The former U.S. president is painting an apocalyptic scenario in an appeal for the return of a savior.
Nothing manages to discourage Donald Trump, who is determined — even now and against all evidence — to claim victory in the 2020 presidential election that Joe Biden won by 7 million popular votes and 74 Electoral College votes. He has disparaged the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol as being partisan. Despite the presentation of considerable evidence that he planned to prevent the transition of power — essentially an insurrectionary coup d’état — the committee has not managed to discourage him. Neither have the more moderate Republicans who are clearly a minority within the conservative electorate that faithfully clings to the stolen election hoax and, what is worse, continues to support Trump as their presidential candidate in 2024.
Few presidents could have managed to maintain such overwhelming influence in the Republican Party after a chaotic administration and an undisputed election defeat. Trump has not yet announced that he is running for reelection, but the possibility that he will weighs heavily on candidates campaigning for the midterm elections.
Trump was instrumental in appointing three Supreme Court justices who have ruled against abortion rights, in favor of gun ownership as a constitutional right, and against regulation of polluting emissions by public regulatory agencies. The candidates who will challenge his candidacy in the primaries are not moderate Republicans but quite the opposite: Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence.
The Republican Party thus faces the challenge of disrupting the dynamic that Trump set in motion, one that could fatally erode democracy. The international war in Ukraine has reinforced autocratic values like those of Vladimir Putin himself in the worst of all possible ways.
Extremism is the greatest and most seductive threat for Republicans; thus, it is not surprising that an increasing number of radical candidates are entering the November midterm race. Many belong to violent conspiracy and anti-vaccine groups like those who stormed the Capitol.
Nor is the radical, apocalyptic tone of Trump himself surprising.
This week, he described the landscape of a country with overflowing borders invaded by immigrants, attacked by drug addicts and vagrants, in which Satanist child abusers are being released from prisons — in short, a county on the brink of civil war. Everything is in place for making an appeal to the strong hand and the strong man, to a savior and a dictator: The worst of all is on the horizon.