How to Dislodge the Brute in the White House

In States, Voting On

Chuck Hardwick, lifelong Republican, former Pfizer executive, now retired in Florida, voted for Donald Trump in 2016, but not without misgivings. He’d met him in the 1980s and noted a “consuming ego.” Still, elections are about choices, and he disliked the “scheming” Clintons. He was mad at the media for first mocking Trump during the primaries and then turning on him as nominee.

Three years later, Hardwick, 78, whose political career included a stint as speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly, is unsure how he will vote in November 2020. Trump confounds him. He admires the president’s energy, his courage in taking on difficult issues like China “stealing its way to prosperity,” his corporate tax cuts, and what he sees as a revitalizing impact on American ambition.

“But if I was on a board that had hired Trump as C.E.O.,” Hardwick tells me, “I’d have to say to him: ‘You’ve got good traits but you can’t manage people. You’re fired.’”

Getting fired by the American people in 2020 is something the Trump ego will not abide. Defeat would shred his I-can-get-away-with-anything operating manual. If there aren’t serious attorneys already looking at how to respond to the shenanigans Trump will deploy in the event of a narrow defeat next year, it’s time they get started.

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