Can democracy survive in Trump’s America?
Former president Donald Trump on September 23, 2020, was asked if he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power should he lose the election to Joe Biden?
His response was “Well, we’re going to have to see what happens. You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”
What he said next was like a bombshell that created an uproar, “We’ll get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very – we’ll have a very peaceful… there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There’ll be a continuation.”
With those words, Trump declared that he’d block the mail-in ballots and disregard the outcome of the election and will not relinquish power regardless of the outcome!
Trump failed to stop Biden, who won the election by more than eight million votes.
But the threat to democracy continued beyond Trump’s dismal attempt to overturn the election when he ordered former vice president Mike Pence to declare him the winner during the electoral vote count in the Senate on Jan. 6, 2021.
In a speech in Florida last Feb. 4, Pence said, “Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election.”However, Trump persisted saying that the committee investigating the deadly January 6th insurrection should look into “why Mike Pence did not send back the votes for recertification or approval.”
The next day, he blasted Pence and falsely declared, “He could have overturned the Election!” But Pence described January 6th as “a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol.”
This just shows that Trump is determined to pursue his claim that he won the election, which had energized his diehard MAGA cultists who are hell-bent on following him to wherever he would lead them – come hell or high water.
Trump had been going around the country in his bid to keep his “dream of returning to the White House” alive.
In a recent “Save America” rally last Jan. 29 in Conroe, Texas, he said:
“If I run and I win, we will treat those people from January 6 fairly. And if it requires pardons, we will give them pardons because they are being treated so unfairly.”Immediately, Republicans and Democrats, including two Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, criticized Trump.
Trump blasted Graham – one of Trump’s loyal allies –for breaking with him on the issue. He called Graham a RINO, that is, a Republican in Name Only.
But between Trump and Lindsey, who is a true RINO? Hmm… Lindsey is a life-long Republican while Trump switched parties at least five times since the late 1980s.
Changing political affiliations
Voting records show that Trump registered as a Republican in July 1987, only to leave the GOP more than a decade later for the Independence Party in October 1999.
In August 2001, Trump registered as a Democrat. He remained a Democrat for eight years. In 2009, he returned to the Republican Party but stayed for only two years. In 2011, he left the Republican Party and this time he marked a box that indicated, “I do not wish to enroll in a party,” which means he chose to be a registered Independent.
Then after just a year, Trump returned to the GOP in April 2012. That was the time when Trump was teasing the idea of running for president. Four years later, he was elected president of the United States. He remained a Republican since then.
One of the reasons why he wanted to run for president as a Republican was that he wanted to run as a pro-life or anti-abortion candidate, which he believed would give him a better chance of winning the presidency.
There is always an ulterior motive when someone changes political affiliation, isn’t it?
Pro-life or pro-choice?
When he ran for re-election in 2020, Trump bandied himself as the “most pro-life President ever.”
According to some rather sensational leaked information, Trump has said he regarded abortion as “such a tough issue.”He once told the then British prime minister Theresa May, who was childless, in January 2017: “Imagine some animal with tattoos raping your daughter, and then she gets pregnant.”His remarks showed that Trump was not as pro-life as many in his party would have voters believe.
Many were of the opinion that Trump had shifted his position on abortion, from a pro-choice when he was a Democrat in the 1990s to a conservative pro-life advocate after he became a Republican.
But there were repeated rumors that Trump had paid for several of his former mistresses to have abortions.
However, these claims remained unsubstantiated. But what seemed more likely was that Trump changed his tune on this moral issue depending on whom he was talking to.
This just shows what Trump’s character is: a pathological liar with no sense of righteousness, a political butterfly that changes color on the whim, a misogynous womanizer, a xenophobic racist, a homophobic gay-bashing masochist, and a man who many believe has narcissistic personality disorder.
In a June 2016 essay for The Atlantic, Northwestern University psychology professor Dan P. McAdams diagnosed the then-candidate Trump, writing in part:
“People with strong narcissistic needs want to love themselves, and they desperately want others to love them too – or at least admire them, see them as brilliant and powerful and beautiful, even just see them, period.
The fundamental life goal is to promote the greatness of the self, for all to see.”Obviously, this is the root of the controversial instances that he got himself mired into – like a quicksand that would suck you in very slowly once you fall into.
His attempt to incite his followers to insurrection and promising to pardon them if they’re convicted, raised the prospect of Trump going to the hilt to take back power in the 2024 elections.
He is priming his followers to get ready for action.
It’s going to be tough but he believes he would prevail and get the presidency back regardless of the price.
And like the Pied Piper of lore, Trump’s “magical flute” is leading them into a disastrous precipice that would put the future of democracy at risk.
After more than two centuries of success, the American experiment of democratic government is facing a crucial test – its very survival as a republic that epitomizes liberty and freedom for all of its citizens.
Now is the time when good men are called upon to stop evil from consuming the minds of the American people.
The people need to reject the notion that an autocratic demagogue could lead them into falsely believing that he is their savior. But did it cross their minds that Trump is leading them on the road to perdition?
Ultimately, the question is: Can democracy survive in Trump’s America?
PERRY DIAZ is a writer, columnist and journalist who has been published in more than a dozen Filipino newspapers in five countries.