This is the period when candidates present their most ideologically aggressive angles to win over the most loyal partisans.
Donald Trump’s plans for an eventual second term include what U.S. political analysts class as a “dramatic expansion” of government power, especially of the presidency.
Trump has hinted at some likely actions if he becomes president, and while it is safe to say that some of them will be no more than symbolic, others are cause for concern.
From a pardon for all those sentenced so far for their participation in the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol building — where Congress was in session to certify the 2020 election — to measures to reduce the budgets of the Department of Justice and the FBI, facilitate the dismissal of government employees and modify the education system, particularly the university system.
And of course, using the armed forces to fight drug cartels and street gangs.
Trump is getting ready to compete in the primary elections in which the candidates from each party seek to gain the support of their fellow believers in each state in a process that will begin in January 2024 and, for the Republicans, will culminate the following July at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee. For the Democrats it will finish in August in Chicago.
This is the period when the candidates present their most ideologically aggressive angles to win over the most loyal partisans and secure their help, both financially and in terms of participation in organizational work and propaganda.
As of today, Trump seems to be the overwhelming favorite. He has been formally campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination for weeks* now, which he has used to try to undermine his potential competitors, in particular Ron DeSantis, who is expected to announce this week.
The most recent Harvard-Harris poll put the tycoon at 57% to DeSantis’ 16%.
But Trump is a character known for his personal problems, especially his interactions with women and his business ethics. In fact, he was recently ordered to pay damages of almost $5.9 million to a woman who reported him for sexual harassment and rape. He faces investigations for his role in the Jan. 6 attack, his attempts to interfere with election authorities in Georgia and his handling of secret documents after leaving the presidency.
Trump’s image worries traditional Republicans, who believe he could be a problem in attracting independent voters. Not that DeSantis is ideologically far from Trump, but his image is that of a family man — with two young children and an attractive wife — described by his enemies as Lady Macbeth, a Shakespearean character defined as manipulative and power-hungry.
But Trump’s proposal is seen as authoritarian rule with a democratic façade.
*Editor’s Note: Donald Trump declared his candidacy for president on Nov. 15, 2022.