Opinion

Will there be a second coming of Donald Trump?

President Donald Trump at a 2016 rally in Kenansville. (CJ photo by Don Carrington)
President Donald Trump at a 2016 rally in Kenansville. (CJ photo by Don Carrington)

The recent American election in November 2020 may have put a new president in the White House, but there was little settled on the political and social landscape. Approximately 79 million people voted for Donald Trump. However, a majority of Republican voters believed the election contained irregularities. This included things such as fraud related to mailed ballots, as well as voting by undocumented immigrants and deceased persons. True or not, the perception is enough to cement loyalty to the former president from these legions of voters.

Impeachment and its legality

Donald Trump was only the third president ever to be impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives. He is the only one to ever be impeached twice. Impeachment of the president does not mean immediate removal from office. It opens the president for charges by the House and trial by the Senate. The second impeachment of Trump was merely symbolic, since he was already out of office. Additionally, the U.S. Constitution does not allow for it. The House of Representatives held the second impeachment vote after having accused Trump of inciting a riot. This was related to his January 6, 2021 rally in Washington, DC. Alan Dershowitz, retired Harvard Law professor and legal scholar, has stated that the speech given by Trump was considered protected speech. Many in the Democratic Party, and others on the left, had hoped to discredit the former president. They desired to send him into political retirement. Subsequently, his recent announcement to seek the presidency again in 2024 have temporarily torpedoed that hope.

Silencing on social media

Donald Trump is banned from Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The oversight board at Facebook reached a decision to uphold the ban on Trump. This may not cause his supporters to close their accounts. Nevertheless, it could make them consider how much time they spend on each platform. The reduction of posting and traffic by millions of people may be felt in some revenue loss by these media companies.

Keeping his name in the news

One medium still going in the favor of the former president is television. Any public appearance by Donald Trump is sure to attract national and local stations to cover the event. Print media and online news sites will certainly give details of what Trump is doing in public. The speech he gave at the North Carolina Republican Convention on June 5 is an example of how he can continue to receive attention from the media.

Talk radio to the rescue

Talk radio will be instrumental in getting his message out to the people. Secondly, most radio talk show hosts in the U.S. are conservative and tend to get behind Republican Party candidates. The late Rush Limbaugh was a big Trump ally.  Two of the most popular conservative radio hosts are Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity. They will be able to keep the comments and opinions of Trump fresh on the minds of voters.

Those willing to kiss the ring

Kissing the ring of a monarch throughout history was a sign of respect and submission to their authority. It would seem that Trump commands this grip over much of the Republican Party for the time being. This could change over the next three years. Nevertheless, the midterm election next year means these Republican candidates need his endorsement. They believe this is necessary to take back control of the House of Representatives, and possibly the Senate. Trump still remains extremely popular among rank and file Republican voters. So, there is little question among Republican members of Congress as to which direction the political winds are blowing.

Dealing with party dissent

The first Republican leader ousted was Liz Cheney, a Congresswoman from the state of Wyoming. She was the chairperson for the House Republican Conference. This made her the third most powerful Republican in the House. Additionally, Cheney is the daughter of Richard “Dick” Cheney. Her father served as the vice-president for two terms under George W. Bush. She often voted for bills President Trump supported. Aside from that, Cheney voted against Trump in the second impeachment. Her replacement by a staunch Trump supporter, Elise Stefanik, sends a clear message to other challengers within the party. Cheney will retain her seat in the House of Representatives. However, it is thought that Donald Trump will work to unseat her in the party primary elections next year.

Maintaining relevance

The former president must go from state to state, campaigning for Republican candidates. At both the national and state levels, it will solidify his hold on the party and keep him relevant to the voters. Being banned from social media will not have as strong of an impact if he is able to end up on the daily news feed. Many words, positive and negative, have been used to describe Donald Trump. Boring never seems to be one of them.

Ben Goodman is an educator who holds MA & BA degrees, both in History. A native North Carolinian, he has lived and worked in South Korea, Malaysia, and Indonesia.