Trump's Dystopian Plans For A Second Term

[ Posted Monday, November 13th, 2023 – 17:38 UTC ]

Donald Trump is not being coy about what he would do if he became president a second time, and his vision for his second term is downright frightening. He would rule as a strongman or dictator and implement all of the darkest fantasies both he and his even-more-frightening advisors have been having for years. This is not an overblown or hysterical thing to say anymore -- if anything, it is the polite and watered-down version, since I didn't use the words "Nazi" or "Hitler" in describing Trump's dystopian plans.

Think I am overreacting? This past weekend, Trump gave a speech on the subject of Veterans Day. Here's the important part, delivered towards the end:

We pledge to you that we will root out the communists, Marxists, fascists and the radical-left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country that lie and steal and cheat on elections. They'll do anything, whether legally or illegally, to destroy America and to destroy the American Dream.

In case anyone thought that comparing his political enemies to "vermin" was some sort of slip of the tongue, Trump later posted the full quote on his pet social media platform, complete with his usual random capitalizations:

In honor of our great Veterans on Veteran's [sic] Day, we pledge to you that we will root out the Communists, Marxists, Fascists, and Radical Left Thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our Country, lie, steal, and cheat on Elections, and will do anything possible, whether legally or illegally, to destroy America, and the American Dream. The threat from outside forces is far less sinister, dangerous, and grave, than the threat from within. Despite the hatred and anger of the Radical Left Lunatics who want to destroy our Country, we will MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

When asked for a comment on the dangers of such dehumanizing language, a Trump campaign spokesman replied that "those who try to make that ridiculous assertion are clearly snowflakes grasping for anything because they are suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome and their entire existence will be crushed when President Trump returns to the White House." He later clarified, just in case anyone misunderstood. He meant their "sad, miserable existence," not just their "entire existence."

"Vermin." Whose "entire sad, miserable existence will be crushed" when Trump regains power. Still think "dictator" is too strong a word?

This is dehumanizing. And yes, it is exactly the language that both Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini used. Trump has even previously said immigrants are "poisoning the blood of our country," using another favorite Hitler metaphor. Political opponents are less than human, they are a great danger, and they must be wiped out like the vermin they are. This is how strongmen rise to power, folks.

Some in the mainstream media are reacting to this with the proper level of outrage, and some are not. Some still treat things Trump says as somehow not being quite as bad as they truly are. The New York Times originally ran the story of Trump calling his opponents "vermin" under the benign headline: "Trump Takes Veterans Day Speech In A Very Different Direction." Well, sure, you could call it that, but it's a lot more accurate and informative to go with the headline the Washington Post used: "Trump Calls Political Enemies 'Vermin,' Echoing Dictators Hitler, Mussolini." Forbes also displayed the proper amount of alarm, titling their story: "Trump Compares Political Foes To 'Vermin' On Veterans Day -- Echoing Nazi Propaganda."

This isn't just a matter of incendiary and dehumanizing rhetoric from the stump, either. Trump's plans for what he would do as president are getting a lot closer to his "vermin" rhetoric as well. Basically, he wants to rule unfettered. And he's learned a few things from his first trip around the block, so he knows what to avoid doing this time.

First and foremost, there will be no "adults in the room" in a Trump 2.0 administration. The only people Trump will appoint are those who are completely in tune with his agenda and completely subservient to his merest whim. Anyone who tells him he can't do something will be immediately replaced with someone who will cheerfully carry out his wishes. And those wishes are as dark as can be imagined.

For starters, Trump aims to avoid the embarrassment that greeted his first term, in the form of a massive protest led mostly by women (sporting pink "pussy hats") which happened the day after his inauguration (and turned out a much bigger crowd than he managed, which annoyed Trump no end). From Day One in his second term, Trump is already threatening to use the Insurrection Act to order National Guard and perhaps even regular U.S. Army troops to break up such protests (and, being Trump, he will likely encourage them to do so as violently as possible). And that's just for starters.

