SEOUL — Oddsmakers have no doubt fine-tuned the chances of Donald Trump or Joe Biden winning Tuesday’s presidential election. I might lay odds on one or the other but not for the record.
It’s not that I think it would be wrong to let it be known on whom I was betting. It’s just the campaign is so fraught with variables and imponderables that I wouldn’t hazard a guess for fear I could be proven dead wrong a few days from now, or later next week, or next month.
Wait a minute, this election is so crazy, we’re not even sure when we’ll have the final count, when the Supreme Court will declare the winner and whether Trump, Melania and all their relatives and aides will be willing to leave the White House if perchance Trump is “the loser.”
Admittedly, the sight of them being carried out on the shoulders of Secret Service guardians would be fun on TV, but I’d be worried about never collecting on my bet.
It’s necessary to put quotes around “loser” because that’s one of the Trumpster’s favorite words. He’s been labeling people “losers” whenever he disagrees with them or thinks they’re no-count idiots, beneath contempt.
He called John McCain a loser for getting shot down in a fighter plane during the Vietnam War and spending more than five years in “the Hanoi Hilton” — not the five-star Hilton they’ve got there now but the prison that housed hundreds of American pilots after bailing out over “North” Vietnam.
Trump also reportedly said Americans killed in World War II and buried in France were “losers,” and I heard him in Singapore the day after his summit with Kim Jong-un in June 2018 say those who questioned the success of their lovefest, from which they reaped nothing other than a record blitz of clippings, were “losers.”
It would be justice of a sort for Trump to “lose” so “the fake media,” as he calls the New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC, among others, could carry headlines calling him “loser” in big type. Or would the media be more likely to banner, “You’re fired,” as he used to shout at contestants on his old Hollywood TV show?
The Times and Post might not be so undignified as to run headlines saying “Loser” or “You’re Fired” across their front pages over news of the election, but those words should work as titles of nasty editorials.
Assuming the pollsters learned a thing or two after predicting a sure win for Hillary Clinton four years ago and this time have got it right and Biden does win as forecast, we then have to think about what it will take to undo all the harm that Trump’s caused in his turn in the White House.
We might start with Korea, North and South.
Trump may go on loving Kim Jong-un, but Biden and his advisers will be starting anew in assessing what to do about the man whom Biden in their second TV debate labelled a “thug.”
That was no doubt an appropriate four-letter word for the man, but the Kimster could not have been happy about it.
Well, since Trump in the year before falling “in love” with Kim in Singapore had been calling him “rocket man,” maybe Kim will try and make as much a sucker of Joe as he did of Donald with their fatuous pledge of a “nuclear-free Korean peninsula.”
When it comes to South Korea, Biden should quickly resolve the impasse with Seoul over Trump’s demands for a vast increase in its share of the cost of keeping U.S. troops and bases in the country.
In dealing with North Korea and its great protector, China, he might temporize with a lengthy “review” of the decades-long standoff, ignoring gratuitous suggestions for “meaningful” talks and an end-of-war agreement or “peace treaty” under which the South would abrogate the U.S. alliance and kick out most American troops.
With any luck, Biden will shrug off all such nonsense.
And then what? More missile and nuke tests? “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose,” as the French would say, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
Or, in the phrase of the great American baseball player Yogi Berra: “Déjà vu all over again.”