Weeks before president-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, Donald Trump is at the zenith of his popularity and power. He is also at the beginning of a long, slow decline.

The power of Donald Trump in the world’s most powerful office has never been greater. To his unadulterated, cult-like supporters, totaling nearly half of the American public, his words are virtually sacrosanct.

With a stroke of a pen, he can, and has freed, those who served his personal ambitions or political dominance with virtually no concern for the consequences. He has broken, according to The Washington Post, at least 20 long-standing norms of the American presidency. He has the majority of his party obsequiously bending to his wishes lest they receive his wrath and that of his supporters. The word “Trump” was used more often this year than the word “God,” according to Computational Story Lab at the University of Vermont.

All of this will begin to deteriorate in the near future. Not nearly as fast as Democrats, nor moderates in his party, or those who wish for a strong two-party system, would like. But it will begin a slow and unalterably decline.

Although Democrats and many who fear for the health of our democracy anticipate the worst and have provided exhaustive details of the possibilities, forces that Mr. Trump cannot prevent will come into play. Trump’s power may feel impenetrable to his supporters and feared to be unsurmountable by his critics, but it is not.

Trump’s extraordinary popularity at the present time is, ironically, tied to his presidential loss being akin to the death of a loved one. Emotionally it is intolerable, accompanied by anger and denial.

Emotionally, for a large portion of Trump’s supporters, death is not hyperbole. It is the scream at the burial site of a spouse, yelling, “Love of my life, don’t leave me. This isn’t real. It can’t be happening.”

Trump supporters are not likely to cry. Crying is not high in the emotional repertoire of those claiming that the presidential election was stolen. Right now, anger and denial are. However, reality cannot be denied in the long run. It takes a while for the rest of the world to creep in but, with the passage of time, it eventually does.

It is true that reality will need to overcome obstacles in gaining a solid foothold. The presidential loyalist who supports the myth that the election was stolen and Trump’s own attention-getting skills will stymy a quick transition. But like an emotional death, the depth of current feelings cannot maintain their intensity, given the onslaught of daily events demanding attention. Mar-a-Largo is not the same as the White House, no matter how much its inhabitant screams for attention. Without a steady stream of world leaders traveling to his doorstep, international attention will diminish. Over time, the same will happen domestically.

Many forces will begin to crowd out Donald Trump’s voice: President Biden, the ambitions of new White House aspirants, inevitable national crises that will require our attention, and the normalcy of life not filled by Trump’s current level of media attention.

The future is always filled with things beyond our control. In Trump’s case, legal problems (and their accompanying revelations), personal health, or marital issues may enter his life.

Although it’s impossible to predict any particular event, it is extremely likely that external events will play a role as it does for us all. Wealth and lawyerly advantages will not resolve all of them. Like the coronavirus, Donald Trump will not be able to control outside forces. Especially without the protective shield of the presidential office.

Those denying that he lost the election will decline, although a disturbing number will maintain this fantasy. But the fact remains Trump will never have more power and influence than he does right now.

For the immediate future, Donald Trump’s hold on the Republican Party remains firm. But his long-term grip on the party is altogether different. When exactly the opposing forces gain purchase is unknown, but the beginning of the end is near.