Four years of Trump’s hatred of the left, encouragement of violence, and ignorance of the Constitution has led to chaos on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. As Congress was certifying the results of the 2020 election, Trump supporters flooded Capitol Hill maskless and armed in an attempt to fix the supposed corruption of the election that saw Joe Biden as its victor instead of Donald Trump. Rioters stormed the building, replacing American flags with Trump ones, perfectly exemplifying the priorities of Trump’s loyal followers. Donald Trump’s anti-political attitude has empowered a mass of one-minded white people to feel justified breaking and entering into Capitol Hill with no fear of repercussion from law enforcement. Consequently, several of his supporters managed to make their way to the floor of the Senate, one going as far as sitting in Vice President Pence’s seat moments after the senators evacuated. While people may argue that roaming the Capitol is a justified protest because of a corrupt election, this act of terror not only undermines the security of the United States, but the authority of the democratic process. However, there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud like Trump and his supporters claim. These baseless conspiracy theories are not justified means for interrupting a constitutional process and vandalizing, destroying, and stealing government property.
Despite the pro-Trump rioters inciting chaos, it is evident that Trump supporters are not receiving the same treatment as those of Black Lives Matter activists. Given recent video footage of police officers taking selfies with the rioters, and lack of order when it came to protecting the Capitol, viewers across the nation saw the blatant biases of law enforcement and who they choose to protect. Despite the urgency of racial equality and the desperate pleas for fixing systemic racism, Trump supporters’ terroristic behavior at Capitol Hill paints a larger picture of which issues matter more in our nation. Donald Trump’s refusal to urge his supporters to stand down further proves his dismissal of democracy. Trump’s Twitter rages and denial of the election results led to this dangerous attempt at a coup. These rioters fueled by conspiracy theories are the perfect culmination of years of fascist rhetoric and tactics that prove that Trump is the most dangerous president in American history, empowering groups of people to ignore facts and commit acts of violence. However, this heinous scene did not come out of nowhere; this buildup of angry Trump supporters was an explosion waiting to happen. Getting to this point of Trump’s dying presidency can be easily analyzed from the beginning of his campaign.
The Reality Star President
From cameos in “Home Alone 2” (1992), “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” (1994), and hosting his reality TV show, “The Apprentice,” (2004) to serving as the 45th President of the United States of America, Donald Trump’s career has consistently remained in the limelight. The 2016 presidential election proved to be historic, with the man who seemed to be the least qualified candidate on the debate stage winning millions of votes and the electoral college. Yet President Trump’s unprecedented success did not last for the 2020 election in which President-elect Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in an electoral landslide. However, Donald Trump, his administration, and a majority of his followers are not accepting the defeat without a fight. President Trump’s ability to manipulate the legitimacy of the biggest election in American democracy is fundamental for illustrating his rise to power, the reason why he still has millions of supporters, and how a second Trump term would threaten democracy.
In Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, his principal tactic was portraying his opponents as liars and crooks while painting himself as the only candidate who could fix the supposed corruption of traditional politicians. Disillusioned by career politicians in the White House, many Americans found Trump’s message appealing. His followers wanted a fresh start, a businessman who knew what he was all about. Soon, Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again merchandise filled the streets of the United States. Despite his questionable history of derogatory remarks towards women, repeated million dollar business failures, avid distrust of the media, and lack of transparency with the nation, his followers supported him nonetheless. Thus, the potential for anyone, regardless of political experience, to throw themselves into the ring of presidential candidates was born. Trump’s campaign challenged perceptions of American democracy, revealing loopholes and weaknesses.
Donald Trump is supposed to be a man of the Constitution, seemingly upholding the true beliefs that his followers claim they stand for. However, Trump’s leadership has repeatedly demonstrated parallels to fascism. He has reshaped the Republican party as a whole and ignited a revolution among those who found their voices through him. Through his rapid accumulation of voters, Make America Great Again soon developed into a cultish breed of angry Americans who take Trump’s words as gospel. Aware of his followers’ loyalty, Trump boasted in 2016 that he could “shoot somebody” and his polls would remain unaffected. This recognition of power Trump holds and brags about is daunting in that he shows the nation he is untouchable, above the law. Further abusing his influence on those who listen to him, Donald Trump disregards the integrity of presidential legitimacy.
