Despite the fact that the US Electoral College acknowledged the victory of Joe Biden in the presidential elections in November, incumbent President Donald Trump does not recognize his defeat.
If in 1992 President George W. Bush left the White House feeling that he had "let his family down," and in 2000, Vice President and Democratic candidate Al Gore did not take his supporters to the streets even after the dubious decision of the Supreme court to stop recounts in Florida, then Trump raises concerns among his opponents to almost usurping power. The president threw a tantrum not wanting to leave the residence until the inauguration of Democrat Joe Biden on January 11.
His supporters are confident that their victory has been stolen from them, causing hatred of their opponents. Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Jr., overjoyed, has auctioned off the right to demolish the bankrupt casino and Trump Plaza hotel in the wake of its founder's political fiasco. The question remains open who will play a key role in the Republican Party after 2020, how realistic are Trump's statements about his intention to stay in politics and take part in the presidential elections in 2024. Changes in one of the leading political forces of the United States may affect its priorities in foreign policy, which is important for Ukraine.
Trump stays in a political game
There is a version that Donald Trump will remain in the game, despite his advanced age. In four years he will be 82 years old. For this, he has solid financial resources and a social base. Over 74 million Americans voted for him, far more than the Republican candidate's Senator John McCain in 2008 or Senator Mitt Romney in 2012. According to a Monmouth University poll, 77% of Trump supporters believe Biden won through fraud.
Trump is acting on a tit for tat, tit for tat principle, reminding the Democrats how they denied the legitimacy of the 2016 elections, attributed their results to the consequences of Russian interference, conducted an investigation and tried to organize an impeachment procedure, and in the summer they accused him of racism and brought him to the streets are crowds of left-wing radicals. Trump can terrorize Biden's team until the end of his presidential term, digging into every miscalculation, any unpopular measure that the elected president cannot avoid in order to bring the country out of the epidemiological and economic crisis. The Republican Party will gain ratings on criticism of the Democrats. For this purpose, the president is considering creating his own media.
However, Trump and his supporters are behaving too radically, shaming the reputation of the Republican Party, portraying it as a bunch of ultra-right extremists who are ready to break the law in order to maintain power. Trump took his supporters to the streets. In Michigan, armed Trump supporters gathered outside the home of the state secretary of state and shouted insults and accusations of lying. In Arizona, Republicans held a protest, during which they raised the question of who is ready to give his life for the president.
North Carolina Senate Bob Steinburg called on Trump to declare a state of emergency and abolish civil rights to prevent Biden from coming to power. The president is consulting with former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who is of the same opinion. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court for violation of the counting procedure in Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, where Biden won. He was supported by Republicans from 17 states (the Supreme Court dismissed Paxton's claim). The Texas Electoral Commission called on lawmakers from these four states to ignore the vote and appoint their own electors.
Despite the fact that so many Americans voted for Trump, his political course reflects the views of national conservatives, a small group of GOP voters (about 7%) who consider migration a burden, oppose the global involvement of the United States, according to the pollster Pew. Trump's rhetoric about the threat from refugees and migrants, his protectionist policy, withdrawal from international treaties are focused on this active minority. Other GOP voters think differently.
The so-called "entrepreneurs of the new era" advocate greater US integration into the global economy, believe that migrants strengthen the American nation, and "market skeptics" adhere to center-left views and do not accept right-wing populism. They represent 23% of voters between the ages of 30 and 50. The most active 15% of Republican voters - "nuclear conservatives" - are more tolerant of migrants than national conservatives, and they do not understand Trump's eccentric behavior. A significant proportion of voters voted for Trump, not because they are happy with his political course, and not because they like his image of a successful and self-confident master of life, who knows the taste of the American dream, but because he represents their party.
No wonder Trump has monolithic support in the GOP. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senators Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Ben Sasse all acknowledged Biden's victory, while Marco Rubio called for the process of handing over state affairs to Biden's team to begin. Governors of Massachusetts Charlie Baker, Vermont State Phil Scott, and Maryland Larry Hogan refused to vote for Trump. Cindy McCain (widow of Republican Senator John McCain) voted for Biden. Trump is a past stage.
Ukraine, like the Americans, is not desirable to keep Trump among the politicians who determine the program of the Republican Party, because he is inherent in isolationism and underestimates the threat from Russia, focusing on the pressure on China and Iran. This is confirmed by the recent Russian hacker attacks on the websites of US government agencies, which the president denies. Tightening anti-Russian sanctions during the Trump rule and providing Ukraine with lethal weapons were pushed by the Republican-controlled Senate.
