Friday, April 5, 2024

The Second Appearance of Donald Trump

Every year, Red Baron presents an American-German topic at the Freiburg-Madison Stammtisch. Here are the links for the years 2012, 2013, 20142015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 20202022, and 2023. This year, the upcoming presidential election interested me. What I report may be boring for my American friends but should interest Europeans. Still, the number of listeners attending the Stammtisch was small.

This election is unlike any previous one. Two old men, or, as one journalist wrote, two (perceived) incumbents, are running for the high office.

©Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images
Everything indicates that Donald Trump will make his second appearance, a frightening prospect to Europeans.

It is incomprehensible how a sociopath who cannot control his emotions, who is selfish, manipulative, and ruthless towards his fellow human beings, and who is embroiled in 51 court cases is electable for so many Americans.

I will only mention the most critical legal charges here.

Two cases are pending in New York, one for fraud. Trump allegedly overstated the value of his properties to obtain cheaper loans. He has understated the value in the case of tax assessments.

The second indictment is for embezzlement of election funds, illegally used as hush money for Stormy Daniels, a prostitute.

Late Show Host Stephen Colbert's little poem (©Stephen Colbert ).
In this lawsuit, Trump finally found Don Hankey Finance willing to forward him 175 million dollars for a bond.

In Georgia, Trump has been charged with attempting to influence the 2020 election result. He has put massive pressure on Brad Raffensperger, the Secretary of State responsible for running the election, to "find" him 11780 votes.

In the indictment for inciting the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021, his lawyers claim that Trump enjoyed absolute immunity as president and, therefore, cannot be indicted.

Trump lacks any sense of guilt and dismisses all charges as a witch hunt.

When some states struck down Trump from primaries by applying a post-Civil War constitutional article that stripped Southerners of eligibility for state offices because of sedition, the Supreme Court barred the practice as individual actions and postponed a general final ruling.

Because six conservative judges determine the Supreme Court's direction and pace of work, a decision against Trump before the November election is unlikely. 

While the Federal Constitutional Court enjoys the highest reputation of all constitutional bodies in Germany, a survey found that 70% of Americans are dissatisfied with their Supreme Court.

Trump's electorate is absolutely loyal. According to a poll, only 6% of his core voters would not vote for him if he were to be convicted. He could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in New York, as he claimed in the run-up to his first election, and loyal Republicans would still vote for him.

Despite all the European astonishment about the situation, we must not forget that Americans are moved by different things than we are. Putin and the Ukraine war are far from the Midwest, the stronghold of American conservatism. 

In contrast, Republicans are firmly convinced that illegal immigrants from Mexico, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, Trump calls animals, are taking jobs from Americans and flooding the country with drugs. Furthermore, the Chinese are destroying the US economy, and we Europeans are ungrateful because we have six weeks of vacation, spend our tax money on social welfare, and therefore do not pay our NATO contributions. 

For the first time in an election campaign, Clinton's maxim "It's the economy, stupid" no longer holds. Joe Biden may point to a flourishing US economy and increasing employment. Still, the citizens feel that inflation is not over, their standard of living is falling, and they want America great again.

It is evident that Trump appreciates despots, although he referred to Viktor Orban as the president of Turkey. We still remember his têtes-à-têtes with Little Rocket Man, the Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Trump's admiration for Putin seems unbroken. 

Here's a little story: When a reporter asked Trump, "Would you accept foreign money to fulfill all the financial demands made on you?" he replied, "I think you'd be allowed to, possibly, I don't know." 

©Stephen Colbert
But Stephen Colbert had Trump saying, "Listen, Russia; maybe you know if it's legal. Could you, could you write the answer down on 500 million pieces of paper and put-in to my bank account?"

The former president clearly tells his countrymen and the world what he would do during his second term of office. American journalists have analyzed these statements.

So he called for overriding the Constitution when he demanded that the Supreme Court give POTUS unchecked power. 

He then considers using this power in his personal quest to "retaliate" against his opponents, the vermin, and take revenge for what he sees as politically motivated persecution against him.

When his longtime friend, Fox News host Sean Hannity, asked him at an election rally, "Will you promise America tonight that under no circumstances will you abuse your power to retaliate against anyone?"

Trump replied, "Except for day one," when he would use his presidential powers to close the border with Mexico and boost oil drilling.

Later, Trump said of Hannity at another rally, "I love this guy. He says, 'You're not going to be a dictator, are you?' I said: 'No, no, no, other than day one. We're closing the border, and we're drilling, drilling, drilling. After that, I'm not a dictator.'"

Trump promises to dismantle the civil servants in the ministries, only to fill the posts with politically loyal vassals. 

He has indicated that under him, the Department of Justice will not act as an independent arbiter of the rule of law but that he wants to use it as a personal political enforcement machine.

Here is the original quote by Donald Trump: "That means if I win and somebody wants to run against me, I'll call my attorney general. I say, 'Listen, indict him'."

When there were murmurs in the audience, Trump continued in the voice of his future attorney general, "But he hasn't done anything wrong. I don't know." Trump ended with an order,  "Indict him on income tax evasion. Figure it out."

After undocumented immigrants "poison" the country, Trump promises mass deportations and detention camps. He refers to political opponents as crooked, corrupt, or, as we have already heard, in the style of the Nazis, as "vermin."

But even without dictatorship for one day, Trump's first action immediately after taking office will be signing an Executive Order to grant all hostages and martyrs who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, amnesty celebrating them not just as patriots but as heroes.

In a highlight so far, the putschist ex-president warned his supporters at an election rally that "if I don't win in November, there will be a bloodbath."

But if he wins, will the stale but time-tested American democracy with its checks and balances weather the storm?

At a fund-raising dinner in New York on Maundy Thursday evening, President Biden stated, "I think that democracy is literally* at stake.”
*according to the letter?

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