By Greg Pence
Trump’s return to politics is becoming more serious every day, and this is not just an empty slogan or an unnecessary concern, but there are clear signs that the forty-fifth president of the United States intends to be the forty-seventh president. In fact, Trump himself and his supporters are deeply disappointed that he, like most American presidents, was not re-elected for the second consecutive term. They will, however, not give up until they make him the president again. Donald Trump has not yet publicly and explicitly announced his willingness for running for president. Nonetheless, what is taking place in US politics implicates that after the midterm elections in 2022 he will announce his running for president.
Virginia was one of the few states whose governor election was held a year before the midterm elections and the Republican and more importantly Trump-backed candidate Glenn Youngkin defeated his Democrat opponent. Nominated for governor for the first time, governor Youngkin gained the most votes in the history of the state elections in Virginia. This is while only a year ago in the presidential election the state voted for Joe Biden.
The candidate’s slogans focused on tax cuts and daily expenses which were welcomed by the public. This is interesting and important because it shows that the majority of voters are concerned about their livelihood and are willing to choose a candidate that reflects the real needs of society and offers solutions to them.
In the same vein, the livelihood slogans alongside the victory of Donald Trump’s candidate are a wake-up call for Democrats as well as traditional Republicans. This means that American society is dominated by populism and that Trump’s social base and Trumpism in the United States are still strong.
The point that Trump and his supporters are well aware of, and the recent Virginia election showed, is that they have been able to make practical political use of it. The current situation could lead to the growth of the so-called “swing states” in different elections so that each state chooses candidates based solely on superficial but attractive slogans. This issue can make the election process extremely unpredictable and reduce the role of parties.
Trump’s behavior is also ambiguous and contradictory in the midst of US political developments. On the one hand, he questions the democratic mechanisms and doubts the accuracy of the results obtained during the electoral process, and on the other hand, he tries to bring people close to him to power by relying on the same mechanisms. Trump is finally trying to appear like a phoenix and a savior in 2024, given the desperation of the Biden administration.
The noteworthy point about the upcoming 2024 presidential election is that politics in the United States is weakening and collapsing. Politics and related affairs have declined in the United States to such an extent that even political dwarfs on both sides have taken over, and there is no alternative to current Republican and Democratic leaders. In other words, even if all Republicans unanimously oppose Trump and try to prevent him from running in the 2024 election, they will not have anyone as an alternative who can lead the party and increase the chances of the Republicans winning the 2024 election.
To put it more clearly, the profound problem that the US political structure suffers from is the severe weakness of the US elite circulation system. This weakness has led to the fact that, contrary to what is claimed, power is only available to a limited number of people. At present, the leadership of Congress and the White House is in the hands of old politicians that have no logical connection with their predecessors.
What is happening now in the Republican camp is a kind of “political checkmate”. Due to structural weakness and outdated party strategies, it is not practically possible to ignore Trump as a candidate with the potential to mobilize the public, and Republicans cannot offer a stronger alternative. The Republican Party has not allowed the growth of new forces and new ideas and the young people who have grown up in the party structure and hierarchy only repeat the old ideas of the party leaders. Thus, it is not surprising that in such populist nonsense a showman like Trump takes power and determines the political directions for the party.
In other words, by being in the media spotlight for years as well as the president of the United States, Trump has gained so much political and social capital that he can easily challenge any candidate, republican or democrat. Trump is reluctant to leave the party and form a new party or run independently in the election, despite all the threats and controversy he has created. He is well aware of the fact that a number of his supporters endorse him only because he is a Republican candidate and promotes the party’s principles. Even if we accept the assumption that Trump has a place in all Republican voters’ hearts, it would still be a very big gamble for Trump to leave the party and become an independent candidate.
Another important point in this regard is the inherent flaws of the American bipartisan structure that do not allow the emergence of a serious third political rival. Other parties, such as the Libertarian Party, have always been ineffective and do not even have the capacity to get serious media coverage. These conditions have forced people to join one of the two parties and, of course, to accept its restrictions, and in practice have taken away the freedom of action from political forces.
After the midterm elections, it will be clear whether Trump, who presents himself as another system and element disrupting the existing unjust order, can ride the current of Trumpism and respond to macro-structural crises such as systemic social inequality, immigration crisis, climate crisis, and oligarchic domination of politics, as well as the dysfunctions and inefficiencies of the political system and the weakness of the Biden government and, tries his luck for the presidency again.
*Greg Pence is an international studies graduate of University of San Francisco.