Our recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses the state of the parties. The state of the GOP is not good. Trump and his minions falsely claimed that he won the election, and have kept repeating the Big Lie. And we now know how close he came to subverting the Constitution.
Donald Trump mocked questions about authoritarianism on Tuesday, saying he would be a dictator only on "day one," and then he's going to close the border and get to drilling.
"After that, I'm not a dictator, OK?" the Republican presidential frontrunner told Fox News host Sean Hannity before a very friendly crowd in Davenport, Iowa.
Trump declined to discuss his pledges of "retribution" against political opponents, including threats to investigate President Joe Biden and others who have criticized him.
Biden and other opponents, including some Republicans, describe Trump as a grave threat to democracy, and this will likely be a huge issue in the 2024 election.
A confidant of Donald J. Trump who is likely to serve in a senior national security role in any new Trump administration threatened on Tuesday to target journalists for prosecution if the former president regains the White House.
The confidant, Kash Patel, who served as Mr. Trump’s counterterrorism adviser on the National Security Council and also as chief of staff to the acting secretary of defense, made the remarks on a podcast hosted by Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s former strategist, during a discussion about a potential second Trump presidency beginning in 2025.
“We will go out and find the conspirators, not just in government but in the media,” Mr. Patel said. “Yes, we’re going to come after the people in the media who lied about American citizens, who helped Joe Biden rig presidential elections — we’re going to come after you. Whether it’s criminally or civilly, we’ll figure that out.” He added: “We’re actually going to use the Constitution to prosecute them for crimes they said we have always been guilty of but never have.”
Earlier in the interview, when asked by Mr. Bannon whether a new administration would “deliver the goods” to “get rolling on prosecutions” early in a second term, Mr. Patel noted that the Trump team had a “bench” of “all-America patriots,” but he said he did not want to name any names “so the radical left-wing media can terrorize them.”
If reelected, Trump would attempt to gain authoritarian control of the Defense Department’s uppermost levels from the very beginning. There are more Anthony Tatas and Douglas Macgregors out there, and Trump’s allies are likely already seeking to identify them. If the Senate refused to confirm Trump’s appointees, it wouldn’t matter much: Trump has learned that he can keep rotating people through acting positions, daring the Senate to stop him.
The career civil servants underneath these appointees—who work on everything from recruiting to nuclear planning—would disobey Trump if he attacked the constitutional order. These civilians, by law, cannot be fired at will, a problem Trump tried to remedy in the last months of his administration by proposing a new category of government appointments (Schedule F) that would have converted some of the most important civil-service positions into political appointments directly controlled by the White House. President Joe Biden immediately repealed this move after taking office, but Trump has vowed to reinstate it.
In his two-pronged offensive to capture the military establishment while eviscerating the civil service, Trump would likely rely on former officers such as Miller and fringe-dwelling civilians such as Patel, but he would also almost certainly find at least a few serving senior officers—he would not need many—who would accept his offer to abandon their oath. Together, they would make a run at changing the nature of the armed forces.