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Good bye, Donald

by William Turner 11 days ago in trump

May ignominious anonymity be yours

Good bye, Donald

William B. Turner, Ph.D., J.D.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Donald Trump

President of the United States (for another week, anyway)

Washington, D.C.

January 13, 2021

Dear Mr. President (sort of):

Farewell. May you sink rapidly into ignominious anonymity. The Senate has yet to vote in your second impeachment trial, so I do not yet know if you will be eligible to run again in 2024. I know, but I doubt you do, that the penalty for removal by impeachment includes a ban on serving in any public office under the Constitution. If the Senate votes to remove you, you will not be eligible to serve as dog catcher. If you are eligible to run in 2024, I find it amusing, which you also likely do not know, that the only person to serve two terms as president, not consecutively, in our history to date was the Democrat Grover Cleveland, an eminently forgettable president who is noteworthy almost only as the sole Democrat to serve as president between James Buchanan and Woodrow Wilson.

You do not deserve a second term. You did not deserve a first term. I knew you would lose in 2020. I hold a Ph.D. in U.S. history and have studied the history of the presidency at the Ph.D. level. I mostly kept quiet in 2020 because I loudly and publicly predicted you would not win in 2016. Whoops. Of course, you did not win. You lost the popular vote, your absurd protestations about voter fraud to the contrary being not worth refuting. You gained the presidency in 2017 only because of the archaic, incompetent Electoral College, which the Founders believed would prevent incompetent scoundrels from becoming president. Whoops. The Founders could never have conceived a scoundrel as incompetent as you, or mechanisms for demagoguery such as we have in the 21st century, mechanisms you wielded with lethal precision.

White people in the United States tolerate far more racism than we ought. Colin Kaepernick engaged in sincere, peaceful protest against horrible violence African Americans suffer daily and even now cannot find employment in his chosen profession. The list is far too long of Black people who have died needlessly because of the very deep seated belief in our culture that all Black people are criminal and dangerous and thus police officers and vigilantes should shoot first and only ask questions, if at all, after the Black person in question can no longer give their version of events for being dead. But what Richard Nixon knew, but you totally missed, is that Americans much prefer their racism subtle.

Many people think they sound knowledgeable when they refer to Nixon’s “southern strategy.” It was actually a border South strategy. Nixon believed that plenty of people in the South, solidly Democratic since Thomas Jefferson won in 1800, would vote for a Republican given the right message, but he also knew that competing with George Wallace, who ran as the pro segregation candidate in 1968, would alienate more moderate voters than it was worth. Nixon ran allegedly on behalf of the “silent majority,” meaning good, respectable white people who were at home watching their televisions rather than out protesting, whether for African American civil rights or against the Vietnam War. He taught his fellow Republicans to use dog whistle racism to win elections and they have used the trick with great success ever since.

You forgot the dog whistle part and went full racist. You picked on Mexicans and Muslims, which is not standard model American racism, but is still the same move conceptually. You singled out groups of people according to irrelevant characteristics and vowed to discriminate against them because of that characteristic. African Americans knew what was up and voted for you at a lower rate, both times, than any other identifiable social group.

I predicted you would surely lose in 2016 because I made a catalog of every president who ran at a time when the rights of African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities were prominent in our politics, and every time, before you, the candidate who expressed support for equal rights and equal treatment won. Actually, racial issues, in the sense of specific policy questions, such as slavery or racial segregation, were not very prominent at all in 2016, except that you were running against someone who was not a candidate, who was not eligible in 2016 for being at the end of his second term – our first Black president, whom you pay accidental homage to daily by clearly envying him and hating him in your always petty, mean spirited way.

Historians will write about you. They will detail the many horrors of your presidency. They will do their best to find something positive to say. This is a letter, not a book. All of the documents from your four years playing president, including the ones you tore up, are public property and will fall to the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration. Presidential historians know that archivists have to work many long hours over years to process all of those documents to make them available for proper historical research. I cannot write the history of the Trump presidency right now. No one can. I can safely summarize it using a few words: Failure. Disaster. Death. Destruction.

You did not make America great. You could not. You know nothing of its history. You know nothing of our Constitution. You do not even know what a constitution is or why anyone would have one. You stated, absurdly, “I have Article II [of the Constitution], where I have the right to do whatever I want as president.” Um, no. No president ever has “the right to do whatever I want….” The whole point of our Constitution, of any constitution, is to create a government that is limited. The Founders wrote and ratified our Constitution because they saw the need for a national government that was more powerful than what they had at the time, but still limited. Stupidity, as the old adage has it, knows no limits, and you knew no limits as president. The Democrats waited too long, but finally tried to impose the limit of last resort, removal by impeachment. They impeached you, but your fellow Republicans, foolishly terrified of your mindless retribution, refused to remove you.

We who study the presidency know that the machinery of the federal government – the “deep state” in your paranoid parlance, what rational people call the “permanent government” – hums along just fine without a president. Your lackey did postpone formally ascertaining that Joe Biden had won the election, thus retarding his efforts to begin implementing an intelligent, effective response to the pandemic that you initially ignored, then bumbled through as people died by the thousands. It is not funny, but it is far beyond the capacity of the term, “irony,” to capture that, because of your typically ham fisted, idiotic decision to suborn a riot at the Capitol, there are now thousands of National Guard troops in Washington, D.C., some of them getting their first tours of our nation’s capital. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have issued a letter emphatically reminding all U.S. troops that they take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, according to which Joe Biden will be our next president.

Thus, all of your incessant, ridiculous fulminations will come to naught. Your pathetic minions, who lost the first battle in their new civil war to ordinary law enforcement, will certainly prove unable to disrupt the inauguration. The machinery of government will fashion a new president. It will not be you. History is always messy. Humans are messy. Too many people die needlessly. Progress is not inevitable. It is the result of hard work by intelligent people of good will. We have triumphed again over a person of little intelligence and boundless ill will. The Republic will benefit enormously from the end of your misbegotten presidency.

Good bye and good luck.

Very truly yours,

William B. Turner

William Turner
William Turner
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William Turner

Ph.D. in U.S. history from Vanderbilt, with an emphasis in the history of public policy; two articles published as a graduate student, two books as a historian. J.D. from the University of Wisconsin; eight law review articles in print.

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