Donald Trump lost. The networks and pundits are being coy about calling it, the White House is flailing through the motions of bullshit legal challenges and nobody close to the lame duck president wants to tell him the truth — but he lost. A majority of Americans want him gone.
This is a fatal blow to someone who describes himself as eternally “winning” and can think of no sharper insult than “loser.” And as hard a pill as it is for Trump to swallow, it’s even more unacceptable to the MAGA voters who shaped themselves in his image, becoming smug and loud and perfectly convinced that the libs would stay triggered forever. Now, with defeat in the offing, they are the ones spiraling, able to post only a pathetic form of content known as “cope.”
“Cope” is a term that evolved out of 4chan culture and has specifically attached to the incel, or “involuntarily celibate” community. It’s anything that stands opposite the abyss of real nihilism — attempts to find a silver lining because you can’t face the unthinkable truth. Cope is what separates the hopeful incels from their “blackpilled” counterparts, who have given up the fantasy of overcoming their circumstances. “Being ugly is God’s way of protecting us from sexual immorality,” for example, is a statement that oozes with cope. In the wake of the 2016 election, Democrats coped by clinging to the possibility of rogue electors and whatever else could stop Trump from entering office; in 2020, it’s Trump’s base gaming out the increasingly unlikely ways that he might hold onto power for another four years. It is a wonder to behold their agony.
Everyone copes sometimes, but remember, the MAGA gang is well-practiced in two key elements of the craft: living in denial and making themselves the victims. Between an utter refusal to accept the election returns and the belief that they and Trump are endlessly persecuted by a liberal cabal, etc., they’re reaching levels of cope we never could have imagined. It’s the goddamn Cope Olympics. The cognitive dissonance of simultaneously declaring Trump the actual victor and screaming that he’s been cheated out of a second term through fraud and conspiracy is practically melting their faces off. “I’m not crying, you’re crying!”
And nobody — I mean nobody — can out-cope the coper-in-chief. This shit is an absolute drug.
No doubt the 75 days until the inauguration will contribute to anger, stress and fear across the political spectrum, especially if courtroom efforts to undermine the vote drag on. For the moment, however, we can enjoy the show — the stubborn insistence that, even as the plane nosedives, there’s someone at the controls who can land it safely. Could it be time to admit that gravity exists? Trump and his supporters haven’t officially lost yet, but they sure are coping like it.