Let’s fast forward to 2024. The pandemic is over, the economy is once again on solid ground and America has tenuously reclaimed its place on the world stage as the leader of democracy.
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Unfortunately, things aren’t all rosy. The 2022 midterms saw Republicans retake both the House and Senate, and any future strides to improve America, such as the Build Back Better law and the Infrastructure law have been slowed by uncooperative members of the opposition party.
This is nothing new. Republicans did the same to President Obama, and yet were unable to accomplish anything of merit during the four horrific years of the Trump administration. There was no border wall (that Mexico would pay for). There was no simultaneous repeal and replacement of Obamacare. Virtually nothing of consequence happened during those four years other than to further divide America and make us the laughingstock of the world through a series of foreign policy blunders.
Republicans did get one thing they wanted with their 2022 midterm victories. They were finally able to move on from the 2020 election. That’s not to say there was any level of accountability. Instead, Trump and those involved in the January 6th insurrection were let off with impunity because Republicans immediately shut down any efforts to hold them accountable once they assumed office. The committees, the investigations and the prosecutions were halted, either by disbanding them, or cutting off necessary funding that would allow them to proceed. So, Trump was rewarded for his efforts of lawsuits and delays as he ran out the clock until a more friendly Congress was in place.
So, it’s 2024.
Donald Trump has amassed a huge war chest by duping his base into believing the Big Lie of a stolen election. Due to his big crowds, Trump believes he is more popular than ever despite ratings showing the opposite. As he faces yet another showdown with Joe Biden, he believes he will be victorious this time, while he refuses to acknowledge his loss in 2020. Nikki Haley has temporarily abandoned her presidential ambitions and continues on her quixotic quest to have Biden to take a cognitive test to prove that, at 82, he would still be capable of carrying out the tasks necessary to be president. While she claims ALL older politicians should be subject to this requirement, she stops short at requiring it for Trump.
While Trump faces a tremendous challenge from Biden, he is also facing dissension in his own ranks. A faction of the Republican Party, declaring themselves the “Real Republicans”, while Trump paradoxically calls them RINOS (Republicans in Name Only), has declared their opposition to Trump’s re-election bid. Perhaps it’s Adam Kinzinger (R-OH) or Liz Cheney (R-Wy), or some combination of a “dream ticket”. Meanwhile, Trump enjoys the support of right wing whackos like Majorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL). Yet, this challenge threatens to siphon Trump’s support by giving Republicans an alternative.
This sets up the stage for the nightmare scenario.
While the splinter faction of the Republican Party is unable to garner a victory, it prevents Trump’s return to Washington. Predictably, Trump again claims voter fraud and demands that he be awarded the electors who voted for the Republican faction. Yet, it still isn't enough as Joe Biden cruises to a re-election win, creating the typical outcry from Trump supporters. Rather than acknowledge that Trump once again lost, they declare him the “rightful president”. They try, and are denied, permission to stage another march on Washington to protest the election results.
Failing to get permission to hold a rally in Washington, Trump supporters organize an “alternative inauguration” in Trump-friendly Florida. They demand Trump be given the “nuclear football” that gives him access to the launch codes necessary to start a nuclear attack. Trump is even recognized as the “rightful victor” by North Korea, Brazil and Venezuela. They insist in recounts and invalidating election results.
This mock inauguration allows Trump to establish his own shadow presidency. This is nothing new since he has yet to concede to the 2020 election as he continues to push the Big Lie. This ongoing fracture garners support from Republican governors and members of Congress, pushing America closer to the brink of another Civil War.
A Democratic victory in the 2022 midterm elections is absolutely essential to preventing this nightmare scenario. Republican controlled legislatures in statehouses are passing laws to make voter suppression legal again. Republicans in Congress are denying true voting reforms by refusing to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Machinations by Republican run states will give them authority to overturn election results. The appointment of Louis De Joy as Postmaster General threatens to slow down the mail-in voting process, effectively disenfranchising millions of voters.
In order to preserve democracy, Americans must make their voices heard. The first step is to support Democrats in the midterms. Then, there must be accountability for the January 6th insurrection and a ban on Trump ever holding public office again. By doing this, we
can prevent this nightmare from becoming a reality.