If we’ve learned one thing during this election, it’s that Donald Trump has defied the expectations laid out by polls and political pundits in the lead up to the national vote. He’s managed to seize 48% of the popular vote and gain more votes than he did in the 2016 election, reflecting the firmly rooted support for Trumpism ideology by Republican voters in the U.S. Trump’s political doctrine and style of governance has helped coin the term Trumpism we recognize today. Proudly spearheaded by the 45th U.S. President, his populist, personality-driven agenda will continue to dominate the Republican Party. The 2020 election has shown that even under the Biden Presidency, Trumpism will outlast Trump in the coming years.
In the immediate aftermath of the election, Trump desperately tried to control the narrative around the election – prematurely declaring victory, complaining of corruption, claiming there were “tens of millions of unsolicited ballots” and announcing an investigation into the states Joe Biden won. His frantic attempts to hang onto political office undermines the election process and the very democracy he is president of.
The 2020 election has shown that even under the Biden Presidency, Trumpism will outlast Trump in the coming years.
Despite Trump losing his second term in office (and his subsequent unwillingness to accept defeat), he lost by a razor-thin margin, signifying that the power of Trumpism can and will be prolonged. His core support will undoubtedly remain a huge force within the U.S. and within the ranks of the Republican party. To voters, the GOP is synonymous with Trump. For the Republican party to hold onto the support gained by Trump, they will be reluctant to break away from the Trumpism agenda. Trump’s style of politics executed during his tenure in office is what Republican voters want in their leader – enforcing strict measures on immigration, aversion to trade deals, divisive foreign policy, cuts to foreign aid, ignoring budget deficits and attack on the media. His policies, statesmanship style, and white-identity politics are heavily affiliated with the Republican party, whether the party like it or not.
What is more startling is that despite Trump’s diabolical handling of the coronavirus pandemic; (with over 230,000 deaths and 9.7 million cases at current count); mass unemployment and blatant exploitation of presidential power for his own political gain, 48% of voters still consider him worthy of serving another term in office. Trumpism has held firm in the U.S. and is more embedded in society than we realized.
Trump’s power to the top has also validated and given authority to white supremacist ideologies. During September’s presidential debate, Trump refused to condemn one neo-fascist group, Proud Boys. The Anti-Defamation Group describes Proud Boys as misogynistic, Islamophobic, transphobic, and anti-immigration with ties to most states, Britain, Norway, and Australia. Instead of condemning the group in the debate, Trump addressed them directly: “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by! But I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left.”
Trump’s extreme right-wing beliefs have seeped through his immigration policies
Trump’s right-wing convictions have shaped policy areas. His aggressive opposition towards U.S. immigration policy led Trump to sign several executive orders that would diminish the U.S’ standing as a country that proudly stood for family reunification, asylum, and safe harbor of refugees. Trump signed executive orders on banning refugees, prohibiting citizens from Muslim countries travelling to the U.S, replacing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) which was later rejected by Congress and reviewal of the H-1B Visa Program granted to foreign workers. Under Trump’s “zero tolerance” directive, his administration ordered a clampdown on undocumented migrants crossing into the U.S, enforcing the separation of children from their parents. The heart-wrenching images of children being taken away from their parents at the border horrified the U.S. and world. These images affirmed Trump’s extreme right-wing beliefs which have seeped through his immigration policies, allowing crying children to be separated from their parents at the border and confined in detention centers.
Abortion is another policy area where he has enacted right-wing control. Before his presidency, he declared that women should face “some form of punishment” if they have abortions. Last year Trump banned federal funds going to organizations that provide abortions or refer patients to abortion clinics, resulting in Planned Parenthood losing millions in funding.
His four years in office has enabled Trump to appoint three Supreme Court judges, with the most recent appointment of Judge Amy Coney Barrett hurried through a week before the election, securing a 6-3 conservative majority in the Supreme Court. For decades to come, Trumpism will live on in the Supreme Court when it comes to the Court reaching judgments on politically divisive cases.
The extreme right-wing sentiment is entrenched within Trumpism. It’s out there in black and white through Trump’s policies and statements and cannot be overlooked. If the Republican party standby Trumpism ideology post-Trump era, they are allowing this sentiment to continue to thrive and evolve within the party.
The disturbing reality is that Trumpism has triumphed, and it will affect the American life forever.
So will Trump make a return to the presidential race in 2024? There’s a strong possibility that he will given that back in 2017, Trump filed to run for reelection on the day he was inaugurated. It’s safe to say that the Trump family will be with us for years, and Trumpism will last even longer. American citizens will continue exhibiting Trumpism, even under the Biden Presidency. Trumpism will truly divide the nation through its homes, classrooms, workplaces and social spaces. Trump’s re-election loss will trigger an outraged response by his loyal followers who firmly believe he has been robbed of the presidential office that was meant for Trump. They will obediently follow Trump and hang on to his every lie in the hope of delegitimizing Biden’s win. The disturbing reality is that Trumpism has triumphed, and it will affect the American life forever.
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