The national flag of the United States / CFP

The national flag of the United States / CFP

Editor’s Note: Michael Lind, professor of practice at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, is the author of “The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite” (Portfolio, 2020). The article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of CGTN.

There is still a lot to learn about what happened in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021. But almost since the time rioters stormed the Capitol, it’s clear that the US constitutional order has resisted. to Donald Trump’s efforts to overthrow him.

The available evidence suggests that Trump backed a rogue ploy to get Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to certify results showing Joe Biden won the Electoral College vote. The idea was that amid the confusion created by unauthorized self-proclaimed state voters, Republicans in Congress would give Trump a second term.

But the project was doomed to failure, as the main Republicans refused to play the game. Pence avoided his assigned role in the project, as did Attorney General William Barr and other senior executive officials. . Representatives from the Republican states of Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, as well as federal judges – some of whom were appointed by Trump – also held their ground.

Moreover, most Republicans in Congress who contested the election results believed they were engaging in a simple formality that would protect them from retaliation from far-right voters without changing anything. And those Republicans, in turn, were following precedents set by Democrats who challenged state election results in the previous elections of 2001, 2005, and 2017.

Although opposition within Trump’s own administration and in Trump’s party has sunk Trump’s seditious plan, many Democrats argue that a similar plan could be successful in 2024. But any repeated attempt to alter the Electoral College’s results in the naming a Republican loser would require an unlikely degree of collaboration between dozens, if not hundreds, of Republican members of Congress, state legislatures, and federal courts. And this time, there would be no element of surprise.

Yes, alarmists would argue that unlike 2020, Trump-backed officials could occupy many key positions in the election administration in 2024. But these Trumpist legions are expected to be much more loyal and disciplined than previous loyalists like Pence and Barr. And each should be prepared to risk their own political future on the success of a complex plot that would primarily benefit a notoriously disloyal individual who regularly uses people and then throws them away.

The United States Capitol in Washington, DC was pierced by thousands of demonstrators during a “Stop the Steal” rally in support of Donald Trump during the global coronavirus pandemic on January 6, 2021. / CFP

The United States Capitol in Washington, DC was pierced by thousands of demonstrators during a “Stop the Steal” rally in support of Donald Trump during the global coronavirus pandemic on January 6, 2021. / CFP

Moreover, Trump’s influence over Republican candidates is overstated. He tends to support those who are likely to win their primary or general election anyway. Specifically, his hold over his base is unclear, as evidenced by the many followers who boo him publicly when he approves COVID-19 vaccines.

For these reasons, a scenario in which Trump (or one of his allies) is appointed president by the House of Representatives after the 2024 election likely falls into the realm of political thriller.

Now consider the unlikely event where Trump was appointed and won a clear electoral college or popular vote majority in 2024. Rather than establishing the White Nationalist dictatorship of progressive nightmares, a second-term senior Trump would most likely be a even more ineffective figurehead in a party dominated by mainstream Republicans than he was in its first four years. If Italian democracy could survive Silvio Berlusconi’s three terms as prime minister, American democracy can survive Trump’s two terms.

None of this suggests that American democracy is not under threat. Populist demagogues like Trump are symptoms of a disease of the body politic. The real threat to American democracy is the disconnect between what the bipartisan American political establishment promises and what it offers. This problem predates Trump by decades and helps explain his rise.

Contrary to what had been promised, globalization has not produced new and better jobs for most Americans in the high-tech “knowledge economy”. Instead, the United States has become dependent on China and other countries for basic manufactured goods, including drugs and medical equipment. Most of the job creation in the United States over the past three decades has been in low-paying positions with little or no benefits.

Likewise, in the 2000s, US financial elites argued that the “great moderation” of global macroeconomic volatility represented a permanent “new normal”. But it turned out to be dependent on the asset bubbles that burst, triggering the 2008 global financial crisis and the Great Recession that followed. And American interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya have produced nothing but outright failures or persistent quagmires.

Many of the architects of these colossal catastrophes went on to establish lucrative careers as respected experts. Few have suffered financial or reputational losses. When a national establishment fails so often and at such a cost, and when traditional media sources remain complicit in those failures, no one should be surprised if citizens turn to alternative media sources, including crazy sources, or fall back on them. turn to foreign politicians, including narcissistic demagogues like Trump.

Americans must be on their guard to prevent illegal and immoral attempts by corrupt politicians to alter election results. But the real long-term threat to American democracy is the popular lack of trust in mainstream politicians whose policies have repeatedly failed. And for this lack of public confidence, America’s elites have no one to blame but themselves.

Copyright: Project union, 2022.

(If you would like to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at opinions@cgtn.com.)


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