Even if President Donald Trump is defeated in the 2020 election campaign, his influence over American politics may not diminish for years or even decades.
In an essay posted on Medium, veteran journalist Ross Barkan writes that there is no way that Trump will gracefully exit the stage after his time in the Oval Office is over, and he will seek to impose his will on the Republican Party for years after leaving the White House.
"His remarkable capture of the Republican Party will not only outlast his presidency, but perhaps his life," writes Barkan. "He may loom, like Ronald Reagan, over the conservative imagination for decades to come... I’ve heard Democrats hope that Trump’s departure from the White House, whenever that may be, will render him irrelevant. But he is no Obama. He will not hesitate, as an absurdly famous and retired person with time on his hands, to intervene in every political controversy imaginable."
What this means, in Barkan's estimation, is that "sanity won't be restored" to American politics, in large part because Trump will not slink off in defeat like former Presidents Richard Nixon and George W. Bush.
In fact, Barkan even predicts a grim future Republican primary in which Trump is asked by Fox News to serve as an "Apprentice"-style reality TV show host to see which candidate can do the much to win his favor.
"Every week or so, an aged Trump can take to the airwaves and weigh in, like a bloviating sports talk show host, on the progress of his candidates," he writes. "This is the future that awaits us."