Mr. Trump acted as if he had been the primary particular person in historical past to lose a presidential election. However in fact each presidential election has a loser. Till Wednesday, every outgoing president had handed over the reins of energy with grace, humility and patriotic spirit. Many knew they had been ceding the workplace to somebody who would take the nation in a distinct route. They did it anyway, not as a result of it was straightforward, however exactly as a result of it was arduous — as a result of they valued the American supreme greater than their very own ego.
Mr. Trump as a substitute pawned off the job on his vp, Mike Pence, whose presence on the stage was all of the extra notable provided that he had debased himself faithfully at his boss’s foot for 4 years, solely to be rewarded with a mob, egged on by that boss, calling for his execution.
Mr. Trump leaves workplace as essentially the most disgraced, and most disgraceful, president in historical past. He divided and exhausted the nation. He abused his workplace to the ultimate potential second, rescinding his own 2017 order barring lobbying by former White Home staff. (Shock: He by no means meant to empty the swamp.) And he doled out last-minute pardons to mates and allies like Steve Bannon, his former marketing campaign supervisor, who confronted federal fraud costs for bilking Mr. Trump’s personal supporters out of money that he claimed was going to assist construct the long-promised border wall.
Mr. Trump holds one other distinction: the primary president to be impeached twice. This time, he may even be convicted by the Senate. Both means, Congress must ensure that he can by no means maintain workplace once more. As soon as he has confronted political accountability, he should face the opposite kinds of accountability he has prevented all through his life — monetary, social and, doubtlessly, prison.
Regardless that Mr. Trump is gone from workplace, the trauma he inflicted on the nation stays. So do not less than 74 million individuals who voted for him, and who aren’t going wherever. Residing beneath Mr. Trump’s malfeasance and mismanagement for 4 years was made all of the extra upsetting with the information that so many Individuals watched all of it occur and determined they wished much more.
There will likely be time to determine how a nation so deeply divided in opposition to itself can come collectively and heal. Nevertheless that will occur, it received’t be by forgetting Mr. Trump’s abuses, or who was complicit in them. Nor will it occur by ignoring the profound issues — from financial inequality to systemic racism to social-media disinformation peddlers — that introduced us to this wretched place.
Mr. Biden can not resolve these issues by himself, however he’s properly conscious of the gravity of the scenario, and of the hurdles that await. He enters workplace with the barest potential Senate majority and a skinny margin within the Home. His legislative agenda will run up in opposition to a Supreme Court docket that Republicans have stolen and stacked with essentially the most hard-line conservatives in a century — justices who’re out of step with nearly all of Individuals, however who may have the ultimate phrase on decoding the nation’s Structure and legal guidelines for many years to come back.