Republican in Name Only.
Trump’s great and enthusiastic support rests upon his rhetorical performance in repudiation of the Deep State. But there is nothing substantial to justify this support, which is entirely sympathetic and hopeful without even the rudiments of a useful organisation of the Red People. Making America Great Again is a slogan, not a political agenda.
A Trump post-presidential movement will require an organisation, a platform of tangible satisfactions for his voters, and a clear rallying justification. (And a determination to destroy the Republican party.)
The primary constituency of both parties is the financiers. This is a given of American government since 1865. But beyond that the parties still have to win elections. The Democrats already have all that is needed. They offer tangible benefits, i.e. money rewards, to the bureaucrats and minorities. They have a rationale---Cultural Marxism, an evil delusion but one that seems to attract millions of Americans. Red State Americans have nothing except our discontent.
It is true that Trump has suffered slander and obstruction of an extent never before seen by an elected Chief of State. His task was very likely impossible for anyone. But he is his own worst enemy whose legacy will be but a blip in the story of American degeneration.
But there might be still some hope for a legacy. Trump might actually come to understand the people for whom he has posed as a spokesman and become the genuine leader of a movement or a new party that represents them. Perhaps there are new younger leaders rising now from the grassroots who will speak for us Red people. That prospect is hopeful, providing such potential leaders are not bought or suppressed by the Republicans before they can become effective.
Clyde Wilson is a distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at the University of South Carolina He is the author or editor of over thirty books and published over 600 articles, essays and reviews