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Donald Trump, round two

By Anne Van Hoose

 A dictator starting on day one: Anne van Hoose on Donald Trump’s second presidency

A growing number of people fear Donald Trump will return to the US presidency in the next election. As the race moves forward, it becomes an ever-valid concern. The answer to the looming question ‘will Trump be able to be re-elected’ is a simple one – yes. 

With the lowest voter turnout since 2000, Trump recently won the Iowa caucus against his Republican opponents. CBS accredits the turnout to many things, including the weather, but most importantly, a lack of enthusiasm among voters. Importantly, though, American elections are at their core based upon a voluntary response sample, meaning that people who vote are there because they have willingly gone out to the polls. Voluntary response samples lead to very skewed data sets because those who volunteer are more likely to have very strong opinions, making them passionate enough to volunteer. That is the model for the 2024 election – Trump’s base is radical, passionate, and right winged. These people assaulted protesters outside Trump rallies, led an insurrection on January 6, and blindly believe anything Trump says. These are the people who will go out to vote, and more moderate voters, who may not vote for Trump, may stay home. Unless there is a spike in voter turnout like we saw in 2020, Trump’s win is incredibly likely. Everyone needs to get out and vote, or else America could risk electing their first dictator for the second time.

At a Town Hall in December, Sean Hannity asked Trump, “you are promising America

tonight, you would never abuse power as retribution against anybody?” Trump replied, “Except for day one.” When asked about it again by his friends at Fox News, who looked like they were trying to cover for him, Trump declared that he was “gonna be a dictator, for one day”.

What will Trump’s dictatorship look like? And will it really only be one day? Trump has said that if he was”given the chance” he would get back at those who wronged him. He has a habit of firing those who disagree with him – really anyone trying to keep him in line – and we can expect a second term of him surrounded by “yes men”. He stacked the Supreme Court in his favour, thereby taking control of the judiciary that is constitutionally designed to constrain his abuses of power. 

He has already undermined the country’s trust in democracy and the media. His initial refusal to accept the results of the 2020 election and his rampant criticism of the news have shaken the foundation of the United States. We have the beginnings of a dictatorship – Trump has the power to be a long-term dictator, and I don’t think he would pass on that opportunity. 

Trump’s second presidency poses many threats, but one that is particularly significant to me is  the division of America’s people. I’m not talking about civil war or an insurrection, but rather the person-to-person tension and conflict that has already deeply hurt each American. 

I am from Georgia, with family spread across the south, an area which is still rooted in the bigotry of the Confederacy. Trump’s first presidency normalised and promoted the prejudice that had already been brewing in America. Daily life in America as a queer woman is a scary experience. Minorities are surrounded by armed individuals proudly preaching hate towards anyone who is not like them. Hate crimes increased significantly after the election of Trump – most of them being racially motivated. We were always taught in schools that one of the things that made America the greatest country on Earth was that anyone could come to America – we were this great melting pot. But we could be looking at an end to that once and for all. America’s melting pot is already cracking, and Trump’s second Presidency could destroy it for good.

Further resources:

 the Atlantic’s ‘If Trump Wins’ issue

the Guardian’s ‘Would the US survive a second Trump presidency?’ podcast episode


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How do you elect a dictator twice?