For a man elected to uphold the Constitution, Donald Trump is anti-democratic when situations are not in his favor. Despite him being a president for all Americans, he focuses on villainizing the left, creating a division between the parties. Most recently, Donald Trump was declaring victory in the 2020 Presidential election despite the fact that he lost. His refusal to concede makes him look more like an authoritarian trying to keep his personal power from crumbling apart, contradicting the democratic process that elected him into office in the first place. The president calling the voting process rigged undermines the legitimacy of American elections by instilling mass skepticism in his millions of loyal followers which may ultimately threaten the integrity of future elections. Trump’s egoistic personality is the underlying cause for his failure to concede and the reason why many of his followers believe that Donald Trump actually won the election, totally disregarding the legality of the states’ consensus on their reported votes. Much like any fascist administration, Trump’s authoritarianism is dividing the country through lies and fear, encouraging his followers to be skeptical of the government — the very government that is in his hands. In comparison to Donald Trump’s refusal to concede, one of Hitler’s strategies to remain in power was boasting about his reign lasting a millennium, thus marking the birth of the Nazi’s “Thousand-Year Reich.” Concerningly, Donald Trump’s failure to accept defeat, his allusion to running again in 2024, and his negotiating a third-term presidency when he believed he would win his reelection resemble fascist strategies. While not admitting defeat is a major issue in the threat to democracy, this is not the only example in which he has shown disregard for our nation’s principles.
Donald Trump is anti-media except when it comes to positive coverage, only endorsing right-wing media like Fox News as reliable. Even then, Fox News’s credibility is on thin ice with liberal voters as they continue to fill their platform with baseless conspiracy theories about Democrats. However, despite Fox News’ dying credibility, Trump’s followers absorb Fox News’s reporting as truth, denying the validity of any other form of media. Interestingly, this trust among Trump supporters of Fox News has been collapsing in recent weeks since Fox called the 2020 election for Joe Biden. The fragility of Fox’s reputation for Trump and his supporters’ standards further showcases Trump’s approval of media groups who
only provide positive coverage of him. The invalidation of the media in general is alarming, discrediting and removing journalists from society gives governmental dominance. For example, in Nazi Germany, Hitler ordered that all books opposing Nazi ideologies be burned, newspapers to be run out of business, and radio/movies became an instrument for Nazi propaganda. Trump’s war with the free press is alarming, and his relationship with the media who endorse him positively is another step in fascist dominance. As Americans, being unable to criticize those in power without seeking repercussions goes against one of the pillars of America’s foundation of the Constitution, the First Amendment. Donald Trump’s inability to defend it needs to be examined vigilantly.
In a further attempt to control public opinion, Donald Trump endorses anti-democratic propaganda with his fear-mongering tweets about the “radical left” and how Democrats want a socialist government. Like many historical fascist regimes, eroding the free press is detrimental to democratic institutions. Consequently, journalism is on thin ice with the public as a result of Donald Trump’s FAKE NEWS propaganda in the core of his platform, campaign rallies, and social media as an agenda to discredit those who are against him. This is dangerous for media outlets everywhere — fear implanted by a major news corporation with the encouragement of the president is exactly how power remains sustained. With right-wing media assistance giving him a platform to reassure his supporters that the election is rigged, the political unity in America remains hanging by a thread.
It is hard to believe that these factors will change anything for his current supporters. In regard to present-day issues, COVID-19 showed the nation that we are more divided than ever. Trump’s rhetoric promotes ignoring scientists and disregarding relevant public health measures, while Democrats encourage American citizens to follow CDC protocols. America is facing the consequences of Trump’s divisive attitude. Denying and censoring data and misleading the public with misinformation about the severity of the virus is part of Trump’s authoritarian characteristics. If Trump had taken the correct protocols from the beginning, added a sense of security in the United States while handling the virus, and listened to the scientists from the very beginning, he may have had a greater shot at winning the 2020 election. However, despite his loss, plenty of Donald Trump’s supporters remain in denial of his defeat.
Donald Trump’s supporters remain loyal, so it does not matter that he continues to lie to the country about the severity of COVID-19, and continues to undermine our democracy by insisting that he won the 2020 Presidential Election. If Donald Trump continues to have a platform, loyal followers, and a sense of entitlement after Joe Biden’s inauguration, the United States may be in for some trouble. Undeniably, Trump has authority in his supporters’ lives and the recent skepticism of voter fraud implanted in his followers shows that Donald Trump should not be taken seriously. However, the normalization of his behaviors will be the demise of our democracy. His constant inability to take criticism from the media or his peers shows the pitfalls of ego and personality cults. The way he encourages violence against his opponents and the Democratic Party, as well as his lack of confidence in our democratic institutions has caused damage that will last generations of administrations. His authoritarian character needs to be held accountable in order to rebuild the nation’s credibility. Fascist tendencies are at the root of Donald Trump’s persona. Whether he admits it or not, his strategies resemble those of infamous dictators such as Hitler or Stalin. This, of course, is not to say that the President of the United States is a fascist, but it does go to say that as American citizens, we need to criticize those in power when they abuse their platform. It is interesting to think of a post-Trump America, but wearying to think of how we will pick up the pieces of our damaged democracy. Truthfully, as long as Donald Trump uses his public platform and as long as our nation remains divided, democracy remains jeopardized. Our job as American citizens now is to see how this all unfolds, and to attempt to permanently stop Trump’s dangerous influence.
Categories: Domestic Affairs