What will be the legacy of Donald Trump?

A Liberal Dose


On Jan. 6, 2021, a frenzied crowd of Trump supporters wanted to kill Mike Pence and various Democratic legislators. Donald Trump not only wanted to let them but he also stirred them up to do it and wanted desperately to be there to see it happen. We now know he threw a fit when the Secret Service wouldn’t let him. Why? A desperate attempt to circumvent the will of the voters and stay in power.

I oppose the politics of people like Mike Pence, Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney, and others. I think their goals are not what is best for most Americans. But despite all my disagreements with them, they and several Republicans in the Trump administration have been willing to draw a line, to sacrifice their careers, and, in some cases, risk their lives to defend the Constitution and the democratic process. If not for Republicans like them, Jan. 6 would have been much worse. It could have been a bloodbath had it gone the way Trump wanted and could have dealt a mortal blow to democracy. Those folks have put their country ahead of their party and of one individual who demanded loyalty to himself instead of to America.

And yet.

Thirty percent of the citizens of this country apparently swear their allegiance to Trump, still. They weave ridiculous conspiracy theories about alleged crimes by Clinton, Obama, and Biden, while this man’s actual, undeniable crimes stare them in the face. A man, by the way, who has been known all his life as a crook and a con man. They will say this is all a witch hunt, just like the Russia investigation and two impeachments, all of which vindicated their idol.

Except they didn’t. The conclusion of the first investigation was that there is no evidence Trump’s people colluded with Russia in Russia’s very real attempt to cheat in the 2016 election in his favor. There are indications they wanted to, but were too incompetent to do so, which in some cases has been all that has saved us from even worse damage by Trump. Donald Trump is like if they made a movie about Mussolini but cast Benny Hill in the title role. The investigation DID point to several instances of obstruction of justice, but Muller believed the Justice Department was not able to indict a sitting president and only impeachment was viable. That is not vindication. Those two impeachments were a joke in a way, but only because of the obstructionism of Republicans in Congress who tried to keep the truth from being told and refused to vote with the evidence.

Why? For some it was a desire to keep using Trump to further their political agenda. For most, it was a fear of their own voters, who loved Trump no matter what he did. Fear of losing their votes, yes, but by the second impeachment fear of being objects of their violence.

I believe the attorney general will not charge Trump with crimes, and Democratic politicians will not push for it, out of fear of the violence it would unleash.

That is the legacy of Donald Trump. Thuggery and hatred of actual democracy.

All those people in Trump’s administration who finally drew a line? They knew who he was when they agreed to work for him. Everyone who voted for him knew who he was, they just chose to pretend they didn’t - either to get the things they wanted politically or because they already felt the anger inside at the changes taking place in society and wanted someone who would do something about it. They knew what he would do, he told them from day one.

I wish my friends and relatives that I love would be able to stand back and let the truth sink in. At the very least, I wish that trying to violently overthrow democracy would be enough to get them to.

--Troy D. Smith, a White County native, is a novelist and a history professor at Tennessee Tech. His words do not necessarily represent TTU.    


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