Rachel Maddow laid out the stakes for Trump in the 2024 election. If he loses, he will go to prison. If Trump wins, he might be president for life and end democracy.
These are the stakes, and again whatever you think about that as a legal strategy for Trump, that is how he is thinking about the election. That is how he is going to be talking to his supporters and aides and campaign about the election. The election means one of two things if this is the way he is going to approach it. Either he loses the election and goes to prison, or he wins the election. He doesn’t go to prison. And is that for life he gets to be president? Will we keep having new elections? If every election is an opportunity for him to go to prison, do you think he allows us to have elections?
If winning the election is his plan to stay out of prison, what happens if and when he does not win it? Does that kind of election end with a graceful concession to a fair and square re-elected President Biden? I mean, if Trump and his supporters see the stakes as losing and going to prison or winning and being president and probably president for life, how should we expect that he and the Republican Party and Republican officials in swing states are going to handle the conduct of that election that Trump may very well lose? And because we are prone to forget, we have to say out loud that we would be remiss.
We would be willfully naive to ask that question as if our politics exists in a vacuum. Somewhere outside the rest of our news. As if the politics pages are totally different than the crime pages, right? As if we are not in a moment where far-right politics is coinciding with far-right violence, with regular shows of force from paramilitary extreme-right groups, and with acts of violence by people who are explicitly and admittedly motivated by far-right eliminationist political ideas. We are prone to forget, but we do not have to forget.
Anyone who thinks that President Biden will beat Trump in 2024 and things will be just fine has forgotten the timeline of 2020. The trouble did not start in 202o on a wide scale until after Trump’s loss. Looking back, it is now plain to see the progression. During the campaign, Trump radicalized his supporters with false claims of a rigged election months before the first ballots were cast. His supporters responded with voter intimidation.
After Trump lost, he went all in on the false stolen election claims, lost 63 lawsuits, tried to pressure swing state officials to overturn the results, and culminated by leading an insurrection against the United States.
With the stakes potentially being prison for Trump, expect even more frantic desperation and illegal plotting.
Rachel Maddow is right. The current violence is not divorced from far-right politics, and we can never allow the recent history of 2020 to be forgotten.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association