I commend to your attention this essay by Ezra Klein. Before I try to very briefly summarize his argument (but do read this, although it's long form) I want to pull this:
Klein wrote this before the election, when he expected Trump to narrowly lose. (Actually, he did lose the popular vote, and it wasn't particularly close. But the problem of the electoral college is for another day. He got plenty of votes.)He is a man who routinely praises dictators. Of Vladimir Putin, Trump said, "He's running his country, and at least he's a leader, unlike what we have in this country." Of Kim Jong Un, Trump said, "You've got to give him credit. He goes in, he takes over, and he's the boss. It's incredible." Of Saddam Hussein, Trump said, "He killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn't read them the rights."It’s not just that Trump admires authoritarians; it’s that the thing he admires about them is their authoritarianism — their ability to dispense with niceties like a free press, due process, and political opposition.Trump has promised — in public, and repeatedly — to bring this hammer to American governance. He stood in a nationally televised debate and vowed to jail his opponent if elected. He has proposed strengthening libel laws to make it easier to cow the press and antitrust laws to punish Jeff Bezos and Amazon for the Washington Post’s coverage of his candidacy. In a recent speech at Gettysburg meant to preview his first 100 days in office, Trump said he would sue all of the women who accused him of sexual assault.During rallies, Trump has exhorted his followers to assault protestors, and has promised to pay their legal fees if their thuggery leads to arrest. He has warned that the only way he could lose the election would be if it is rigged, and has suggested he may refuse to concede.And all this ignores his more basic flaws. He is cruel, lazy, and reckless. He knows nothing of policy and has not bothered to find anything out. He is easily baited, reliant on sycophants, and prone to conspiracy theories. He is a bigot who slimed an American-born judge for his Mexican heritage and a misogynist who boasted that his celebrity gave him license to commit sexual assault. He has cast doubt on America’s commitment to the NATO alliance and offhandedly encouraged Saudi Arabia and Japan to build nuclear weapons. His business is rife with conflicts of interest, and his campaign has been amateurish and poorly managed.
Klein's basic claim is that the gatekeepers who once had control of the nominating process -- party elites, mostly, but corporate media as well -- have completely lost influence. But while the parties are institutionally weak, the public is more partisan than ever. The result is that once Trump got the nomination, Republican voters stuck with him despite whatever doubts some of them may have had. And party elites could not afford to abandon him lest their voters retaliate against them.
We can forget about checks and balances because soon, far right extremists will control all three branches of the federal government. They will do whatever they want, and believe me, New York Times editorials won't slow them down.