America’s comeback starts right now
– Donald Trump
Trump 2.0- Unfinished Business?
Donald John Trump, the former president of the United States of America formally announced his presidential bid to the White House election campaign on November 15th 2022 and also filed his statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission.
Declaring his campaign from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida he took a direct jibe at the present American President- Joe Biden stating that his tenure has ushered in an era of decline for the Americans. He promised to make America great again and ensured that the current President should not get another “four years”.
This makes him the fifth ex-president to seek a second non-consecutive term. If he is successful in recapturing the White House, this makes him the second resident to win a non-consecutive term, after Grover Cleveland. Following his controversial presidential tenure he still remains to be an polarizing figure yet impactful candidate in the US political scenario.
Background- A Tale of Foundation
Trump was born on the 14th of July 1946 to Fred Trump and Mary Anne MacLeod. He is an American politician and businessman. He inherited his father’s real-estate business and became its president in 1971. He later renamed the business to the Trump Organization.
Trump has always emphasized that he started his career with “a small loan of a million dollars” from his father and that he had to pay it back to him with interest.
He served as the 45th American President from 2017-2021. He won the 2016 Presidential elections against the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton while losing popular vote.
Mr. Trump is currently the hot topic as he is the subject of three criminal cases- at a time when he is aiming for a second comeback to the White House. But would these allegations restrict him from being the Republican nominee? The chances are near zero. If at all Trump lands himself in jail he would only be following in the footsteps of another populist presidential candidate- Eugene V. Debs- a socialist, who received nearly a million votes while in prison.
Trump’s Political Evolution: Exploring Ideological Transformation
Trump’s political leanings have changed a lot over the past years. He first registered as a Republican in 1987. Then he became a member of the Independence Party, the New York state affiliate of the Reform Party in 1999. In 2001, he registered as a Democrat, in 2009 as a Republican. He remained unaffiliated in 2011 and again registered as a Republican in 2012.
During the 2016 presidential campaign his provocative statements earned him a lot of media coverage. He was termed “truthful hyperbole” by his ghost storywriter Tony Schwartz. He announced his candidacy in 2015 but it was never taken seriously until he quickly rose on top of the opinion polls. He became the front runner in March 2016 and was declared the tentative Republican nominee in May. He was inaugurated to office on January 20th 2017 and became the first US president with no prior military or government service.
Trump’s Legacy: Tax Reform, Climate Change, and Immigration Controversies
In December 2017 he signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 which reduced tax rates for businesses and individuals. It aimed at business tax cuts to be permanent and individual tax cuts set to expire after 2025. It also eliminated the penalty associated with the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. The Act was aimed to increase tax revenues or pay for itself by prompting economic growth. The Trump administration had promised to eliminate national debt in eight years but it increased by 39%. He also failed to deliver the $1 trillion infrastructure spending plan on which he had campaigned. He was also the first US president to leave office with a smaller workforce than when he took office.
In June 2017, he announced the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement, making the US the only nation in the world not to ratify the agreement. He also aimed to boost the production and export of fossil fuels. In January 2017, he signed the Executive Order 13771. The order directed that for every new regulation, the federal agencies should identify two existing regulations for elimination, though it did not require elimination. He also did away with many regulations on health, labor and environment. He also barred organizations that provided abortions and also rolled back many rights against the discrimination of the LGBTQ people.
On 27th January 2017, he signed the Executive Order 13769, which suspended the admission of refugees for 120 days. It also denied the citizens of Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Syria and Sudan entry for 90 days without prior warning which caused a lot of confusion. After a lot of deliberations, on the 24th of September 2017, travel was restricted from the originally targeted countries except Iraq and Sudan. It also banned travelers from North Korea and Chad and also certain Venezuelan officials. The Supreme Court further allowed the September version to go into full effect on December 4th 2017. It ultimately upheld the travel ban in a June 2019 ruling.
The Trump government also separated more than 5400 children from their parents at the US-Mexico border. In April 2018, the Trump government also announced a “zero tolerance” policy where every adult suspected of illegal entry would be criminally prosecuted. This led to migrant adults being put in detention for prosecution, while their children were separated from them. The Trump administration was also slow to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent crises that followed. The administration was highly criticized for the same.
Trump’s Potential Resurrection to Power- A SWOT Perspective
Though Trump has been ranked by scholars and historians as one of the worst presidents of the United States, he still has a stronghold on the Republican Party. He has a loyal support base, which is ready to do or die for him. His populist appeal and use of populist symbols attracts a lot of his support base who otherwise feel alienated by the traditional politicians. His provocative and provoking statements give him a lot of media coverage which has earlier worked in his favor.
Trump is the only American president to be impeached twice. In 2019, he tried to pressure Ukraine to investigate Biden, which led to his impeachment in December by the House of Representatives for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. He was also acquitted by the Senate in February 2020. He was impeached for the second time by the House in January 2021, for inciting insurrection. He was acquitted by the Senate in the next month.
For Trump, the only advantage is the weakness of his opposite Democrat candidates. For any candidacy, voters demographics and the evolving political dimension cannot be overlooked. Trump would also have to make these factors work in his campaign. The Republican party in itself seems to have been divided- while some are ready to accept his populist appeal while the others prefer to take a moderate stand. But nonetheless said, one can’t deny the strong control that Trump has on the Republican party.
As of now, Trump is reportedly the front runner of the Republican Party, but he faces possible threats not only from the democratic party candidates but also from other Republican candidates like Mike Pence, Vivek Ramaswamy, Tim Scott, Nikki Haley and many others. Moreover, the political landscape has been constantly evolving within and outside America, Trump’s ability to evolve and address the changes would also play an important role.
The speculation surrounding Donald Trump’s potential candidacy for the 2024 US election reflects the enduring impact he has had on American politics. While his presidency was marked by achievements and controversies, his influence within the Republican party remains significant. As the election approaches, assessing the pros and cons of his potential candidacy, its impact on the Republican party, and the opportunities and challenges he may face will be crucial in understanding the potential dynamics of the 2024 election. The outcome of Trump’s potential candidacy could reshape American politics, leaving lasting impacts on policy, discourse, and the future of the nation.
The issue was not Biden’s qualities, but Trump’s strengths—his intensely loyal base, a friendly conservative media, a polarised country, and his iron grip on the Republican Party.
– The Quint