In case you’ve been wondering, the inevitable has to happen. It just does. That’s why it’s inevitable. Trump will be the loser in November and the world will go on its merry way. Set it in stone. 1

Most will go back to their docile lives with a hearty, self-satisfied, sense of accomplishment. Some won’t be thrilled with who’s in the White House, but relieved the threat of a President Trump will have been vanquished. Perhaps a few will see the error of their ways, and join hands with their new friends for a full-throttle kumbaya moment. You never know. The world is a strange place.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.

Trump isn’t going away. That’s why he’s telling everyone the system is rigged against him. He’s purposefully undermining the faith in our democracy, which, by the way, is one of its most important ingredients. Most likely, it’s for one of two ends.

When Trump formally announced his intent to “Make America Great Again!” back in June, it seemed like a skit ripped from the stage of an unoriginal improv comedy troupe. “Would it be funny if Donald Trump actually ran for president?” Turns out, no, not so much.

It was all a grand charade, right? Media outlets greedily broadcasted the declaration of the king in clown’s clothing. Isn’t it hilarious? The birther king is running for president! Unfortunately, ridicule gave rise to his candidacy. It pushed his message out through the airwaves and the digital ecosphere, where it found an audience, one nobody thought was so large: uninformed voters and the angry white people left behind by the recession.

Thus, we entered into the vicious political cycle: the more outlandish Trump became, the more obligated the media felt to cover him, and the more people were exposed to his rhetoric, the more it spread. It’s not like Trump’s tactics are entirely new to the political game. The Founding Fathers bandied about salacious essays that debated the best course for a burgeoning country, while lobbing insults at their opponent’s personal proclivities. Those were the days of the printing press and publications owned by partisan publications who controlled the information. Things moved slower, I guess.

No, the game is new because our ability to communicate to the masses has evolved far, far beyond our ability to keep up with it. Combine that with news channels aching for content and a sideshow so ridiculous it can’t be ignored, and we have the shit-stew we’re swimming in right now. So, when the balance gets calculated on democracy’s freedom ledger, free speech–in a Twilight Zone sort of way–almost becomes a threat to democracy.

That’s the danger of a Trump in politics: Nothing ends. I can see it now. A Trump-branded, alt-right media company will emerge to feed pabulum to the 24-hour news monolith. Dim-witted retorts will follow criticisms of reductionist policy, both foreign and domestic. Winners of his beauty pageants will be guaranteed jobs as reporters on his news show. The Trump Channel will have a talk show that will air whenever Donald Trump wants to talk at the camera. And he’ll do so for hours on end. When he’s done, he’ll walk off and the channel will broadcast an empty set that waits for his return.

The people who felt aggrieved by Trump’s defeat will coalesce, while people who reluctantly voted for Hillary Clinton because it was “the right thing to do,” will start listening to Trump-fed propaganda at the first sign of yet another Clinton scandal.2

His tactics will grow more aggressive. Representatives will appear at Hillary Clinton’s photo opportunities and shout disparaging remarks about her pantsuits or her hair or her husband. Someone will throw something at her. People will say she deserved it.

Putin will appear on “Donald Trump Live.” They’ll talk about how America lost its way. Trump will be eerily quiet as Putin speaks. He’ll nod approvingly as Putin talks about Ukraine.

Our minds will be inundated with lies we won’t be able to unravel. Soon after, the alt-right agenda will be communicated through memes. And they’ll seem clearly articulated with the depth those issues deserve. People will start slicking back their hair and speaking in grandiose generalities. You best friend, the one you trust most about political discourse, the one who is always level-headed and rational will say: “If our economy isn’t great–and I mean phenomenal–then I can’t. You know? I just can’t.”

Four years, eight years, twelve years later, in some gray November, someone from the Trump camp will be on the ticket. And then? He’ll win, because that’s where this road leads. Trump’s been out ahead of us, building it, while we’re running after him with pitchforks, thinking he’s running away. Despots never do.

It’s a long and winding path, sure. But one that’s so much more believable than him winning the election. Because we know if that happens, the truth will be obvious. The election was rigged. Which might be why he’s so adamant about that happening. Maybe that’s what he’s planning to do.

1 Still, don’t forget to vote. Just in case.
2 There will be more Clinton scandals, by the way. No one’s looking forward to that.