A bogus dispute is doing real damage

You’d think the president would take his winnings and go home, because he had them. He outperformed polls and exceeded his 2016 vote total by more than 10 million. For one brief shining moment, on Nov. 3, he’d finally expanded his base to almost 50% of the electorate. He found new sources of support.

Imagine if he’d acted even remotely normal in his first term, if he’d had the intellectual, emotional and spiritual resources to moderate himself, to act respectably. Heck, imagine if he’d worn a mask. He might have won.

He is set on going out like a villain. He and his people would find this Jacksonian—he’s refusing to bow to entrenched establishments! He would think this is what his base wants—the old battler refusing to accept the illicit judgments of a decadent elite.

If he were clever and disciplined, he’d do it differently. He’d accept the election’s outcome, if not graciously at least with finality, go home to Mar-a-Lago, play golf, and have fun torturing his party by plotting his return. “I’ll be back.”

Instead he leaves behind real and politically pointless ruin.