It seems like the election season never really ended for former President Donald Trump. Despite losing the election, Trump has remained in the news cycle – and not necessarily for the right reasons. As his second impeachment trial looms and the possibility of being barred from future public office, Trump has turned his attention to his successor, Joe Biden.

Over the past few weeks, Trump has lashed out at Biden, unleashing an unfounded and unsubstantiated attack on the current president’s character. Trump has alleged that Biden is corrupt, accusing him of nepotism and accusing his son, Hunter Biden, of wrongdoing. These claims are based on claims that have been debunked and rejected by numerous independent investigations.

Trump’s allegations come in the wake of the news that the House impeachment managers would begin the process of presenting evidence against him for incitement of insurrection. The trial is set to begin on February 9th, and Trump seems to be taking every opportunity he can to distract the public from the charges leveled against him.

Trump’s behavior in this regard is not new. In the wake of the election, as President-elect Biden prepared to take office, Trump made numerous allegations of voter fraud and election rigging. These claims were also unsupported by evidence, and courts across the country – including those presided over by judges appointed by Trump himself – dismissed them. Despite this, Trump and his most fervent supporters continued to propagate the lies.

One common thread in Trump’s rhetoric is a general sense of hysteria and melodramatism. He often invokes dramatic language to describe his opponents, and to lament his plight. In his most recent statements about Biden, for example, Trump has accused him of “treason” and claimed that he “should not be allowed to run.” He has also suggested that the United States is under threat from the Biden administration, claiming that Biden wants to “destroy our country.”

The irony of these statements is, of course, that they are baseless claims. They reflect a pathological need on the part of the former president to cast himself as a victim, and his political opponents as villains. Rather than offering substantive critiques of Biden’s policies or political record, Trump is engaging in a tantrum of sorts, attempting to undermine his successor’s legitimacy by any means necessary.

This is not a new tactic, either. Throughout his presidency, Trump was prone to lashing out at his critics and opponents, using Twitter and other platforms to hurl insults and make outrageous claims. His tendency to inflate matters into “witch hunts” and “conspiracies” was a hallmark of his administration, and it reflects a broader theme in American politics – the notion that the other side is always out to get you.

This kind of paranoia and conspiracism is, of course, not conducive to healthy democratic debate. It fuels polarization and mistrust, and it undermines the credibility of the already imperiled institutions of American democracy. Trump’s allegations about Biden must be seen in this context.

If there is any good that might come out of this spectacle, it might be that it forces Americans to reflect on what a healthy political discourse might look like. We need leaders who are willing to engage in rigorous, honest debates over policy issues, not leaders who resort to baseless attacks and character assassinations. If Trump’s behavior over the past few weeks is any indication, we have a long way to go.