Magazine December 31, 2020, Issue

Disgrace after Defeat

President Trump speaks on November 4. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)
Trump’s post-election campaign

It had long been obvious that if Trump lost the election, his exit would be graceless.

It was hard to see him conceding defeat in any circumstance, even if he got buried in a landslide. Having flouted norms throughout his presidency, there was no way that he would begin honoring them on his way out the door. Given to insulting his opponents and complaining of unfairness in the best of circumstances, he wasn’t going to find resources of classiness hitherto not in evidence.

Yet Trump hasn’t even managed to clear the low bar of realistic expectations for his post-election conduct. Even before

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