From Owen Gleiberman‘s “The Melting Down of Donald Trump,” posted this morning: “Trump may still try to stage some sort of legal-electoral ‘coup,’ but to anyone tethered to the real world, his protests will increasingly sound like the face-saving whine of someone who can’t admit, or even compute, the prospect of his own defeat.
“On the deepest level, ‘The mail-in votes in Pennsylvania don’t count!’ is a fascist version of ‘The dog ate my homework!’ It’s Trump clinging to the presidency and trashing the rule of law, but mostly it’s Trump doing all he can to refuse his comeuppance, to deny that he’s now the loser he has spent his whole life running from being.
“[Classic villain comeuppance is] what happens, most spectacularly, in The Wizard of Oz, when the Wicked Witch of the West is destroyed before our eyes in a catharsis of long-finger-nailed rage. ‘Look what you’ve done!’ she screams. ‘I’m melting, melting!’ And then, with a touch of despair that can almost be called tragic, she says, ‘Oh, what a world, what a world’! She’s talking about a world that has taken away her power. She then crumples like a melted crayon, a humiliated mass of thwarted ambition.
“That’s what just happened to Donald Trump. He wasn’t simply defeated, given the boot by the American people. He got melted down. And that’s why he’ll never admit it. He’s holding the entire American democratic process hostage to prop up what’s left of his broken ego.
“There’s a lot of talk about how even though Trump lost, ‘Trumpism’ is here to stay. It will be standing on the sidelines, waiting in the wings, warming up for a comeback. But what does Donald Trump stand for, as a political figure, once you take away his power? He’ll be just another fulminating talk-radio host. And, of course, the cornerstone of his brand will now become the very notion that the presidency was stolen from him. He’ll make that the centerpiece of every rally, every Fox News appearance, every talk-radio hour he presides over.
“But it will all be Trump spinning his brokenness, licking his wounds. The Trump faithful, the true believers — the cult — will tune in. But I suspect that for most of America, Trump will simply sound like the sore loser he is. So let him spin away. It’s time to say goodnight to the bad guy.”