For anyone interested in hearing a mind deteriorate before your very...well...ears, just listen to some of the conversation Donald Trump had yesterday with fellow Republican Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state. A few snippets should do nicely.
In the president's desperation to overthrow the Georgia presidential balloting and thus disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters, be tried to convince, then cajole, then threaten, and finally humiliate Raffensperger. Angry and impatient, Trump called the secretary of state a child and accused him of dishonesty or incompetence for not believing there was widespread ballot fraud in Atlanta. (It has been proven countless times that there was not.)
As usual Trump reserved a healthy dollop of vitriol for Brian Kemp, the Republican governor who personally and officially spurned Trump's claims of voter fraud. “I can’t imagine he’s ever getting elected again, I’ll tell you that much right now,” Trump said of Kemp, and twice referred to himself as a schmuck for endorsing him.
As of yet no one has denied the schmuck accusation or been able to disprove it.
And in one last bit of stupidity in sixty-plus minutes replete with it, Trump took a few wild swings at Stacey Abrams, claiming that she was laughing at Raffensperger and Georgia Republicans in general. Abrams is perhaps, more than any other individual, responsible for producing the unprecedented turnout of Black voters last November, and it's difficult to imagine how a deliberate attack from the president won't motivate her or the voters even more.
We know that to speak of legalities in the same breath as Donald Trump is futile, but it does bear mentioning that an attempt to suborn an elected official to undo an election result is one of those high crimes and misdemeanors that constitute much of the president's daily life. He can of course always pardon himself.
Certainly the blindly devoted Trump followers will view yesterday's debacle as one final heroic attempt—Don Quixote tilting against windmills. Trump may very well be the hero of his own story, but those of us who have not lost control of our senses can see this little adventure for what it is—he's the little child in the playground who has lost fair and square and insists he was cheated. When adults are nearby, children can learn a lesson; but because Trump has never had that adult supervision, its absence has overwhelmed him.
Yesterday's transcript is not the conversation of a man in control of his actions. He's the weeping child who came in second.
In the country he continues to blight, we had the opportunity to impeach him and the option of the 25th Amendment to remove him. We failed both times. Now we have an anxious 16 days ahead as we wonder what Trump may yet do to sabotage the America that roundly rejected him: he may "love" his country with that flag on his lapel, but because he despises its very foundations, he is not finished attacking them.