Are you as tired as I am of the daily news reports about whether or not Donald Trump will concede the presidential election?
Trump lives in a reality TV show world where everything is about him. He made the election about him and the American people listened, responded, and fired him.
Now he’s making the presidential transition about him and the media is, once again, feeding this profound narcissism. Every day we’re subjected to “Will he concede? Won’t he concede? What’s his wife say? What do his children say?”
Enough is enough.
In Greek mythology, Narcissus is a proud, fabulously handsome man. The mountain nymph Echo sees him and falls in love. When Narcissus senses that someone is following him he calls out “Who’s there?” Echo repeats Narcissus’ words, “Who’s there?”
When Narcissus rejects Echo’s love she fades away, heartbroken, and all that is left is the sound of an echo. To punish Narcissus the Goddess of Revenge, Nemesis, lures Narcissus to a pool of water where he falls in love with his own reflection.
Unable to receive reciprocated love from his reflection Narcissus melts away from the fire of his self-directed passion and turns into the gold and white narcissus flower – a lot of us call them daffodils.
Nowadays we call self-absorbed people, who think everything is about them, narcissists. Freud published a paper about this type of personality in 1914.
Doctors like me have an old joke about narcissists: a narcissist says to a friend, “All we do is talk about me. Let’s stop talking about me. Let’s talk about you. So, what do you think about me?”
When talking heads on television claim that the recent presidential campaign was unusually rancorous, or when Trump acts like he was personally wounded by ire directed at him, they are being ahistorical.
The vitriol that was exchanged between the camps of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson in the 1800 election is still capable of making the modern reader cringe. In 1828, Andrew Jackson’s supporters said that President John Quincy Adams was a pimp for the Czar of Russia, and Adams’ supporters said Jackson’s wife was a whore. The four candidates for president in 1860, from which Abraham Lincoln emerged as the winner, hurled accusations at each other that are equal of any modern mudslinging.
Similarly, comments that Trump lost the election by a “razor-thin margin” are both ahistorical and flat wrong. At this point in the tally, Biden has received 5.18 million more votes than Mr. Trump (50.9 vs 47.5 percent).
There is a long list of presidential elections that have been far closer.
In 1960, for example, the margin between John F. Kennedy (49.72 percent of the popular vote) and Richard Nixon (49.55 percent) was 112,000. Kennedy carried Illinois by 8,858 votes out of 4.7 million votes cast in that state. Woodrow Wilson got re-elected president with 49.24 percent of the vote in 1916 and his opponent Charles Evans Hughes Jr. got 46.12 percent.
We bring this affectation of “razor-thin” upon ourselves because of the US Constitution’s invention of the Electoral College but, even there, there is no question that Biden has also won the Electoral College vote and will probably receive 306 electoral votes where 270 are necessary to win.
Transition of Power
In a 1983 profile in the Sunday business section of The New York Times, reporter Marilyn Bender described a 37-year-old real estate developer named Donald J. Trump. “This brash Adonis from the outer boroughs exhibited a flair for self-promotion, grandiose schemes and, perhaps, not surprisingly, for provoking fury along the way.” He wore “maroon suits and matching loafers” whilst demanding tax abatements and stiffing creditors. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and nothing’s changed.
Or maybe something has changed? This isn’t reality TV or real estate development. This is the peaceful transition of power in American democracy. On Wednesday, January 20, 2021, Joseph Biden becomes president of the United States and Kamala Harris becomes vice president.
And, starting at 12:01 pm on that day, Donald J. Trump can stare in the mirror at his own image for as much as he likes. I believe that many Americans will join me in breathing a sigh of relief that we are not forced to continuously witness that sorry spectacle.
If he won’t go away gracefully, at least he’ll go away.Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of The Globe Post.