Donald Trump may have lost the 2020 Presidential election to Joe Biden and we can all breathe a sigh of relief… for now. Because Trump may not be in the White House, but he’s not going anywhere!
Love him or hate him, Trump’s record as the 45th President of the United States leaves a lot to be desired, to put it mildly. Firstly, he didn’t build a wall – but his former advisor, Steve Bannon did manage to defraud Trump donors in a $25 million fundraising campaign to build it along the southern border (and Trump issued a Presidential pardon for Bannon on his final day in office). The most meaningful legislation he passed was tax cuts to the tune of $1.5 trillion in the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA).
He’s been impeached twice. More than half a million Americans will have died as a consequence of his negligence in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. He incited an insurrection. He’s burnt every bridge he could with regards to foreign policy, with the exception of his love affairs with the likes of Kim Jung Un, Benjamin Netanyahu and Juan Guaidó. He took several steps backwards in the fight to save the environment. He separated children from their parents and detained them. this list goes on forever.
But, 75 million people still voted for Donald Trump. And they are utterly mesmerised by his cult of personality. His supporters will more than likely continue to believe the election was rigged for… well, forever. Trump is a god to them and completely infallible. Yet, because there’s a two-term limit for US Presidents, there is still a chance that we could end up in a situation where Trump could return to office – if he isn’t convicted for his charges of inciting insurrection under a Democrat-controlled Senate. The question, though, if Trump does run in 2024, how exactly would that play out?
While Trump’s first impeachment was never going to result in a conviction, due to the fact that Mitch McConnell was running the Republican-controlled Senate and a two-thirds vote is necessary to convict a president and remove him from office. However, the Democrats now have control of the Senate by the slimmest of margins (50-50, with Kamala Harris casting the deciding vote on a tie), so Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will have more control over proceedings.
His second impeachment is still unlikely, because it would require 18 Republican senators to vote for a conviction. And, with so many of the Republican constituents hooked on Trump fever, it poses an enormous political risk for anyone considering breaking ranks with Trump.
With that said, it is painstakingly clear that Republican leadership wants to part ways with Trump as the nominal figurehead of the party, however. McConnell encouraged Republican senators to “vote with their conscience” before he was replaced by Schumer as Senate Majority Leader. And there are countless other people in Republican leadership positions that can’t wait to distance themselves from the Trump wrecking ball, but it doesn’t mean that the people will be moving with them.
It must also be noted that Trump could be convicted of crimes under the New York’s jurisdiction as he is potentially guilty of committing various financial crimes such as tax fraud. But this wouldn’t bar him from running for office unless he actually goes to prison
While Fox News has somewhat distanced themselves from Trump since it became evident that the voter fraud scandal was completely devoid of substance, there are two new players on the scene: One America News Network (OAN) and Newsmax. If you pay their websites a visit, you’ll see headlines that scream impartiality, such as “Sore Winner Left Wants Right Silenced Forever“, “Trump Has Left US Better Off and Free” and “AOC Clearest Portrait Yet of Our Broken Congress“.
Having endorsed these media platforms, Trump has cultivated the means to spread propaganda. It’s only a matter of time before these outlets look exactly like Chinese or Russian or North Korean state media, and Trump loyalists will continue to live in an alternate reality.
And there has been speculation that Trump wants revenge for Fox’s abandonment of him (although, it must be said there are still several fervent Trump supporters like Sean Hannity who remain very much loyal to him). And to exact his revenge, he will launch an all-Trump TV channel to compete with Fox News, according to ABC News’ John Santucci. Trump would attempt to lure popular hosts like Hannity and Tucker Carlson away from Fox and it would give him a mouthpiece to carry momentum through from his presidency to a 2024 campaign (should he be allowed to run).
2024 Campaign on the cards
Should Trump not be impeached and barred from holding federal office again, you can be almost certain that he’ll be running again in the next Presidential election. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he announced his intention to run within the next few days.
We haven’t seen a President lose re-election since George HW Bush lost to Bill Clinton in 1992 and no President has lost an election, only to return to office four years later since Grover Cleveland in the late 19th Century. So America is facing a near unprecedented situation with regards to what will happen in the next Republican Primaries. The likes of Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz and Mike Pence will all surely be hoping to throw their names into the hat for the next Presidential elections, but Trump may be promoting his political platform with an insurmountable lead within Republican ranks and it’s very likely that he’d win the Republican nomination if he does run.
And Biden will be 82-years-old by 2024. He may decide not to run for a second term (this is pure speculation) and Kamala Harris would likely be Trump’s opponent in that scenario, meaning that she doesn’t have the incumbent’s advantage, unless she’s revered for her role in a would-be fruitful term for Biden.
It ain’t over til Donald says it’s over.
We may be able to limit our exposure to Trump thanks to his Twitter ban. He’s no longer President and he’s no longer in the driver’s seat when it comes to shaping the narrative and making the decisions. But don’t kid yourself, Trump still possesses a tremendous amount of power as a private citizen. He has the undying loyalty of tens of millions of people. And the Republican Party is fractured, with an ever deepening divide between Trump loyalists and the standard, old school, establishment Republicans like Mitt Romney. Whether the Republican Party remain’s Trump’s Party or it reverts to its old ways of creationism, libertarianism and fiscal conservatism remains to be seen. But Trump still has wealth and status (for now) and an army of loyal followers, so you can be sure that you haven’t seen the last of him.