Joe Biden has begun selecting White House staff and making cabinet appointments, and all mainstream media outlets — including the ones that have historically been most sympathetic to President Trump — are now referring to Biden as the president-elect.
But as anyone who follows him on Twitter knows, Donald Trump has not given up his fight for a second term in the White House.
Trump insists that he won the election, and he claims widespread fraud and a dishonest media are to blame for the fact that so many believe the opposite.
Despite Trump’s vehement allegations, however, it doesn’t look as though his legal challenges or recount efforts stand much of a chance of changing the results.
Nevertheless, the president has vowed to keep fighting.
The big question now is — why?
Sure, there are the obvious reasons, such as the fact that he hates to lose, and his narcissism seems to have convinced him that there’s some legitimacy to his claims of victory.
But as he’s reminded us many, many times during his four years in office, Trump left behind a very comfortable life in order to enter the realm of public service.
(He seems to view his role less as “public servant” and more as “supreme lord emperor,” but that’s a discussion for another time.)
One would think he wouldn’t be so reluctant to return to that life, especially as insiders tend to agree that he hates being president.
And it’s not as though he doesn’t have career options available to him.
The president will remain a mover and shaker in the GOP, and sources say the process of establishing a Trump News Network is already in motion.
Whatever happens, it appears certain that Trump will ride out his golden years as one of the most infamous and widely-discussed figures of the 21st century, which is probably the sort of ending he would want.
But many who have been watching the Donald closely throughout his career say he won’t give up his fight for a second term, if only because he fears what consequences might await him on the other side of his presidency.
Specifically, they say that by digging in his heels at the White House, the president is avoiding massive debt and possible imprisonment.
Yes, the dream of seeing Donald Trump, clad in an orange jumpsuit, being perp-walked into federal prison is alive and well for many Americans.
Unfortunately, it seems highly unlikely.
Unlike Trump, Joe Biden is not the type of politician who fantasizes about taking revenge on his rivals.
And as Senator Lindsey Graham pointed out when asked recently about the possibility of Trump doing time, conducting a series of 21st century Nuremberg Trials wouldn’t exactly be conducive to the climate of unification and collaboration that the Biden administration is trying to create.
“Hey, it would poison the well of getting things done,” Graham said in a recent interview.
Sounds like pretty shaky grounds for pardoning a man who appears to be guilty of tax evasion and using the office of the presidency to advance his business interests.
But the fact is, Graham is right.
Trying Trump would result in unprecedented gridlock at all levels of government, and Biden and his team are well aware of this fact.
It’s possible that an ambitious prosecutor — say, from the Southern District of New York — will decide to file charges against Trump, and if that happens, it’s unlikely that Biden will pardon him.
But smaller outfits are likely to reach the same decision as the Biden White House when it comes to prosecuting Trump — it just isn’t worth it, especially with how adept he’s proven at avoiding legal consequences in the past.
No, in all likelihood, the only consequences faced by Trump will be of the financial variety.
Some reports have the president facing as much as $400 million in debt, and while he has plenty of revenue streams available to him — Trump’s speaking fees will reportedly fetch him $1 million per appearance — that’s an awful lot of debt for a man just re-entering private life at the age of 74.
We guess that’s one more reason that no one will be surprised if Trump runs for president again in 2024.