What if President Trump loses in 2020, but doesn't leave?
She's not the first to speculate about a Trump who won't go away. When comedian Bill Maher floated that notion last year on his HBO program, not as a joke but as a serious concern, my personal reaction was, hey, don't give him any ideas.
Yet Trump has said more than a little to feed the notion himself. In his final 2016 presidential debate with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, less than a month before Election Day, Trump promised to "totally accept" the election results, "if I win."
Since he did win the Electoral College, Trump's threat went away. But he went on to complain anyway, tweeting blame on some sort of a ghost-voting conspiracy for allegedly robbing him of the popular vote, "if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally."
"In many places the same person in California votes many times," Trump said at the official White House event in West Virginia on tax cuts in April 2018. "They always like to say, 'Oh that's a conspiracy theory.' It's not a conspiracy theory." Again, he offered no evidence to back up that claim.
Speaking at a fundraiser for the National Republican Congressional Committee in April, Trump cast suspicion on the close elections that Democrats won in 2018. "There's something going on," he said, telling his audience that they needed to "be a little bit more paranoid than you are, OK?" Again, he offered no proof to back that up.
And, requiring no proof are the jokes Trump has casually dropped about somehow extending his constitutional term in office. "Well, this is really beautiful," he said, accepting a gift from the Wounded Warrior Project in April. "This will find a permanent place, at least for six years, in the Oval Office. Is that OK? I was going to joke, General, and say at least for 10 or 14 years, but we would cause bedlam if I said that, so we'll say six."
Right. I, too, have an award for the president. It's a copy of a fine old song by Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks: "How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away?"
It's got a good beat and he can dance to it.
(E-mail Clarence Page at email@example.com.)(c) 2019 CLARENCE PAGE DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.