Joshua Wright is currently an A level student studying politics. He does extensive research into the political matters of the day.
Our Supreme Leader?
On Tuesday the 13th of September, 2020, a grave threat to American democracy was revealed to the world. Trump publically said that he wishes to defy the constitutional limitations placed on how many terms a president can serve. Not since FDR has there been a President that has served more than 2 terms (FDR was a wartime President, so his extension of term limits is mostly justified).
This wanton threat to US democracy must be confronted. No matter how strong a democracy is all it takes is a bad situation mixed with a charismatic demagogue to shift the country in a dangerous, totalitarian direction.
If Michael Cohen is telling the truth, well then we have much to worry about...
According to Michael Cohen, President Trump has (in the past) expressed his interest in breaking constitutional boundaries and becoming a dictator. According to Cohen its the reason Trump "admires the Kim Jong-Un's of the world".
So if Cohen's words are anything to go by, then Trump's ambitions are clear. He wants to transform the US into an authoritarian nation ruled by a dictatorship. This means that when Trump says he wants to run for a third term, then he's most likely being serious.
And if you don't believe what Cohen is saying, then maybe we should take a little look back on some of Trump's past actions as commander in chief:
- He has repeatedly labeled the "fake news media" as the enemy of the people (much like Mao Zedong used to do). And, as we know, Trump's idea of fake news is anyone that criticises him in any way shape or form. So this is clearly an attack on the free press.
- He has a track record of showing admiration and respect for dictators around the world such as Kim Jong-Un and Erdogan. He's even labeled Erdogan a "great friend" of his.
- He has used excessive amounts of force to deal with peaceful protestors. He even went as far as to have peaceful protestors tear-gassed and assaulted to have a photo op at a church (basically just a PR session for his base)
- He has labeled peaceful BLM protestors as "terrorists" and "thugs". This is a very typical thing for dictators to do to justify their harsh responses.
The Guardian Of The States
Perhaps the most frightening aspect of Trump's personality is his perceived notion that he is the only thing preventing the destruction of so-called "Western culture" by foreign influences stemming from international migration.
Trump can easily use this notion to claim that he must stay in power to "Keep America Great" and unfortunately a large portion of his die-hard supporters would agree with him.
He also has another, but perhaps a rather lackluster excuse and that is the "they treat me unfairly for 4 years and now they must compensate by giving me another 4!" excuse. But what if he used both as justifications for extending term limits? Could he convince Republican congressmen that he deserves another 4? He does have to win congresses approval after all.
Congress Must Say No
For Trump to extend his term limit, he must first gain the approval of two-thirds of both the US House of Representatives and the US Senate. And believe it or not, most US Congressmen and Congresswomen are not keen on the idea of a dictatorship. Even most Republicans wouldn't vote for that.
There is another way, and that is through having two-thirds of state legislatures call a constitutional convention. But given today's hyper-partisanship and, well, bipartisan opposition to the idea of extending the term limit it is safe to say that this is highly unlikely to ever happen.
Although our politics may be hyper-partisan and our citizens divided there is one thing that most Americans will agree on. And that is that American democracy is precious and must always be protected. Democracy is practically the unofficial religion of America.
We hear stories of valiant American heroes giving up their lives in defense of freedom and democracy as they fought terrible regimes such as Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. After all that sacrifice it should be the utmost priority of the citizens of America to make sure that we do not destroy these values from within.
This is why Trump's threat of breaking the two-term limit enacted by the US constitution (a piece of scripture that was written so that we may have a set of rules to abide by that would ensure that democracy and freedom would persevere) should be seen as more as Trump being, well...Trump, but rather as a gravely worrying utterance that confirms Trump's true intentions for America.
We must not let him fulfill his dangerous ambitions. He has (for the most part) failed to completely dismantle American democracy in one term, and it's unlikely he will in two. However, we must not let him have the opportunity to be third time lucky.