It is possible that in the foreseeable future, Trump, together with his supporters, will create their own political force defending the interests of national conservatives. Trump's course is different from that of the GOP. "Trumpism" is an ultra-conservative populism with personality cult traits based on anti-migrant sentiments and protectionism, reminiscent of the style of government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Hungary and the Law and Justice Party in Poland. Trump's actions went beyond the conservative ideology of the Republican Party, which defends Christian values, preaches the cult of the family, advocates an active foreign policy, an increase in defense spending, tax cuts for business, government spending on medicine, is reserved about initiatives in the field of environmental protection, if they affect business interests.
There have been similar cases in American history. Former President and prominent Republican Party figure Theodore Roosevelt founded the Progressive Party and ran for it in the 1912 presidential election. Opponents of the abolition of segregation in the United States, led by South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond, broke away from the Democratic Party and founded their own political force in 1948 - the conservative Democratic Party of State Rights. However, all of these projects have failed. The vast majority of Americans do not accept independent candidates. In the 2020 presidential election, only 1.2% of American voters voted for the Libertarian Party candidate, Professor Joe Jorgensen, and 18% for Texas businessman Ross Perot in 1992. Outside the Republican Party, Trump as a politician will gradually be forgotten.
The continuation of Trump's political career in the Republican Party and the prevalence of Trumpism in the political program will not be productive and will deepen the division among its members. The latest elections have shown that the political force today is largely supported by white Americans from rural areas, while the Democratic Party has managed to enlist the support of residents of metropolitan areas, including youth among whites, African Americans and Hispanics, new American citizens among migrants and their descendants. The white proletariat and the farmers, the so-called rednecks, are not all of America.
According to a Times poll, Trump was voted for in this election by 26% of the population of color, mostly residents of the states of Texas and Florida. If the Republican Party was trusted by all races and ethnicities, the accidental killing of African American George Floyd by white police in Minneapolis would not have sparked massive Democratic-led anti-presidential protests.
Trump's merit is to lower taxes for businesses, promote economic growth, but he went too far with his migration policy.
In 2018, the division of the detained families of illegal migrants into different places of temporary detention was not approved by not only Democrats, but also well-known Republicans: at that time, senior adviser to president Kelliann Conway, assistant to the president for communications Anthony Scaramucci, and Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, an evangelical preacher and supporter of Trump. Not everyone understood the reduction in the issuance of work visas to foreigners. The president has been criticized for health policies, including cutting funding for medical programs for retirees and low-income Americans, for not offering an alternative to the canceled Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which obliged Americans to buy health insurance.
To get rid of the trail of populism and scandals that Trump left behind, the GOP will have to make adjustments to its agenda and find new leaders. After all, Republicans need to prepare for the midterm elections to the US Congress in 2022 and the next presidential elections in 2024. Republicans need to win over the confidence of conservative African Americans and Latinos. In this case, the party will increase the weight of functionaries of color, such as conservative senators of Cuban origin Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, former US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, who is a descendant of migrants from India. These politicians are a clear example of the fact that the Republican Party is open to all Americans, regardless of eye shape and skin color, and the Democrats' horror stories about the dominance of ultra-right populists do not correspond to reality.
Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio appeal to Ukraine and are tough on Russia and have sponsored the sanctions bills. Now Cruz is closely involved in the issue of legislative support for sanctions aimed at curbing the construction of the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. In 2014, Cruz called for lethal weapons to Ukraine to fulfill the provisions of the Budapest Memorandum. At the same time, Cruise believes that not only Russia but also Ukraine intervened in the US presidential election, given that President Petro Poroshenko supported the candidacy of Democrat Hillary Clinton. Rubio does not share Trump's isolationist views and supported the overthrow of the regime of President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela and opposed the withdrawal of the American military from Syria.
Senators Cruz and Rubio participated in the 2016 election campaign and, following the results of the primaries, took second and third places after Trump. Conservative Cruz advocates toughening the fight against illegal immigrants, but not against legal migration, insisted on the abolition of Obamacare but tried to finalize the law, make his own adjustments. He is respected by white Republicans in the southern states. In 2018, Cruz was re-elected to the post of US Senator from Texas by defeating white Democrat Beto O'Rourke.
The presidential future is predicted for former US Permanent Representative to the UN and ex-Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley. The Washington Post even included her in the ranking of women with the highest chances of becoming president of the United States. There were rumors that Trump was considering her as vice president before she denied them herself. During her tenure as US Permanent Representative to the UN, she harshly criticized Russia's aggression in Ukraine, the capture of Ukrainian sailors during the Kerch crisis in 2018. According to The Gazette, when asked if she is going to participate in the next presidential campaign, she vaguely replied that worry about what will happen in 2024 is necessary for 2022.