In the now-distant Republican presidential primaries of 2016, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas handily won the Iowa caucuses. This was determined by a method that has lately come under attack but at the time was considered standard: elementary math.
One of the losers in Iowa, the developer and television personality Donald J. Trump, soon accused Mr. Cruz of electoral theft. He fired off several inflammatory tweets, including this foreshadowing of our current democracy-testing moment: “Based on the fraud committed by Senator Ted Cruz during the Iowa Caucus, either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified.”
The episode vanished in the tsunami of political vitriol to come during the Trump presidency. Still, it reflects what those who have worked with Mr. Trump say is his modus operandi when trying to slip the humiliating epithet he has so readily applied to others.
“The first thing he calls someone who has wronged him is a loser,” said Jack O’Donnell, who ran an Atlantic City casino for Mr. Trump in the 1980s. “That’s his main attack word. The worst thing in his world would be to be a loser. To avoid being called a loser, he will do or say anything.”
Across his long career, he has spun, cajoled and attacked — in the press, in lawsuits and lately, of course, on Twitter — whenever faced with appearing as anything less than the superlative of the moment: the greatest, the smartest, the healthiest, the best. This has at times required audacious attempts to twist a negative into a positive, often by saying something over and over until it either displaces the truth or exhausts the audience into surrender.
It is a matter of record that Mr. Trump has been a loser in many business ventures (Trump Steaks, anyone?). In fact, his greatest success flowed not from real estate but from the creation of a popular alternate-reality television persona — Donald Trump, master of the boardroom — that he ultimately rode to the White House.
But his famous aversion to the label of loser has now reached its apotheosis.
Since Joseph R. Biden Jr. was declared the winner of the Nov. 3 election — and Mr. Trump therefore declared the loser — the president has repeatedly trafficked in baseless allegations of a fraudulent and corrupt electoral process. What was once considered the quirky trait of a self-involved New York developer has become an international embarrassment, nearly upending the sacred transition of power and leaving the world’s foremost democracy — grappling with a deadly pandemic and a teetering economy — with a leader who refuses to concede despite the basic math. [Continue reading…]
Maybe if you behave yourself, stop lying to undermine a fair election & start thinking of what's good for the country instead of whining about how unfairly you are treated, you'll be invited to sit at the big boy's table. #DiaperDon pic.twitter.com/nnNOoOI1gl
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) November 27, 2020