Donald Trump has saved our democracy - Alastair Stewart
Thomas Jefferson famously remarked, "the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
Donald Trump may well have done just that and saved Western democracy.
Why? Because virtual history is enormously entertaining. It's harder to live through. Trump invoked sheer terror he'd bring plague, war and hellfire at any moment. He'd decimate liberal smugness, put America First and end musical chair political dynasties. Gone would be the assembly line candidates and their vacuous soundbites – finally, some good old truth to power.
And the president really was the antidote to Washington's cancer of complacency and political doublespeak. He probably just didn't guess it would be his example of how not to lead that would do it. No-one bet that Trump's ineptness would overrule his potential malice.
The embarrassment of Trump on the world stage has reminded voters the world is full of sharks and American Caesars still have a part to play. For decades we thought our politics was broken. Now we've run out of Orwellian cliches for the post-truth diatribes and extreme cognitive dissonance seen every day.
Americans presidential elections were always a spectator sport. They're just an extension of the country's global dominance in film, music and TV. Brits wanted to see Trump win in 2016 and we want to see him dragged out in irons now. But by the time Joe Biden made his victory speech, there really was a palpable relief that things could go back to normal.
But the fight is far from over. Left-wing talk shows have a remarkable tendency of transforming the most vilified of leaders into eccentric uncles. George W. Bush went from reviled warlord to folksy charmer. Donald Trump forged Trumpism by playing the press. The poster boy for demagoguery and populism could well have a second wind if he's ever legitimised again.
So, Trump Made America Great Again by doing and saying everything humanly possible to denigrate the office and his country's reputation. America's future can be great once more because no successor can do any worse.
As someone sang, "you don't know what you've got till it's gone...they paved paradise and put up a parking lot." Rather apt considering the property developer-in-chief and the last four years.
So with some irony, it's the quintessential establishment old guy who has taken back the presidential mantle - with historic levels of voter turnout.