© 2021 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Each Monday, Tommy Tomlinson delivers thoughtful commentary on an important topic in the news. Through these perspectives, he seeks to find common ground that leads to deeper understanding of complex issues and that helps people relate to what others are feeling, even if they don’t agree.

On My Mind: Hanging Up On Trump, And Those Who Want To Be Like Him

Trump October Goodyear Arizona Skidmore.jpg
Gage Skidmore
President Trump campaigns in October in Goodyear, Arizona, in the days before the 2020 election.

In some ways, I just can’t make myself care about what Donald Trump says anymore.


His phone call to the Georgia secretary of state over the weekend, trying to get a public official to cheat Joe Biden out of his rightful victory, only tells us what anybody with a lick of sense already knows. Trump is willing to lie, steal, and corrupt others to get what he wants. He is the worst president of our lifetimes and one of the biggest losers in American history.

Over and over again, he claims that it’s not possible that Joe Biden got 81 million votes. What he doesn’t seem to understand, or doesn’t want to understand, is that the unprecedented turnout was not so much for Biden but against Trump. Most of those people would’ve voted for a tree stump over Trump. And the stump wouldn’t have done nearly as much damage to America.

OK. It’s hard not to talk about the guy without venting like a teapot. But no matter what delusions he clings to, he lost. It’s not his actions that worry me right now. It’s the actions of all the people who have chosen to mold themselves in his image.

At least 12 U.S. senators have said they’ll challenge the Electoral College votes that certified the public’s decision on Election Day to make Biden the next president. Set aside for a second the idea that if there was massive voter fraud to elect Biden, it would also call into question all the Republicans who won in November. But that would be logic and logic doesn’t matter here. All these senators know good and well that Trump is trying to run a scam on America. What matters to them is being able to say, the next time they have to run for office, that they stuck with him to the bitter end.

And here’s the reason they want to say they stuck with him: Despite everything, Trump got 74 million votes, which would have won any other election in our history. The optimist in me wants to think that once Trump leaves the White House, the spell will be broken, and at least some of his followers will realize what a vain and shallow man they latched themselves to. But the realist in me thinks Trump is a twisted role model for millions of Americans. He’s proven that you can treat people like dirt, dodge your taxes and lie your way to the highest office in the land. He is prehistoric, in a way — a man from the time before laws and consciences. And the thing that scares me most about America is that so many people want to be like him.

The thing that makes me feel good about America is that even more people don’t want that.

Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state, is a Republican. He didn’t have a great reputation among Democrats before the election. But when Trump called him on Saturday, trying to get him to rig the election – basically, trying to get him to rig America – Raffensperger politely but firmly told him no.

As Jason Isbell says in his song about the high road, “there can’t be more of them than us.” It’s a closer call than it ought to be. But despite all the noise, I think he’s right.

Tommy Tomlinson’s On My Mind column runs Mondays on WFAE and WFAE.org. It represents his opinion, not the opinion of WFAE. You can respond to this column in the comments section at wfae.org. You can also email Tommy at ttomlinson@wfae.org.