CNN’s Anderson Cooper grappled with this during his broadcast last Friday as he said he wasn’t going to chronicle Trump’s latest campaign to reverse the true verdict of the election because “it doesn’t matter.” Continuing the kiss-off, Cooper said, “It’s done. He’s done. He’s the past,” and switched the topic to the gelling Biden administration. Washington Post political columnist Karen Tumulty expressed a similar sentiment on Sunday with this tweet: “A new era has dawned for me: I just turned off my phone notifications of @realDonaldTrump.” Their instincts were correct. The natural laws of news dictate that as more news sunshine falls on Biden by virtue of the presidential power he’s about to harvest, Trump’s world goes into eclipse. It’s not like he can set up business as the alternative president like an antipope.
Trump has always disrupted the natural laws of news, so his ex-presidency should be allowed a few exemptions. For one thing, Trump, unlike term-limited presidents or other incumbents who’ve lost, has already signaled an ongoing involvement in politics and perhaps another run in 2024. Many of his 73 million voters will still heed his messages, donate to his permanent campaign, tune in when he phones Fox & Friends, cloister in airplane hangars for his rallies, and watch him on his new TV channel if he nabs one. He is, after all, the man who enjoyed campaigning for president more than actually being president. This presupposes that Trump has a lock on the Republican attentionsphere when we know that Mike Pompeo, Nikki Haley, Mike Pence, Ted Cruz and other members of his party have presidential ambitions that won’t wait for 2028. Besides, as a bigtime 2020 loser, Trump has no lock on his party’s next presidential nomination let alone a monopoly on the interest of his constituents. And who’s to say his future is that bright anyway? Defeated incumbents tend to become political roadkill. Only one, Grover Cleveland, has come back to serve non-consecutive presidential terms.