The Electoral College Vote Has Ended Trump’s Presidency, But It Hasn’t Ended Trumpism

More marches, more violence, more Trumps.

Sikander Hayat Khan
6 min readDec 18, 2020

It almost beggars belief at this point, but Trump still isn't giving up.

With Biden’s win sealed, I doubt there is much he can do — except cause more instability.

And that's not going to be an afterthought on his part. That is textbook dictatorial politics.

You see, it was obvious Trump lost weeks ago when the vote count was over. But the obvious didn't stop him and his supporters from trying to overturn the election. And I want you to remember that point — their willingness to defy the truth that’s right in front of them.

Because that’s what’s going to drive what follows. Whether it be more “million marches” or even violence, they've got nothing to lose anymore. And truthfully, from experience, this is when dictators are at their most dangerous.

I’ve seen people like Trump, people who try and overturn elections, turn to treason after they've lost and found themselves facing jail time. This is not to say he’ll do the same, but it makes the point nonetheless — dictators will always put themselves first and the country second. Given that America’s democracy is one of its most prized institutions and that it was nearly corrupted for decades to come proves my point.

But regardless of chosen tact, what dictators in losing positions end up doing is causing political instability. And might I add, that's the worst kind. Because economic instability can be fixed with a change in policy. But political? It causes economic instability. That affects the average citizen directly. And how are you going to fix it when you're relying on a dictator to pipe down?

As scary as that proposition is, it’s just a side effect. What Trump wants is power. And that means keeping his base happy. Because him giving up now isn’t what they want. They voted for a “strong man” and that means to keep fighting for what they believe to be the truth. And don’t forget they already believe they were let down by “the establishment.” Trump was the man who was “fighting for them and their democracy.” The last thing they want is for their champion to throw in the towel.

Because, just like you’re relying on Trump to accept reality, they’re relying on Trump to bring their vision of America to life. And it’s that dream for a Trumpist America that’s going to bring them out onto the streets again. It’s their support that will give Trump the courage he needs to scream “fraud” one more time. After all, would he have been able to do all he’s done to stab democracy in the heart if he didn't have all of them at his back?

And if they keep coming out as they have been, what will that mean? Political instability, sure, but how? You’ll have an America that’s split right down the middle. There’ll be one side that accepts the result for what is, and another who is willing to go to the ends of the earth to deny it. Believing one way or the other, in and of itself, isn't going to cause much of a problem. Where you see the effects are in the legitimacy of an administration to govern.

Because there’s already been talk of how Biden is going to get anything through a Republican-controlled Senate. And one of the only things that was going to give him any leverage was a pubic mandate to govern. But factor in the fact that 70% of Republican voters didn't believe he won fair and square, and any air of legitimacy his administration would have had evaporates.

What does that mean? Deadlock, yes. A natural consequence of that deadlock is that nothing gets done. But the real problem goes deeper. Because this is where dictators shine. This is where Trump, or his successors, are going to be driving home the point of how the Democrats are “incompetent” and “driving the country to ruin.” And they’ll already have an audience of Trump supporters for whom that’s going to be music to their ears. In essence, what this does is change a 4-year Biden term into a 4-year long GOP presidential campaign.

But more than just a GOP presidential campaign, it’s going to be one fuelled by Trumpism. Remember, the Republican party isn't going to give up on that ideology any time soon. Why? Because to do so would be political suicide. Where on earth are they going to get the votes from if they alienate the very 73 million who voted for them just over a month ago?

The only way they're going to retain those voters, not just for presidential candidates but for Congressional ones too, is to give that portion of the electorate what they're used to — and then some more. You see, they're already used to all the garbage Trump has been spewing. Add in the fact they feel they were cheated, and you realise it's going to take something extra special to get them mobilised again. Alternatively, consider Trump himself and how both his rhetoric and actions got worse as time progressed. I mean, trying to bend American democracy to his will only got Trump die-hards more excited. What does that say to GOP politicians? Keep turning it up a notch.

And things can only spiral from there. Because forget a lack of legitimacy, this is going to lead to a government that seems like it’s the enemy of the people. With millions in an uproar, this is where the dictators label the democratically-elected government as dictators themselves. It’s hypocrisy at it’s finest.

And yes, I’m aware it may sound like I’m essentially saying things are going to get worse. But what I’m actually describing to you starts with more of what America’s going through right now. The “marches” aren’t new, the violence isn't new, cries of “fraud” aren’t new and most importantly, amping up the Trumpist rhetoric isn't new.

Which leads me to the ever so elusive question of, “is there a quick fix?

The answer is no.

Because even though the causes of America’s ills already exist, the forces driving them are systemic. That means that there isn't much you can do to stop the wave of Trumpism right now. But what you can do is put the brakes on it come 2024.

And I feel I must emphasise the word “brakes.” Because beating Trump, or his “successor,” in the next election isn’t going to end Trumpism. Why? The argument is two-fold. For one, the number of Trump voters rose by 7 million in the four years Trump was president to 73 million. This, make no mistake, is a voter base that’s already strong enough to win almost every single time. And if their numbers continue on this existing trend, then you’re eventually looking at invincibility. And that leads us to the next point — electability.

Needless to say, if a Republican candidate wants to have a chance at winning the presidency, he or she will have to win them over — and that means more “Trump tactics.” Why? Because there's a portion of that 73 million that want an America built on the trio of fear, violence and white supremacy. The rest of them, either fans of Right-wing policies or staunch anti-Democrats, have proved they're willing to overlook the evil in order to get what they want.

Besides, Trumpism is an ideology. Thinking it’s gone just because Trump lost is like saying “left-wing politics is finished for good” just because a left-wing candidate lost an election.

And this leads us to the question of what you can do. The way I see it, America’s best shot at revival is keeping the Trumpists out of the White House. How?

Do what you did this year. Turn out in historic numbers and vote. If you do that again and again, you’ll be sending a message to the GOP that they need to change tact because Trumpism isn’t winning anymore. That regardless of how far they dial up the rhetoric, the numbers turning out on the other side are always larger.

And I’m aware that sounds awfully simplistic, but it’s the best chance America’s got. Because no politician wants to spend precious campaign time and money trying to win over the side that was going to lose anyway.

Having said that, the real question is whether America will vote like that again. Because returning to their old ways isn’t an option. It was those non-voting habits coupled with a lack of interest in politics that bred the complacency which allowed for Trump and his cronies to take hold of the country in 2016.

What Americans need is to understand the threat that Trumpism poses to their democracy and the fact that they are the only ones who can stop the next wave of authoritarianism.

Whether they realise that or not still remains to be seen. But what we know for certain is what will happen if they don’t.



Sikander Hayat Khan

Law and politics grad. Masters in Law. Nuance over ideology. Published in The Friday Times. Twitter @SikanderH8.