Once Donald Trump is removed from office—either through term limits, a 2020 loss, a resignation or (if there is enough Congressional courage following the 2018 midterms) an impeachment—he and a right-wing ghostwriter will secure a big-money contract for his presidential memoirs. There will be a built-in audience for such a book—the still-loyal members of the MAGA crowd, the right-wing evangelicals who believe Trump is their second savior, the anti-Democratic Party ideologues who can’t wait for Chappaquiddick to come out so that they can rejoice in the denigration of Ted Kennedy’s legacy. The book will set a new record for online pre-orders.
Imagine, for a moment, just how many falsehoods Trump and his ghostwriter would jam into his memoirs—how many lies about Hillary Clinton’s alleged criminality, how many conspiracy theories about the “deep state,” how many boasts about his efforts to stop immigration from “shithole countries,” how many dishonest diatribes about the “crooked media.” Trump’s memoirs will go down in history as one of the most inflammatory and truth-free books ever published—and large segments of our country will lap up those lies again, just as they did in 2016.
Remember eight years ago, when George W. Bush released Decision Points? That book sold an incredible two million copies within weeks of its release—and it’s unlikely that all of those book sales were thanks to right-wing book clubs. Despite the abject failure of his presidency, Bush was still loved by those who only cared that a Democrat was not in the White House between January 20, 2001 and January 20, 2009. The “Miss Me Yet?” crowd was big enough to make that book a success—and Trump’s memoirs could experience similar success, as nauseating as that thought is.
An equally nauseating thought is the prospect of a Trump book tour accompanied by fawning media appearances. Trump will undoubtedly be treated with sycophantic behavior by the Fourth Estate, which will conveniently forget the absolute scorn he expressed towards the press. Trump will retain the power of celebrity when he leaves office, and broadcast and cable personalities will be lining up to give Trump the Jimmy Fallon treatment when he promotes his book.
If Trump’s memoirs are released during the administration of a Democratic 46th President, Trump will launch the most incendiary of attacks on that President during his book tour. After all, that Democrat will presumably try to undo Trump’s legacy, just as Trump has tried to undo Barack Obama’s. Trump will surely continue his rancid rallies, urging his followers to resist that Democratic President’s agenda, imploring them to do unto his successor what Hillary Clinton’s disappointed supporters did unto him.
Trumpism will be with us long after Trump has left office. So long as Fox News is on the air, so long as the New York Post and the Washington Times continue to publish, so long as commercial talk radio is dominated by the deplorables, Trumpism will have a place and a space in American politics. Despite the demographic changes in our voting population, a few years from now we may see another demagogue rise, one just as skilled as Trump–if not more so–in rousing the prejudices of the populace, exploiting resentment and frustration, luring the gullible down a path of destruction. That demagogue will also promise to make America great again, to resurrect the past, to bring back the good old days for certain members of the population–and years after that demagogue gets away with crimes against democracy, he too will write a bestselling book about it.