You’ve probably heard the joke by now. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are stranded on a desert island. Who survives?
America. America survives.
The vice-presidential debate made clear that there is a way for both the Republican Party and America to survive this miserable election. We just need Donald Trump to agree to resign the presidency following his first day in office. Lawyers, start working on a way to draw up a legally binding contract.
Be King for a Day
Most of us played this game in elementary school. What would I do if I were king for a day? Or president?
Trump likes to make history. How about this, then: He can be the first man in history to experience a one-day joyride as the leader of the free world. After that, he can retire and allow his running mate, Mike Pence, to step up to the presidency.
Pence looked awfully presidential in his debate this week. He talks like someone who’s been out of diapers for at least a decade. Given a chance to elect someone as sane as Pence, I think a substantial number of Americans would bolt the Democratic Party like rats fleeing a sinking ship.
Presidents aren’t actually kings, of course. There are a lot of constitutional restrictions on what they can do. So let’s sweeten the deal. For Trump’s single day in office, we will give him some latitude to be frivolously dictatorial.
There are some restrictions, obviously. He doesn’t get to kill anybody. But if he wants us to call him “Your Majesty,” I’m willing. (I’ll even curtsey.) If he spontaneously declares a “Wear Your Speedo To Work Day,” I’ll comply. Perhaps he’d like to summon his favorite supermodels and his old cronies to a skanky party on the White House lawn. As it please you, Your Highness.
Getting What We Deserve
These shenanigans would shame us as Americans. That’s part of the point. The president is not supposed to be an overgrown teenager who uses Air Force One to impress hot women. We’re not supposed to address our leaders like monarchs.
This is the bed we’ve been making, however. It might be salutary to experience this national day of Trumpian humiliation, while our enemies cackle and our friends snicker. After that, we could thank our stars that it was just a day, and get busy laying plans to never, ever let this happen again.
How would Trump explain this to his supporters? No one could be better qualified. Trump is a genius at spinning half-truths and bold-faced lies that capture the public’s fancy. Tell them he’s too important to be president. Tell them he has to give his absolute, full attention to arranging construction of The Wall. Tell them the Republicans just haven’t treated him right and that he and Ivanka are going to start a new television network, which will of course be yuge.
Once An Ex-President…
Probably he wouldn’t tell them the truth, which is that people who can’t be bothered with debate prep certainly can’t be bothered with the tedious task of being president. It’s a truckload of boring. Think meetings wall to wall. Foreign leaders are constantly yammering at you; Congress is a brigade of un-beautiful drama queens who don’t seem to care at all what Ivanka wants. If you can manage it, the one-day presidency is absolutely the way to go.
Even apart from his Special Day, there would be a lot of perks. He would forever go down in history as the 45th president of the United States. He would be the man who bested the Clintons. He would perpetually be entitled to an ex-president stipend, along with access to the Secret Service protection. His new network could feature a reality show, “The Executive.” (“I am your host, former President Donald Trump.” Has a nice ring to it, eh?)
For the rest of his life, he could begin anecdotes with, “When I was president of the United States.” All this bounty could be Trump’s, without any of the stress and bother of executing presidential duties.
Think about it, Your Majesty. Isn’t America ready for a win-win?