[Ed. – Previews of coming attractions]
During the last month and a half or so of the 2016 presidential election, meta-arguments about how Donald Trump would respond to his own (inevitable in the estimation of most observers) defeat became more important than any of the apparent issues in the campaign. Would he accept the results? What this question was supposed to mean — accept how? psychologically? — was far less important than the response it was meant to elicit, which is to say, a negative answer that would in turn become the pretext for thousands of fear-mongering articles like this one.
There were strong and weak theories about what form the Celebrity Apprentice star’s loss would take. The most hysterical prognosticators, including his Democratic opponent, argued that he would attempt to destroy democracy itself. (How exactly he would go about this was never very clear: Would he attempt a coup via Twitter?)