As expected, and as confirmed by The Bulwark, Trump’s sycophants are attributing his proclamation that he will be a one-day dictator, if he is elected, to “Trump’s genius sense of humor.”
In addition to the second term enablers (“a dystopian nightmare”) mentioned in the piece below, The Bulwark also mentions Ric Grenell, John Ratcliffe, Jeffrey Clark, and – as a possible running mate — Senator J.D. Vance.
The author, A. B. Stoddard, also mentions Michael Flynn noting “and that we’re screwed.” It is not clear if her characterization refers only to Flynn or to the entire cabal. Either way, we are!
The past few weeks have been rife with dire warnings about the potentially disastrous consequences for the nation and democracy if Trump — the man who holds an “overwhelming lead” in the run-up to the 2024 presidential elections — is elected to a second term.
The Atlantic is devoting its first issue of 2024 – “If Trump Wins” –to such possibility, believing that a second Trump term “would instantly plunge the country into a constitutional crisis more terrible than anything seen since the Civil War.”
The New York Times has published a series of reports warning about Trump’s and his accomplices’ plans to grab vast powers in a second term, flaunting any constitutional constraints.
The reports focus on issues such as “autocracy,” “corruption,” “extremism,” and on the impact a Trump second term would have on civil rights, the Justice Department, journalism, democracy, freedom.
Two frequently used terms are “dictator” and “dictatorship.”
Leading neoconservative scholar, Robert Kagan, in a recent Washington Post piece, “A Trump dictatorship is increasingly inevitable. We should stop pretending,” made the case that America is now racing headlong toward catastrophe.
“Let’s stop the wishful thinking and face the stark reality: There is a clear path to dictatorship in the United States, and it’s getting shorter every day,” Kagan adds.
Another Washington Post report warns: “A Trump dictatorship is increasingly inevitable. We should stop pretending.”
The American Prospect cautions: “Donald Trump Is Plotting to Make Himself Dictator.”
As early as January 2022, Bess Levin wrote at Vanity Fair, “Trump Makes It Clear He’d Be an Out and Out Dictator If Reelected in 2024.”
More recently, Liz Cheney warned that the United States is “sleepwalking into dictatorship,” and has continued to sound the alarm.
A week ago, during an Iowa town hall meeting, Trump himself confirmed –in his typical bombastic manner — that he indeed intends to be a dictator, albeit, he claims, just for one day.
Fox News’ Sean Hannity, asked Trump, “Under no circumstances, you are promising America tonight, you would never abuse power as retribution against anybody?” Instead of what should have been a resounding, “Of course I promise,” Trump replied, “Except for day one,” to the laughs and clapping of the MAGA audience.
Trump worshippers have been quick to dismiss his comment as an off-the-cuff remark — that Trump was joking; that he made the tongue-in-cheek statement solely to bait, trigger whining liberals and the media.
Trump’s own words and actions confirm his dictatorial ambitions. However, the calamities Trump has in store for the nation, for our Democracy, cannot be accomplished in just one day. It will take months, years to wreak the havoc he has in mind. Furthermore, dictators do not limit their reign to one day, nor devote their abuse of power to a couple of issues.
Trump’s intentions are crystal clear.
He demonizes Americans who do not share his ideology as “vermin.” The hallmark of his second term will be “retribution” as in “I am your warrior. I am your justice. And for those who have been wronged and betrayed, I am your retribution.”
A few of his other promises:
• “If I happen to be president and I see somebody who’s doing well and beating me very badly, I say, ‘Go down and indict them.’”
• “On Day 1 of my new administration, I will direct the D.O.J. to investigate every radical district attorney and attorney general in America for their illegal, racist-in-reverse enforcement of the law.”
• “I say up front, openly, and proudly, that when I win the Presidency of the United States, they and others of the Lamestream Media will be thoroughly scrutinized for their knowingly dishonest and corrupt coverage of people, things, and events…They are a true threat to Democracy and are, in fact, the enemy of the people! The Fake News Media should pay a big price for what they have done to our once great Country!”
• “We will use all necessary state, local, federal and military resources to carry out the largest domestic deportation operation in American history.”
Still claiming that the 2020 election was stolen, Trump asserts that “A massive fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution…”
Trump has heaped lavish praise on fellow dictators. Authoritarians such as Russia’s Putin, China’s Xi, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, Brazil’s Bolsonaro, the Philippine’s Rodrigo Duterte.
Some who have normalized Trump’s behavior may want to give him the benefit of the doubt.
However, they should carefully examine plans — such as “Project 45” — already in place or being formulated by Trump-loving individuals and organizations to implement Trump’s dark, apocalyptic vision.
Blueprints that include staffing charts replete with loyalists, sycophants and extremists, such as Stephen Miller, Tucker Carlson, Steve Bannon, Michael Flynn, and Kash Patel.
The latter, a former Trump administration official who “would likely serve in a national security capacity in a second Trump administration,” promises that a new Trump presidency will “go out and find the conspirators, not just in government but in the media…We’re actually going to use the Constitution to prosecute them for crimes they said we have always been guilty of but never have.”
Theda Skocpol, a Harvard political scientist, says, “Both this rhetoric and all G.O.P. plans announced for a second Trump term indicate clearly that retribution and institutional destruction outside the rule of law will prevail if he returns to the White House.”
Trump was not joking. Trump was not being his usual blowhard. Trump meant every word; except he fudged on the time span.
Just as Trump cannot stop at one Big Mac, at one Diet Coke, at one tweet, at one lie, at one grievance, at one vile insult, at one act of self-worship, at one violation of norms and laws, he will not be content with being a dictator just for one day. You can take that to the bank, before they are nationalized.
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.