The New York Times just ran an extensive report of what Trump is planning on doing to immigrants, and it's exactly what you'd expect, really. Here is Trump from September, explaining the heart of what he would do:

In a public reference to his plans, Mr. [Donald] Trump told a crowd in Iowa in September: "Following the Eisenhower model, we will carry out the largest domestic deportation operation in American history." The reference was to a 1954 campaign to round up and expel Mexican immigrants that was named for an ethnic slur -- "Operation Wetback."

This would mean deporting undocumented immigrants by the millions each year, calling on Immigration and Customs Enforcement to take the lead, supplemented by deputizing other federal agents (such as D.E.A. agents), National Guard members (from states with Republican governors), and even "local police" to round them all up. Camps would be built near the Texas border to hold them all until they could be deported, and they would be kicked out without being given any court hearings or other due process.

Trump would revive his "Muslim ban" and expand it to shut down as many other forms of immigration as he could, by declaring them all riddled with diseases. He would cancel student visas for any students who took part in protests he didn't approve of. He would screen future visa applicants for ideological purity. He'd kick out humanitarian refugees like the brave souls who aided the U.S. military in Afghanistan. He'd end birthright citizenship. And it almost goes without saying, he'd also end DACA.

Trump would also finish his wall and militarize the southern border -- by using the Insurrection Act to order the military to participate. And he'd do all of this without bothering to get any new laws passed by Congress. If they didn't give him the money to do all of this, he'd just take it from the Pentagon's budget and do it anyway.

The people advising Trump don't see any possible downside to any of this:

Trump advisers' vision of abrupt mass deportations would be a recipe for social and economic turmoil, disrupting the housing market and major industries including agriculture and the service sector.

Mr. [Stephen] Miller cast such disruption in a favorable light.

"Mass deportation will be a labor-market disruption celebrated by American workers, who will now be offered higher wages with better benefits to fill these jobs," he said. "Americans will also celebrate the fact that our nation's laws are now being applied equally, and that one select group is no longer magically exempt."

That's all just on the subject of immigration, mind you. Trump has other ideas, too, and they're all equally frightening. Most of them stem from Trump's inaccurate understanding of the role of president in the U.S. Constitution. He claimed, while still president, that: "I have an Article II where I have the right to do whatever I want as president." This, of course, is not true -- it is delusional, in fact. But Trump believes it, and that's all that matters to him.

Trump wants to be a dictator who is never questioned and always obeyed, by anyone in the federal government. He brooks no dissent. He will fire anyone who attempts to tell him he can't do something. His cabinet and White House staff will be totally and utterly subservient to Trump. If the Senate refuses to confirm any of them, Trump will just announce they are interim appointments ("Acting Secretary of...") and ignore the Senate. He'll either name Stephen Miller as his White House chief of staff, or he'll pick someone even worse. There will be no "adults in the room" in Trump's second presidency, plain and simple.

This will extend to all executive branch employees. Trump will revive his "Schedule F" idea, which will mean he can fire anyone in civil service jobs that used to be considered non-partisan and were exempt from such direct presidential retaliation. He will institute loyalty tests for job applicants, just to be sure they're all MAGA enough. The Federalist Society is helping this effort with an effort they call "Project 2025," which aims to present Trump with a list of ideologically-acceptable employees, and also to suggest executive actions he might take upon taking office. Agencies of the federal government that used to be considered independent will all now have to have their actions cleared by the White House -- which could even include the Federal Reserve Board.

Again, Trump is not shy about admitting all this stuff. He uses equally-dictatorial language to describe what he wants to do, too:

We will demolish the deep state. We will expel the warmongers from our government. We will drive out the globalists. We will cast out the communists, Marxists and fascists. And we will throw off the sick political class that hates our country.

