Most one-term presidents, once they go through the torturous 10 weeks of lame-duckness, drift off quietly into a life of genteel wealth and ignominy. They give some speeches for hefty fees while planning their presidential libraries, teach a class or two, give their son advice on how to run the world (George H.W. Bush) or show the world how to live a life of humble service and intellectual curiosity (Jimmy Carter).
They get more popular after their presidencies, essentially turning into beloved governance Muppets. "He wasn’t so bad after all," we say, and "Nice guy, we could use more like him today!"
That’s a norm soon-to-be-former President Donald Trump will break. There will be no quiet slide off into a contemplative life, no teaching "International Strategy and Nuclear Detente" at Harvard, no "Today Show" stories about how much he’s come to love wrestling on the floor with puppies and grandkids. There may be some horrendous gold-dipped and diamond-encrusted Trump Presidential Library, with both Queens Boulevard and Collins Avenue in his newly adopted home state of Florida considered for the honor, but unless he pays the contractors upfront it will never open.
But is the presidential library like the Baseball Hall of Fame, where you have to be officially retired for a while before you get it?
Because assuming Trump is still legally eligible and physically fit enough, he’ll run in 2024, and win the Republican nomination. I considered adding the caveat "mentally well enough" but at this point that’s the punchline to the world’s scariest joke.
And I’m guessing his opponent will be Biden, assuming he, too, is well enough.
Luckily, we’ll have a handy metric to judge how well Biden has done by then, and how wise Trump is. All you have to do is turn Trump’s Twitter predictions from the week before the election into a score card, and see how Biden performs.
Trump says a President Biden will:
- "Give control of government over to globalists, communists, socialists, and wealthy liberal hypocrites who want to silence, censor, cancel and punish you!"
- "Abolish the American oil and gas industries and ban fracking."
- "Increase refugees from terrorist nations by 700%."
- "Overwhelm your communities and turn Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and the entire Midwest into a refugee camp!"
- "A vote for Joe Biden is a vote to extinguish your state’s (Michigan) auto industry."
- "Biden’s energy play will send every state into crushing poverty, from Michigan to Wisconsin to Arizona to Pennsylvania."
- "You will quickly lose your 2nd amendment."
- "Joe Biden will PACK THE COURT!"
- "Biden will RAISE YOUR TAXES (biggest increase ever!)"
- "If Biden wins, the rioters in the streets will be running your federal government."
- "Biden will terminate school choice, eliminate charter schools, defund religious schools, ban prayer in public schools, indoctrinate your children with anti-American lies, and force you to subsidize extreme late-term abortions."
Some of this we might want Biden to do. I’d be glad, for instance, to accept a lot more refugees from nations torn apart by terrorism and war. And I’m pretty sure 50 years from now no one will say, "Thank goodness we fracked the heck out of this place."
But I believe most of the accusations Trump is flinging at Biden will turn out to be laughably untrue, just as I believe Trump will be unable to cede the spotlight or pass on a rematch.
So here’s the score card we can consult if that rematch occurs.
If nothing else, it will make a nice exhibit in the Donald John Trump Presidential Library, Casino and Spa.
Lane Filler is a member of Newsday's editorial board.