It says much about Donald Trump’s presidency that it’s not a surprise it has ended with an attempted coup. Since he lost the election, he has convinced himself, and his supporters that he did, in fact, win it — by a landslide. Now that Donald Trump has incited his supporters to storm Capitol Hill, America finds itself with a massive dilemma. What to do about Donald Trump?
He — and the die-hard movement he has created — represent a genuine danger to American democracy. The decisions that are taken to manage the democratic crisis the country finds itself in could shape America and the world, forever.
The American government has two choices, charge Trump with inciting violence, and if found guilty place him in prison. Or, don’t charge him and once he steps down as president (or is removed if Mike Pence invokes the 25th amendment), he becomes a citizen once more. Both options present issues. The battle to save American democracy has begun.
Many Trump supporters have become convinced they are part of a crusade to save America. Trump is a symbol of hope against a tyranny that seeks to destroy American values and their freedom. Such is the belief of some of his supporters; they’re willing to storm parliament for the cause. While Joe Biden has labelled them domestic terrorists, in the eyes of Trump supporters, these are patriots. An army of crusaders standing up for and defending American values.
The great irony is that while Trump has tyrannical ambitions, his supporters believe America is under threat from a tyranny they are trying to save it from. That is how brainwashed and misinformed the movement has become — they are unable to see they represent the tyranny that threatens American values. And Trump encourages and incites them, further hardening the view that he is not a tyrant at all. He is a freedom fighter, looking to defend America from the threat it faces.
Imagine then Trump does face charges for inciting violence. If found guilty and sent to prison, Trump will become a martyr to his adoring supporters. Worse, it will make them even more convinced of the conspiracy against Trump. That he did win the election and that the threat to destroy the America they love is real.
It’s easy to forget that over 74 million people voted for him a few months ago to remain president. He has a lot of support in the country, and many of these supporters will feel it is an injustice if he is in prison. Which could inflame the Trump movement and make them even more united and determined to fight the apparent tyranny they’re facing.
Trump walks free
On the other hand, if Donald Trump walks free after stepping down as president, what next? Trump can use the wealth at his disposal to begin a campaign for the next presidential election, in earnest.
Worse, by letting him walk free, it sets a dangerous precedent because Donald Trump has undermined the democratic process. As such, by letting him walk free without any recriminations, it would justify his actions. Stoking the fires of his support base who would feel justified in having stormed Capitol Hill in the first place.
If they did it once, who’s to say they won’t do it again?
And it is because his supporters believe they are part of a patriotic army that it is so dangerous if Trump doesn’t face charges for inciting violence.
As soon as he can, Trump will look to hold rallies, to make sure momentum isn’t lost. You imagine his rallies will garner massive support encompassing his die-hard supporters.
By not charging Trump, the movement will become even more hardened, determined and emboldened to defend the America they fear is under threat by groups such as Black Lives Matter.
A divisive character
Whatever the American government does, they run the risk of inciting and emboldening the Trump movement. That’s why it’s such a dangerous situation because whatever happens, the threat posed by Trump’s movement is not going to go away.
Donald Trump has always been a danger, yet he played up to the idea of being a bit cooky. Someone who says off the wall things, but, generally there’s been a perception he’s harmless. When Trump said how much he liked the sound of being a leader for life, everyone thought he was joking. Well, the joke is on us, because he has always been deadly serious. And, this is no longer a laughing matter.
Trump is ruthlessly determined and ambitious to take back power, by any means necessary. And now Trump has played his hand; it appears America has little option but to force recriminations against him. He might have escaped punishment for the other pending court cases, but this one is black and white. He incited a crowd of protestors to storm parliament, and for that, he must face punishment.
The tragedy of the events playing out is that the American people lose out through this divisive, hateful individual.
Trump has worked to divide America like no one else before him. In radicalising a large section of society, he’s polarised America into two camps that are stretching further apart with each day.
The Trump show
The worst thing of all is Trump doesn’t care about those in his patriotic army that face lengthy jail terms for storming Capitol Hill. Most of all, Trump doesn’t care about America. Trump cares about Trump. So consumed by the delusion he is the most extraordinary person alive, everyone that supports him merely serves a purpose to keep him in power.
This is the most dangerous thing of all about what’s happening. Trump does not care about making America great again; he never has. He cares about becoming infamous and writing himself into history. The only way he can do that is by inciting hatred and dividing the country further then he already has.
In the current climate with America so divided, and with a man who has ambitions to rule by any means possible, it’s not hard to imagine tensions escalating into violence. Particularly as Black Lives Matter and Donald Trump supporters are becoming further entrenched in their respective camps.
Each feels the other is a threat to the ideals of America. In this climate, the outbreak of a civil war is not some far fetched radical notion, it is a distinct possibility.
What you can be sure off is that this is not the last we have heard of Trump. If he doesn’t go to prison, every rally he organises will be laced with tension and could be a recipe for the situation to escalate out of control.
The fear is that America’s democracy may not survive the threat he and the movement behind him pose to it. The majority of Americans who believe in tolerance, solidarity and compassion must stand together against this threat. If they do not, then hatred may well overwhelm America, and the wannabe tyrant could get his wish of ruling America for life.