Bob Franken




Never mind if Donald Trump concedes or not, his battle was over once two far more important players threw in the towel: Vladimir Putin and Mitch McConnell. It’s appropriate that they have caved at the same time.
First of all, they have similar personalities. Neither could be described as effervescent. More importantly, they were vital to this administration — Putin for putting Donald Trump into the presidency; McConnell for making sure his agenda got passed.
But once the electoral college’s results were in and proved impervious to frivolous legal challenges, McConnell and Putin decided President Donald Trump was no longer useful and, therefore, no longer viable. So they bailed on him. It was time to embrace President-elect Joe Biden (if either is capable of embracing anyone).
Vlad sent a telegram and a statement:
“Vladimir Putin wished the president-elect every success and expressed confidence that Russia and the United States, which bear special responsibility for global security and stability, can, despite their differences, effectively contribute to solving many problems and meeting challenges the world is facing today.”
Mitch simply went to the Senate floor (the American one, not Russia’s) and monotoned: “The electoral college has spoken. So today, I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden.”
The soon to be former POTUS was relatively subdued as he Trump dumped on McConnell at 1 a.m., Tweetstern Standard Time: “Republican Party must finally learn to fight. People are angry!” He left it to his prominent thugs, like attorney L. Lin Woods, to sputter that McConnell was “a traitor to American Patriots.” And that “his day of judgment is coming.”
Actually, Majority Leader McConnell’s day of judgment may really come on Jan. 5, when there are not one but two runoff elections in Georgia for both sitting senators. They are both Republicans. If the Democrats defeat both of them, McConnell loses his power and his majority. And with the help of new Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote, the Dems take over the Senate, and New York’s Charles Schumer takes over with his mighty power to set the agenda.
The Senate, with all its convoluted rules, will become a display of festering intrigue. But Schumer would have the advantage — that is, if both Democrats win their runoff elections. That’s a big “if,” particularly given the party’s Will Rogers tradition.

In any case, there will certainly be underhandedness that would appeal to any Kremlinologist. That is a shameless segue back to Vladimir Putin, who will no longer have his useful idiot the Trumpster around to bully and manipulate. He will have to deal with Joe Biden, who has been around the track a few times and will have Vlad-handing experience.
But Putin is no slouch either. Turns out he and his spook buddies have been hacking into the deepest elements of the U.S. government, even the anti-hacking parts, and have been doing so for an extended period of time, not months, but years. If you want to spot a person who is involved in the intelligence apparatus of the United States government, look for someone who is blushing with embarrassment. The damage is almost worth it just to witness the puncturing of the spies’ hubris.
Unless Putin or McConnell has a few collusions we don’t know about, Biden will take over on Jan. 20, and Trump will become the lead heckler and will get to work his dangerous magic and risk violence. He will find that all of his apologists have reinvented themselves and before long are scratching their heads saying, “Donald who?” The only people left for Trump to do him proud will be a contingent of Proud Boys and other white supremacist extremists willing to add their violence to the mix.
Biden, meanwhile, will have his hands full conquering the pandemic, aka The Trump Flu, and whatever Bad Vlad and Moscow Mitch can create as troublemakers.

© 2020 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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