But it's not just minor bureaucrats or regulatory agencies Trump wants to purge. He will also appoint his toadies to the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. He just admitted last week that he's in favor of "weaponizing" the Justice Department, since he believes this has already been done against him and (if necessary) pardon himself. This means Trump wants to tell the F.B.I. to investigate his enemies and tell his attorney general to charge them and lock them up. And his enemies include a whole lot of Republicans, so it won't be just Democrats who are the targets. Trump also wants to be able to direct the military to handle any domestic problems he doesn't like -- which will definitely include protests against him.

Trump will pardon all the people convicted of crimes on January 6th, naturally. He will shut down all the federal court cases against him. He will likely fire (or even attempt to prosecute or jail) anyone in the court system, the F.B.I., or the Department of Justice who had any part of any of the cases against him. In other words, he will act just like all dictators do -- rewarding his supporters no matter how violent they get, while attacking anyone who even hints that anything he has ever done could be illegal in any way.

These are all the things Trump has said he'd do, either explicitly or by using his patented mob-boss language to merely hint at. But there are other frightening things to consider if Trump ever becomes president again as well. Some might console themselves with the thought that the courts wouldn't allow Trump to overstep the boundaries of the presidency too much. Personally, I am not comforted by this thought. Because sooner or later someone's going to tell Trump the story (note: this quote was probably never actually uttered, but Trump and those around him aren't exactly sticklers for historical accuracy) of how one of his favorite presidents stood up to the Supreme Court. Andrew Jackson, when the Supreme Court ruled against him in a case involving White settlers stealing Native Americans' tribal lands, reportedly challenged the chief justice at the time: "John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!" Jackson then went on to essentially ignore the ruling.

Who among us thinks Trump wouldn't enjoy that story? After all, it points out a huge failing of the American system of government. The three branches -- the president, Congress, the courts -- are all theoretically "co-equal." If that is strictly true, however, then it must mean no one branch can order another branch to do (or not do) anything. But the Supreme Court routinely does so. What would happen if the president decided to ignore the high court? Well, who would enforce the decision? All the federal policing power falls under the executive branch -- the F.B.I., the D.E.A, all the rest of the Department of Justice, the C.I.A., the Border Patrol, the Pentagon -- they all report to the Oval Office. If Trump ordered them to obey him and not the ruling of the court, what would happen? Especially if he had successfully purged any disloyal bureaucrats from all these agencies in the meantime?

If that's not scary enough to contemplate, consider how Trump might decide to deal with Congress. At some point, he can be expected to declare some sort of "national emergency" which will give him sweeping powers, and if Congress either gets in his way or fights back, he will find a way to completely neuter them. Say the Senate is still 51-49 Democratic. What would stop Trump from locking up three Democratic senators to prevent them from voting, and then use his 49-48 majority to do whatever he wanted? The filibuster? Don't make me laugh. He could even go full-on Hitler and get Congress to pass a measure that essentially disbands Congress for the duration of the "emergency."

In normal times, comparisons to Hitler or the Nazis would fall under Godwin's Law and be considered wild speculation, irresponsible hyperbole, or just flat-out unhinged, of course.

These aren't normal times.

And a second Trump term won't be anything like what went before. It'll be worse -- a lot worse. So you can quibble about the use of the word "Nazi" or comparing Trump to Hitler, but he certainly has no qualms about using their playbook to get whatever he wants. That much is becoming more and more obvious by the day.

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


4 Comments on “Trump's Dystopian Plans For A Second Term”

  1. [1] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    And this, combined with the House GOP’s so-called performance is why Trump will usher in a blue tsunami next year.

  2. [2] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    donald might campaign like hitler, but he governs like harding.

    Well, you may run like Mays, but you hit like shit.
    ~major league

  3. [3] 
    dsws wrote:

    Trump doesn't want to be a dictator. That would be too much work, and require too much competence. He wants to play one on tv, while getting attention as only a president can.

  4. [4] 
    dsws wrote:

    Meanwhile, my worst expectations about Speaker Johnson have not been realized: House Passes Johnson’s Plan to Avert Shutdown in Bipartisan Vote (NY Times. Paywall with limited freebies per month.)

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