The anxiety over Donald Trump’s possible re-election as president hovers like the prospect of a recurring bout of near-fatal cancer.
Of course, this brewing unease will only build and intensify as the world confronts another US presidential vote, now less than 35 months away.
That Trump, predictably, still exerts absolute sovereignty over a Republican Party which, today, embodies every diseased aspect of his sick personality and modus operandi is one cause of this stubborn worry.
The other? Millions of myopic – I am being charitable – Americans continue to support, with an evangelical fervour, a crass, calculating charlatan who, since his persuasive defeat more than a year ago, has slipped further into madness and a thicket of crazed conspiracy theories.
Trump ought to be in a hospital or, preferably, in the dock. But, as I have explained, historical precedent and Attorney General Merrick Garland’s unforgivable delinquency, will likely save him from being charged and possibly convicted for his catalogue of blatant violations of a constitution he swore to preserve and defend.
Unlike his hapless confederates, Trump has exploited a lifelong ability to slither from being held to stiff, tangible account. This means that he will, in all likelihood, be the Republican nominee for president in 2024 with a better than good chance of occupying the White House once again – unless the inevitabilities and vagaries of time intervene.
If he prevails on November 5, 2024, the consequences for America’s future and the planet’s fate should be apparent to anyone not blinded by the ignorance and intolerance that defines Trump and his familiar (and somewhat surprising) legion of “liberal”-despising acolytes and apologists.
The already irreparable damage and harm that this rank, but capable, demagogue has exacted on enlightened America and the rest of sentient life on earth stand as a blunt harbinger of the alarming scope and significance of the damage and harm to come.
As president, Trump enabled, encouraged and applauded not just rhetorical but violent attacks against citizens and institutions he has denounced as treasonous for being obstacles to or having thwarted his loony designs and actions, culminating in the January 6 insurrection – yes, insurrection, not “riot” or “protest gone awry” – on Capitol Hill.
Too many, for too long, were hesitant – out of polite deference to the “office of the presidency” or a reckless aversion to the truth – to acknowledge publicly that, by his ugly words and deeds, the former and perhaps the 47th US president remains an unabashed fascist.
The querulous “debate” about Trump’s fascist credentials should, by now, be a quaint and amusing anachronism.
Fuelled by an abiding sense of grievance and resentment, Herr Trump has confirmed in plain view – again and again – that he intends to complete the ruinous job he and his equally venal co-conspirators began in 2016. (By the way, if my use of “Herr” offends, you have not, sadly, been paying attention to Trump’s repulsive, strongman-inspired behaviour before and after he rode down an escalator to announce his original candidacy for president.)
What rational, benevolent people consider the aim of “governing” is anathema to Trump. As such, the sole purpose of Trump as Godfather part II will be to satisfy this seething narcissist’s appetite to avenge the phantom wrongs committed against him by his enemies – wherever they exist – with a Mafioso’s brutish disregard for decency and the rule of law.
The so-called “guardrails” that were designed to inhibit Trump’s or any other authoritarian president’s disfiguring thirst for revenge have also, by now, been reduced to a quaint and amusing anachronism.
Court-approved gerrymandering and Democrats’ congenital tepidness and ineptness have combined, it appears, to translate into Republicans re-taking the House of Representatives after the 2022 mid-term elections.
The Republican Party has proven that it is populated and led by lunatics, in the prostrate service of lunatics – inside and outside the agreeable, reality-allergic studios of Fox News.
This, coupled with a Trump-stacked Supreme Court, including presidential-power-absolutists like Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, should disabuse the gullible of the notion that “responsible” adults will act as a white-knight-like “break” on their dear leader if he returns to the Oval Office.
Beyond the daily, grinding dose of chaos and bedlam, Trump – the sequel – will inevitably result in a broad, systemic assault on the on-life-support remnants of what can generously be described as US “democracy”.
Like all upstanding fascists, Trump and his clan are fans of “democracy” when they win. When Trump and his clan lose, they are no longer fans of “democracy”. So they have gone about fixing it to ensure that the fix is indeed in – particularly among swing states – by making it even harder for (Democratic) voters to vote.
Like all upstanding fascists, Trump and his clan plan to steal the next presidential election – legally – with or without the help of a marauding army of MAGA-hat-and-flag-waving thugs who claim, as well, to pledge solemn allegiance, with hand on heart, to the US Constitution.
Meanwhile, a gaggle of lapsed “progressive” journalists has penned pedantic, pay-to-read missives decrying the “liberal” media for working in cahoots with the FBI to tar Trump as a made-in-Moscow fifth columnist. Oh, dear: poor, aggrieved fascist.
If they believe this piece is evidence that I am a “liberal” patsy too, then I plead guilty. (Although my columns about George W Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, among others, offer a rebuttal to this lazy “thinking”.)
Still, in the cockeyed calculus of these insufferable, past-their-best-before-date “progressives”, Trump’s transgressions and indiscretions are picayune when compared with his predecessors’ charge sheets.
Give him time, ladies and gentlemen, give him time.
Four more years of Trump as commander-in-chief, surrounded by dauphins and sycophants and unperturbed by any political or humanitarian constraints, is a prescription for not only an existential threat to America’s constitutional republic but to human existence.
This is not hyperbole.
Trump and his Congressional allies consider the accelerating threat posed by climate change to be a hoax.
The gains, however modest and grudging, made at the recent UN-sponsored climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland, will, I suspect, be immediately undone by Trump – with the approval of his fossil-fuel-addicted disciples who are convinced that snowballs are proof that the planet is not heating exponentially.
Trump’s denials have injured many people in many ways. He denies facts. He denies losing. He denies the lethality of a mutating virus. He denies the efficacy of masks. He denies violating scores of women. He denies paying hush money to his paramours. He denies being a Proud-Boy-adoring white supremacist.
And, finally, Trump denies climate change – this may turn out to be the most calamitous denial of all.