Sunday, April 10, 2016

What if Donald Trump Didn't Win the 2016 Election?

October 22, 2021:

The election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States was never a forgone conclusion.  Yet it happened.  

When he launched his campaign for the presidency in 2015, no one, let alone the candidate himself, thought he stood a chance.  But to everyone’s shock and surprise –including those in the Republican Party – Trump had tapped into a low albeit rising level of anger fueled anxiety. But even by itself, this may not have been enough to put Trump over the top.  Indeed, by the end of March 2016, polls by many different organizations had begun to show his numbers begin to soften, if not collapse. Certainly when he lost the Wisconsin Primary in April, it looked the case. And in the unlikely event Trump had gotten the majority of primary votes, the GOP stood ready to frustrate him through a contested convention, even if it meant losing the election to the Democrats.

But only if. Trump plowed on, despite his slumping numbers. No one had counted on, however, the events of June 31st, 2016, which remains to this day the single largest mass casualty terrorist attack on the continental United States. As the events of this date have been seared into our collective memory, I won’t recount the tragedy, suffice it to say that sometime earlier, it had been pointed out that such an attack on US soil, then considered highly unlikely, could help catapult the Trump to victory.  Trump had already built a solid base of loyal supporters partly based on the fear of outsider groups such as Latinos and Muslims. The events of June 31st not only seemed to validate his point of view in the eyes of many, but they also seemed to lend him a degree of prescience.

President Trump at the 2018 dedication of the Mexican Wall.  
Trump, with his mixture of bluster and threats, was handily able to secure the Republican nomination held just two weeks later with the attack still fresh in everyone’s mind. However, although he secured his party’s nomination, he had still to beat the Democratic candidate.

For the Democrats, even so, with Trump as their rival, this should’ve been their election to lose.  However, because of sharp divisions in both Democratic nominees’ camps stemming from a particularly long and hard-fought primary season, this led to a lack of unity under the winning candidate.  There was also the lingering blame for not stopping the terrorist attack that hung over the Democratic incumbent, which led to a massive erosion of support from the party’s traditional base. In spite of this, the election was a close-run thing, with the final victor – Trump – only being declared at 6:37 a.m. on the following morning.

Media pundits and historians often speculate what would’ve happened if Donald Trump had lost the November 2016 election.  Would we have been spared the events of the last six years?  Would the world have been more peaceful and prosperous? We’ll never know.

This is not that story. This is the story of how Donald J. Trump became the 45th President of the United States of America.  We continue to live in his shadow and in the world, he helped create.

And Finally...

I hoped you enjoyed this bit of political theatre, in itself a bit of what-if, which is my take on current events.  All of this is pure speculation. Keen eyes will note, of course, there is no such thing as June 31st, and my story should not be treated as any attempt at any type of prognostication or warning.  The title of this post is an homage of sorts to the title of "If Lee Had Not Won the Battle of Gettysburg,"  penned by none other than Winston Churchill, which appeared in If it Happened Otherwise: Lapses into Imaginary History, which was discussed earlier in this blog.

I hope to have a book review for you next month. Or something like that.

Meanwhile, you can help out a poor unemployed writer by purchasing Elvis Saves JFK! for just 99 cents and War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History, for $2.99 and now The Key to My Heart, also $2.99 (all are free to preview). All books -- which are already on Smashword's premium distribution list -- are also available through such fine on-line retailers such as Sony, Chapters Indigo, Barnes & Noble and Apple's iTunes Store.  Thanks.

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