On Monday, Politico Magazine pondered the unthinkable (for liberals). What if President Donald Trump actually wins re-election next year? In order to present this dystopian future, Politico's senior White House reporter Darren Samuelsohn took us on a trip to the (possibly) near future in a time machine.
Although it was Samuelsohn's obvious attempt to frighten readers with the imagined Trumpian dystopia of his second term, the result was so absurd that he has provided unintentional comedy gold.
So step into the Politico Time Machine and set the dial to January 2021 and let the flux capacitor power our trip to the apocalyptic Trump future which you can read about in "What If Trump Wins?"
The time is January 2021. The election has left the nation a psychological mess and a sulfurous cloud of election meddling by foreign hackers hangs over the still-contested results. Trump’s Ukraine scandal ultimately spared him but it wounded Joe Biden enough to give Elizabeth Warren the nomination. Once again, though, the result came down to the Electoral College, but even closer than in 2016. Warren, like Hillary Clinton four years earlier, took the popular vote by a resounding margin. But this mixed verdict has done nothing but further entrench the battle lines of a civil war that has become more than just a metaphor.
Wow! A civil war already? Since this is science fiction can we expect to see the evil Trump Skynet hunting down the brave Resistance?
On January 20, Trump takes the oath of office, vowing in the shadow of the Capitol for the second time that he would “to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” The scene is unlike anything before in the country’s history. What’s always been a high-security event takes on a militaristic tone, with Trump ordering U.S. troops onto the streets of Washington as a show of force to deter more riots. His family surrounds him, along with a loyal base of congressional Republicans who but for a few defectors hung on during his first four years and most notably voted to keep him in office and defeat impeachment. Democrats, still seething at Trump’s flagrant constitutional violations, boycott the event en masse, the first time in modern history this has happened. Their seats are given away in a lottery open to Trump supporters.
Something seems to be missing. Of course! The screaming woman in the lime green jacket at Trump's first inauguration. No Trump inauguration can be complete without her participation.
Something else is notable, too. The four living ex-presidents, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter join George W. Bush in a protocol-busting protest. They skip Trump’s inaugural ceremony and accept Carter’s invitation to hand out meals at a Washington, D.C., homeless shelter.
Former President Obama could prepare the arugula salad but wouldn't it have more impact if all the former presidents also wash the feet of the poor to demonstrate their moral superiority over the Bad Orange Man?
Now cue up the Snidely Whiplash music:
After the inaugural parade, which includes tanks for the first time in a half-century, the president goes into the White House, takes out a handwritten enemies list of people who work for him and makes Jared Kushner fire everyone on it. The casualty list includes Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson. Mike Pompeo and Mark Esper resigned before the election, having been blamed by Trump for the Ukraine mess. Steve Mnuchin is the only original Cabinet secretary still in Trump’s good graces.
And now we have Trump as a latter day Louis XVI with Mar-a-Lago substituting for the Vesailles Palace:
As Washington freezes through the end of winter, Trump moves his administration temporarily to Mar-a-Lago. He’s golfing six days a week with the likes of celebrity admirers Rush Limbaugh, Kid Rock and Tiger Woods but finds time between rounds to lob Twitter grenades at anyone who crossed him during his first four years in office.
And finally we get that recession that the Democrats have been praying for but which hasn't happened much to their sorrow.
Trump keeps trying to goose his government into action as the summer of 2021 arrives. He’s starting to sweat the U.S. economy in the months after the long-anticipated recession became official that April with the second consecutive quarter of negative growth.
Samuelsohn is on a Time Machine roll as his visions get even nuttier while simultaneously getting even funnier:
Trump also leans in harder on his Justice Department. First, he orders Robert F. Kennedy’s name removed from the building headquarters in Washington and replaces it with Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor and personal lawyer to the president whom Trump has installed as the director of his revamped and celebratory Voice of America.
Fasten your seat belts as Samuelsohn's Time Machine goes into comedy warp overdrive:
...Meanwhile, the two remaining Bill Clinton-appointed justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, maximize their cardiovascular workouts and adopt strict Mediterranean diets.
And doing their workouts to the tune of "Stayin' Alive."
There is much, much more in this Time Machine trip but here is a final bit of comedy gold:
Trump also spends his time thinking about his legacy, and whom he wants to replace him in the White House. After dropping hints in private for months, he finally sends out a tweet on July 4, 2022, that he doesn’t support Mike Pence’s presidential ambitions. “Great guy, TREMENDOUS veep, but it’s time for some Beautiful NEW BLOOD,” he writes. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul back out by Labor Day, and the field is cleared for Ivanka Trump to take the party’s nomination 17 months before anyone has participated in a caucus or primary.
One important element missing from this Time Machine trip to Trump's second term is the epic liberal meltdown upon Trump's re-election that will probably exceed their meltdown of 2016. A lot of people might vote for Trump just in order to watch their hilarious angst explode again. Perhaps Samuelsohn might want to get into practice while wearing a lime green jacket.