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The world cannot tolerate a second Trump term

Aug 09,2023 - Last updated at Aug 09,2023

Last week's court appearance by Donald Trump in Washington was his third in four months. He faces 44 federal charges and 34 state charges in three jurisdictions, the nation's capital, Miami and New York City. While he is the first ex-president to face criminal indictments and could end up in jail, he can continue his run for a second term and even serve if sentenced to a prison term. Commentators have suggested detention could be a problem because Trump is entitled to federal secret service detention during his lifetime. Would his guardians also have to go to prison?

In Washington, he stands accused of conspiring to overturn the 2020 election result and inciting his followers to riot at the Capitol building while Congress was certifying the election of Democrat Joe Biden.

In Miami, he was charged with retaining classified documents after leaving office and 

obstructing the federal investigation into this case.

In New York, he was arraigned on charges of falsifying company records and paying hush money to a porn star during his 2016 presidential campaign.

He may also have to appear before a grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, early next month in a separate case involving his efforts to change the election result in his favour in that state.

Trump has pleaded "not guilty" in the first three cases and accused the Justice Department of weaponising the legal system and persecuting him on behalf of his Republican party's Democrat rival ahead of the 2024 election. He insists he is a victim of a "witch hunt". The prosecutions enable Trump, the front runner by far in Republican party primaries, to maintain a high media profile in the campaign for the party’s nomination at the expense of other potential candidates. He does not mind the court appearances. Bad news as well as good news enables him to be the centre of attention.

Playing the victim (which he is not) empowers him within the Republican party is likely to win him the nomination and could give him the presidency.

Some opinion polls suggest Trump and Biden are tied while Ladbrokes betting odds firm gives the edge of Biden (34.8 per cent) over Trump (30.8 per cent). However, according to a New York Times poll Biden and Trump each would win 42 per cent of the vote next year. FiveThirtyEight, which combines poll ratings to come up with averages, Biden's national approval rating stands at 41.2 per cent and disapproval rating at 54.4 per cent. Trump has a 39.1 per cent approval rating and a 56.6 disapproval rating. 

Portraying himself as a victim goes down well with Trump's base. Part of his base consists of men (mainly) who consider themselves to be victims as, through no fault of their own, they have not realised the mythical "American Dream" by securing respect and prosperity. They have not attended university or attained professional qualifications. They are stuck in menial, semi-skilled and skilled jobs or have joined the ranks of the military or police. They blame their victimhood on established local, state and country elites who dominate the politico-economic scene and do not deliver the demands of voters. In many small towns and rural and industrial areas poor schools and scarce employment opportunities contribute to lack of advancement and deepen frustration. This prompts some to turn to crank conspiracy theorists and threaten or violence. The January 6th riot at the Capitol, for which Trump has been indicted, demonstrated their propensity for violence. Trump's refusal to admit that he is a "loser" by refusing to accept the result of the 2020 election appeals to this group, in particular, as its members do not want to be "losers". They admire the fact that Trump seems be psychologically unable to admit he has lost the election as his father insisted he should never be a "loser".

The larger part of Trump's constituency is made up of Evangelical Christians who care nothing about his bad behaviour as long has he sticks to the ultra-conservative agenda of the right-wing of the Republican party. This includes a ban on abortion and affirmative action which aids disadvantaged communities seeking university education and jobs and limits on immigration.

Both groups cling to white supremacy and favour redrawing electoral districts and engineering elections to exclude black and brown voters, the majority of whom are Democrats. Many of Trump’s followers do not follow news of his court cases and say they would vote for Trump despite legal perils.

In 2016, addressing a campaign rally in Sioux City, Iowa, before his election, Trump stated, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue [in New York City] and shoot somebody and I would not lose voters.” In response to his latest court appearance in Washington, a poll showed that 76 per cent of Republicans disapprove of the indictment over election interference and the January 6th attack on the Capitol. Another poll revealed that he enjoyed 54 per cent support among his party's primary voters while his nearest challenger Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had 17 per cent.

The world cannot tolerate a second Trump term. If he is re-elected, the overheating globe could face another four years of climate change denial and the refusal by the US, the world's second largest polluter, to compel its industries, businesses, homeowners and drivers to cut greenhouse gases and shift to green technologies. This would encourage other industrialised countries to follow suit, fuelling global warming.

Trump would also return to policies he imposed during this first term by withdrawing a second time from world-wide organisations and treaties to which Biden has returned. Having pulled out the US from the 2015 deal for limiting Iran's nuclear programme in exchange for lifting sanctions, Trump could join Israel in mounting a military campaign against Iran's nuclear facilities and chief military targets. This could risk a regional war although Iran and the Arabs have reconciled, promoting regional stability. While in office, Trump also banned Muslim visitors from the US, alienated China, dismissed NATO, and granted Israel its wishes at the expense of the Palestinians, deepening the conflict over possession of Palestine.

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