Almost everyone you ask thinks they know what is really behind the fact that Donald Trump refuses to concede the election. Some believe he's trying to shore up his base and prep to start his own media network to compete with Fox News. Some believe he's more intent on sabotaging Joe Biden's administration than anything else.
But Edward Norton — that's right, the Hulk — thinks he has a pretty good idea what's going through Trump's mind right now. And he might actually be right. He explains it all in a viral Twitter thread.
I’m no political pundit but I grew up w a dad who was a federal prosecutor & he taught me a lot & I’ve also sat a fair amount of poker w serious players & l’ll say this: I do not think Trump is trying to ‘make his base happy’ or ‘laying the groundwork for his own network’...— Edward Norton (@EdwardNorton) November 20, 2020
Norton may be an actor, but his father was a federal prosecutor and he's played a lot of poker, so he thinks he's at least a little bit qualified to speculate about the president's motives here.
He explains that he doesn't buy the popular theories. He doesn't think he's trying to keep his base happy or planning his own media venture. He also doesn't think he's doing it because he loves "chaos." The fact is, Norton says, the president knows he's in trouble. And he's doing any and everything he can think of to delay having to deal with reality.
...or that ‘chaos is what he loves’. The core of it is that he knows he’s in deep, multi-dimensional legal jeopardy & this defines his every action. We’re seeing 1) a tactical delay of the transition to buy time for coverup & evidence suppression 2) above all, a desperate endgame— Edward Norton (@EdwardNorton) November 20, 2020
Donald Trump has committed a lot of crimes, and every action he's taking right now is to buy time in order to destroy and cover up evidence. That's what Ed Norton thinks, at least. And not going to lie, it sounds feasible. Norton continues...
...which is to create enough chaos & anxiety about peaceful transfer of power, & fear of irreparable damage to the system, that he can cut a Nixon-style deal in exchange for finally conceding. But he doesn’t have the cards. His bluff after ‘the flop’ has been called in court...— Edward Norton (@EdwardNorton) November 20, 2020
He says the president's "desperate endgame" is to scare people enough that they'll offer him a deal to concede. He thinks that if he makes enough of a stink and threatens the norm (peaceful transfers of power...for one) to the point where people are actually frightened that he might shake the system or damage it irreparably, they'll be more likely to let him off the hook if he'll just finally agree to leave the White House.
But, as Norton points out, he has no footing to stand on here. He has no real power to perform a coup. So we can't let him think he's going to get away with it. We have to "call his bluff," if you will.
His ‘turn card’ bluff will be an escalation & his ‘River card’ bluff could be really ugly. But they have to be called. We cannot let this mobster bully the USA into a deal to save his ass by threatening our democracy. THAT is his play. But he’s got junk in his hand. So call him.— Edward Norton (@EdwardNorton) November 20, 2020
All we have to say is, "Nope, not happening. You're going down, and you're probably taking a bunch of your cabinet and family members with you."
My personal favorite tweet in Norton's thread comes next. It's more of an aside to his main point, but it's pretty poetic.
I will allow that he’s also a whiny, sulky, petulant, Grinchy, vindictive little 10-ply-super-soft bitch who no doubt is just throwing a wicked pout fest & trying to give a tiny-hand middle finger to the whole country for pure spite, without a single thought for the dead & dying— Edward Norton (@EdwardNorton) November 20, 2020
He is all of those things, Norton argues. But... But, if we see him for what he is and we recognize that he's really just trying to save himself and himself only from the legal trouble that awaits him when he leaves office, we should have no problem laughing him out of the White House. All he wants is a deal. And we shouldn't give it to him, Norton writes.
But his contemptible, treasonous, seditious assault on the stability of our political compact isn’t about 2024, personal enrichment or anything else other than trying to use chaos & threat to the foundation of the system as leverage to trade for a safe exit. Call. His. Bluff.— Edward Norton (@EdwardNorton) November 20, 2020
Norton concludes, "Faith in the strength of our sacred institutions and founding principles is severely stretched...but they will hold. They will. He’s leaving, gracelessly and in infamy. But if we trade for it, give him some brokered settlement, we’ll be vulnerable to his return. We can’t flinch."