I, either optimistically or naïvely, have wished to dismiss that possibility for some time, hoping against the odds that a Biden second run might mean Trump would never return to office again. However, as Martin Wlf (and The Economist) points out, there is now sufficient polling data coming out of the US to suggest that this possibility has to be taken seriously.As Martin Wolf suggests, and with which I agree, Trump would overturn democracy in the USA, in the process turning the country into an autocracy. He would, in particular, end the tradition of civil service independence in that country and in the process use the powers of state to pursue his own agenda, including against those who he thinks have stood in his path when seeking a return to power. The rule of law would be replaced, in other words.
What Martin Wolf does not suggest is that Trump would make the US a fascist state, but I think he is simply being too subtle by not doing so when that, very obviously, is the case. He would, if he was re-elected president run the USA in the interest of selected corporate interests, and it seems that for reasons that are very hard (for me, at least) to understand that a significant part of the Republican movement in that country now supports his desire to do just that.
The issues arising from this are, however, much bigger than for the US alone. There we have to worry about the rights of just about every group in US who have ever been prejudiced, from women to black people, the Hispanic community, the LGBTQ+ community, and so many more. For all of them, the prospect of a Trump presidency coupled with the far-right evangelical Christian agenda now being seen from House Speaker, Michael Johnson, is so frightening that we should worry too.
Meanwhile, Trump would also backtrack on every commitment to tackling climate change.
There is no certainty that he would support Ukraine.
It is almost certain that he would give a free hand to Netanyahu.
And, in the event that Iran becomes more aggressive, I think it is quite reasonable to think that so would Trump in response, with the potential for an escalation which does not bear thinking about.
To not be too unsubtle about this, because there is no reason for subtlety on this issue, Trump poses the most enormous threat to the world, and it is simply staggering that the person who the US is relying upon to hold back Trump is Joe Biden. Whatever the strengths and weaknesses of Biden's time in office, and whatever his achievements in the past, it is glaringly apparent that Biden is now too old to serve another term in office. His frailties are already evident, and whilst that is nothing to be ashamed of, they can only assist Trump's campaign, which is a gift to it that neither Biden nor anyone else should consider making.
I never wanted to imagine a Trump return. I hoped (maybe I still do hope) that some form of legal action might prevent him from standing, but the risk that Trump will now return is a threat to us all that cannot be overstated.
What we now need now are champions of democracy. In this country, we have Keir Starmer.
That does not relieve my sense of ill-ease.
Only one thing does. That, rather surprisingly, is abortion. The Republicans are cracking down on it. American women want to save their right to it and are turning out to do so, as results in Ohio and elsewhere proved this week. The increased turnout to save abortion rights might just save the world from Trump. But that's how close democracy is to failing.
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