acemoglu66_Michael M. SantiagoGetty Images_trump protest Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

What Anti-Trumpism Is Missing

While Donald Trump’s plans for destroying American democracy must be highlighted constantly ahead of the 2024 election, the center and the left need to acknowledge why so many people still support such a candidate. For the Democrats, that means reconnecting with working-class voters and supporting their long-neglected interests.

BOSTON – These are unique and troubling times for the United States. A twice-impeached former president who now faces four separate indictments for serious crimes is the de facto leader of one of the two main political parties. Having remade the Republican Party in his image, Donald Trump will almost certainly be its nominee in the 2024 presidential election, despite mounting evidence of his financial misdeeds and role in an attempted coup. While Democrats fared well in various elections this month, polls show Trump leading US President Joe Biden in key battleground states. Clearly, something is rotten in the American Republic.

A second Trump presidency would be a much greater threat to democracy than the first. Trump’s own outlook and rhetoric suggest that he has been radicalized further, and his supporters have now learned from their failed attempt to overturn the 2020 election. Friendly think tanks are drawing up plans to dismantle the US government’s checks and balances, allowing Trump to usher in a police state targeting his political opponents. The Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025 aims to “create a playbook of actions to be taken in the first 180 days of the new administration to bring quick relief to Americans suffering from the left’s devastating policies.” Central to that effort will be to staff key positions with Trumpian cadres.

While Trump and his enablers in the political establishment obviously bear the blame for this dire state of affairs, so do the American left and the fact-based media, which have failed to develop a well-calibrated response. Reactions vary from implicit normalization (who can deny a major party’s choice of nominee?) to showing zero tolerance toward Trump’s supporters. But a practical blueprint for addressing the situation is missing, even though the future of American democracy is at stake.