5 horrifying things Trump will do if he is re-elected, according to experts

Joanna Taylor
Saturday 10 October 2020 12:15
news
(Getty / indy100)

Current polls generally put Biden ahead of Trump as the frontrunner in the US presidential election.

But four years ago, it was generally agreed that Hillary Clinton was in the lead. So, even in spite of everything we've witnessed during Trump's first term as president, we have to entertain the possibility that he will remain in power until 2024.

After all, no other US president has failed to win a second term in the 21st century.

To try to make sense of what the next four years might have in store if Trump does win, we asked five United States politics experts for their opinions and predictions on what the future might hold.

1. Trump will rule by executive order and his supporters will turn to vigilantism

Princeton sociology professor and American Prospect editor Paul Starr believes that a second Trump term would be defined by increasingly hostile and anti-democratic governance.

He predicts that this will result in a "renewed arms race" between the US and China and "increasing political violence". He told indy100 this possible sequence of events:

1. U.S. withdrawal from NATO and radical decline, if not collapse, of other international institutions, along with a renewed arms race and increased risk of confrontation with China;  

2. Government by executive order, often in defiance of Congress; 

3. Effective overturning of major forms of economic and environmental regulation as a result of the combined effect of Supreme Court decisions and Trump administration policies;  

4. Increasing political violence; widespread vigilante action by Trump-aligned militias in states with Democratic governors and mayors. 

Trump has ruled by executive order before: last month, for instance, he signed a controversial executive order to combat "race and sex stereotyping" on the basis that people are currently spreading the "false belief" that "America is an irredeemably racist and sexist country". (It is interesting to note here that Trump characterised the 'Me Too' era as a "scary time for young men" and described Black Lives Matter as a "symbol of hate".)

There have also already been acts of vigilantism carried out by people believed to be Trump supporters, such as the shooting of BLM protesters by Kyle Rittenhouse. Trump has done little to combat this: he invited the St Louis "gun couple" to speak at the Republican National Convention and told white supremacist group the Proud Boys to "stand by" at the first presidential debate.

2. Trump's re-election will damage LGBTQ+ rights

Journalist and human rights campaigner Charlotte Clymer told us that Trump's re-election could result in the "near-eradication of LGBTQ+ equality and safety in the United States". Already under Trump's administration, trans people have been banned from serving in the military and threatened with the erasure of health care protections.

A further term could do even more damage, she explained, particularly if the Supreme Court is tipped further towards a majority of Republican-nominated judges. She told indy100:

If Trump and Pence are re-elected, nearly all the legal gains made by LGBTQ people over the past two decades are almost guaranteed to be wiped out in their second term. Since day one of this administration, Trump and Pence have aggressively attacked and rolled back the rights of LGBTQ people, and they would now be abetted by a 6-3 majority conservative Supreme Court if Judge Barrett is confirmed.

From employment to marriage to housing to health care access to the ongoing epidemic of violence against transgender and non-binary people, a second term would likely mean a near-eradication of LGBTQ equality and safety in the United States.

Amy Coney Barrett's nomination is of particular concern because of her conservative record on issues like guns, immigration and potentially abortion. There are even concerns that with a strong Republican-backed majority, the Supreme Court may be able to gut Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that guaranteed Americans the right to access abortions in 1973.

3. Trump will lash out at the people who investigated his corruption

Democratic strategist Max Burns pointed out that Trump will have a few scores to settle after this election – and that he loves nothing more than doing so.

Burns anticipates hearings even more ridiculous than the select committee hearing on the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, during which Hillary Clinton was forced to defend her handling of national security as secretary of state. This primarily involved answering questions about the murder of US ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya three years earlier, but also touched on the email scandal Trump repeatedly used as a line of attack when running against Clinton. Burns told indy100:

A second Trump term offers the president the chance to settle scores with Democrats who investigated his first-term corruption – and we all know the president enjoys nothing so much as settling scores. We'll likely see a parade of show-hearings led by Senate Republicans that will make the laughable Benghazi "hearing" seem absolutely statesmanlike by comparison.

Expect to be hearing a lot more about the "crimes" of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in a second term.

4. Trump will tighten immigration law... and send astronauts back to the Moon

Dr Richard Johnson, a US Politics and Policy lecturer at Queen Mary University, predicted that Trump will "tighten US immigration law". He told indy100:

Trump ... wants to continue to tighten US immigration law even further than he has done during his first term by introducing mandatory deportation for certain classes of immigrants (e.g., those found to be members of gangs) and to ban federal funding used to support undocumented residents. Restrictions on businesses employing immigrants are likely to be tightened as well.

He added that, if Republicans control both chambers of congress, Trump may bring about "further tax cuts and perhaps a crime bill". Even if he doesn't, we should expect "the Obamacare legislation to face severe change" and "a curtailment of the federal right to abortion".

On top of all this, it's possible that US astronauts will return to the Moon or venture to Mars. Johnson said:

Trump has also expressed interest in space travel, and he is keen to see a mission to the Moon or Mars launched during his presidency.

5. Trump will obsess about his life post-presidency

Trump's former National Security advisor, John Bolton, alleged that Trump expressed an interest in serving more than the legal two-term limit as president. But, although Trump has been likened repeatedly to a dictator, it remains unlikely that he'd actually be able to bypass all checks and balances and serve past 2024.

Given that Bolton also alleged that Trump has spent the past four years obsessing about his re-election, that begs the question: what would actually motivate him during a second term? According to The Independent's John T. Bennett, it would be his "post-presidency legal status" and the businesses he never truly gave up. He wrote:

We have enough evidence, mostly drawn from the president’s own words and actions, to make educated guesses that his businesses and his post-presidency legal status would become paramount.

According to The New York Times, Trump regularly fails to pay any income tax at all – so it seems fair to say that his legal and financial status will hang in doubt outside the White House. So perhaps his thoughts will return to his golf courses and hotel businesses and maybe even to his old job on The Apprentice...

Regardless, Trump will certainly want to cement the political power of his daughters and sons-in law. How else do you start a dynasty?

All of the above are predictions based on precedent and on what Trump has said he wants to do during his second term.

But as 2020 has reminded us: absolutely anything is possible... we'll just have to wait and see.

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