Former US President Donald Trump has a chip on his shoulder and its called Democratic America. With his recent announcement that he seeks to become the Republican party’s nominee for the 2024 US Presidential Election, Trump wants a comeback so badly, he will do anything to ensure his contenders in the Republican party step aside. But the greater danger here is that with nothing to lose, a second-term Trump could destroy America.
If his first term in the White House is any indication, Trump could wreak havoc both on the domestic and foreign levels. Michael Dimock and John Gramlich note in PewResearch that even before he took office in 2016, “Trump divided Republicans and Democrats more than any incoming chief executive in the prior three decades. The gap only grew more pronounced after he became president.”
In addition, according to Jeff Tollefson writing for Nature, Trump “exacerbated the pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 people in the United States, rolled back environmental and public-health regulations and undermined science and scientific institutions.”
Trump faces many more accusations of destroying America but Tom Nichols writes in The Atlantic that Trump destroyed one of the most important American virtues: seriousness, “our understanding that ideas, actions, and words matter.”
“The collapse of seriousness is the greatest loss we have sustained under Trump, one of the least serious human beings ever to occupy a position of great power in America,” Nichols laments. Indeed, most, if not all, of Trump’s press conferences were more similar to a comedy show than to a presidential appearance. Many of the things he said made many people cringe. A Trump return would bring laughter to the White House press room – but not in a good way.
On the foreign front, Trump reduced America to a laughingstock and brought shame and embarrassment upon the American people. Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Philip H. Gordon, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, have noted in Foreign Policy that Trump “abandoned multiple treaties and agreements, undermined the credibility of U.S. defense guarantees, bullied and belittled allies, and cozied up to dictators who threaten those allies and the United States.”
Trump took far-reaching decisions on policies that completely changed the American stance on important issues. He withdrew the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, banned travel from Muslim countries, renegotiated NAFTA, and left the Paris Agreement. He partially rolled back the Obama administration’s rapprochement with Cuba, and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. He pulled out of the Iran Nuclear Deal, known as the JCPOA, and withdrew the US from the UN Human Rights Council.
The disturbing prospect of Trump managing to reenter the White House as president has many people worried, but not necessarily only over his policies or his antics. Trump’s appointments in 2016, such as far-right extremist Steve Bannon, or his own daughter and son-in-law, made many Americans uncomfortable. A second-term Trump will likely bring in loyalists not fit for the job and this step would have a direct impact on his domestic and foreign affairs decisions – as we saw during his time in the White House.
Benjamin Waterhouse of the Miller Center notes “Trump’s selections for cabinet posts and senior-level advisors reflected a combination of traditional Republican political leaders and unconventional and inexperienced people who were personally loyal to Trump himself.”
But these weren’t the only issues. Trump’s Supreme Court appointments were worrying and he became the first president in history to be impeached twice. Trump also appeared to connect with many people with radical ideals. Waterhouse notes, “As a candidate and as president, Trump counted white nationalists, white supremacists, and other violent racist, xenophobic, and antisemitic organizations among his supporters.”
What has America worried now – and this includes Democrats as well as Republicans – is a Trump 2.0. A return by Trump to the Oval Office would bring division and controversy back to the surface. Americans would no longer be able to focus on the issues of the day. Rather, we will be subject to Trump’s daily shenanigans, self-promoting or insulting tweets, raucous press conferences and appearances, and just a general deterioration of American daily life as we know it.
America’s image abroad will suffer and foreign leaders and diplomats will once again laugh at America. Trump will bring shame to America as he ruins relationships with allies and befriends dictators.
Americans are worried about a Trump comeback and they should be. Trump will destroy America as we know it. He already started doing so in his first term. A second term will give him the opportunity to achieve his goal.