Not again

Former US president Donald Trump
AP Photo -
Former US president Donald Trump AP Photo -

DONALD TRUMP, who, more than any other figure in modern history destroyed ethical standards in public life, on Tuesday announced his bid to run for US president in 2024.

The announcement had been expected. But the mixed results of the recent midterms had suggested the wind behind his sails had abated.

The failure of a “red wave” to materialise didn’t make Mr Trump apply the brakes. Facts have never mattered to him.

He began his political career by spreading a racist lie about Barack Obama’s birth. And, up until Tuesday night, he had ended his career with a lie about the legitimacy of the 2020 election that unseated him.

Both lies would have marked rock-bottom for any other political figure. For a figure like Mr Trump, however, they were merely scratches on the surface of his immense depravity.

Mr Trump single-handedly rendered what was once politically incorrect politically acceptable. He legitimised, for many, the politics of demagogy.

Under him came the rhetoric of walls, the scenes of immigrant children in cages and the caustic dismissal of developing countries, including many US allies.

With Vladimir Putin breathing down the neck of Ukraine, Mr Trump tried to weaken Volodymyr Zelensky’s administration by threatening to withhold financial aid if Mr Zelensky did not engage in a witch hunt against Mr Trump’s foes.

For this, Mr Trump was impeached, but then cleared in the Senate thanks to his sycophantic colleagues. The same Republicans would again clear him when he was censured a second time, this time for matters closer to home.

Mr Trump incited a deadly coup attempt in the US Capitol. He approved calls for his vice president to be hanged. Later, he defended the rioters, just has he had once defended racist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.

When covid19 emerged, America was caught relatively unprepared. Mr Trump banned some flights, then went on to underestimate the threat.

Yet, more than 74 million Americans voted for him that very year. It took the most votes ever cast in a US presidential election to defeat him.

On Tuesday, it was clear the world is in store for more of the same, if not worse, if Mr Trump returns. Even his campaign promise to “make America great again” is unchanged.

But if Mr Trump has not altered, the world has.

This time around, he is not an unknown quantity. His party has also thrown up many plausible alternatives such as Ron DeSantis of Florida and Liz Cheney of Wyoming.

Americans have also seen the results of Mr Trump’s machinations, such as his rush to pack the Supreme Court with anti-abortionists.

The recent defeat, albeit by slender margins, of authoritarian figures such as Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, and Ukraine’s taking the upper hand in the ongoing war, suggest the wind is not blowing in the direction Mr Trump hopes.


"Not again"

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