The most troubled US presidency in decades ends next Wednesday at noon (2 p.m., Brasilia) (20). But Donald Trump will continue to try to gain attention to remain prominent in US politics, in reverse to what other former presidents of the country have done.
Trump was one of the most aggressive – and perhaps the most undemocratic – leaders to occupy the White House. He, who has always sought confrontation rather than conciliation, was on the verge of delivering a country already divided and severely affected by the pandemic. But his legacy gained even greater taint in his last days in power, sparking an insurgency against Congress.
As a result, Trump was banned from social media and the second impeachment process passed in the House of Representatives – now, with the support of ten Republicans, a sign the party is divided. On the flip side, 197 supporters voted against the action, and many of them made fervent speeches in defense of the president.
The decision to dismiss him and, above all, to make him lose his political rights, excluding the possibility of him running again for the presidency, will fall, more than in the Senate, to the Republican Party. It takes 67 votes to condemn Trump, and Democrats will only have 50 when the matter is heard in the House.
“The main question is how the Republican Party will resolve its internal differences. If the establishment will prevail, or if the legend will continue to depend on Trumpism ”, assesses Sérgio Amaral, former Brazilian ambassador to Washington (2016-2019) and researcher at Cebri (Brazilian Center for International Relations).
Trump has managed to keep his approval relatively stable across the government, hovering around 40%, with a mix of new and old strategies. On the one hand, he sought to deliver on campaign promises, such as restricting immigration, creating jobs, and defending conservative agendas – better access to carrying weapons and a ban on abortion, for example.
On the flip side, he has maintained a climate of constant tension, his rivals posing as deadly enemies, in addition to denying the risks of global warming and the coronavirus pandemic, often based on lies and silly theories.
After the Capitol invasion, the president saw that approval rating plummet. According to a survey conducted by the Reuters news agency with Ipsos, this figure was 34% – the lowest figure since the end of 2017. Monitoring by the specialist site FiveThirtyEight indicates that it is not only the most sharp decline in the index since the start of the term, but a sample of this erosion has happened to Republican voters.
So, the latest White House sonnet goes against Trump’s tactic of presenting himself as infallible to his supporters. The strategy was to show that those who followed him could also benefit from this success, noted writer Anne Applebaum in an article for The Atlantic magazine. “The Trumpists don’t want democracy, prosperity, freedom or equality, but the fantasy of endless victory.”
The results are questionable: he led Republicans to lose control of the House and Senate and was defeated in the election, even though he managed to catalyze 74 million votes, the second highest rating in an election presidential election in the history of the United States. strength to keep a base engaged.
“He established a channel of communication with a mass of voters that was not directly activated by the Republican Party. This population which, in a way, has recognized itself as the one that has suffered the most from the costs of globalization, without any quid pro quo, hopes that Trump can still be the solution, ”says Neusa Bojikian, researcher at the Institute. National Science and Technology Institute for US Studies.
So many Republicans fear losing votes to Trump. On the other hand, defending your actions is increasingly difficult, as they endanger American democracy itself.
“In the United States, when a president loses re-election, party dynamics quickly bring out new leaders. The leader defeated at the polls has a loser stamp, ”says Leandro Consentino, professor of political science at Insper. “But Trump is trying to change that by creating the narrative that he’s good and that he only lost because there was fraud.”
A personalist, the president did not encourage the appearance of successors and even struggled with names that helped him in the 2016 victory, such as strategist Steve Bannon. even so, some candidates are springing up in an attempt to represent their legacy: Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as well as family members, such as son-in-law Jared Kushner, who was involved in the negotiations for foreign policy, and his children Ivanka and Donald Jr.
To stay in the spotlight after he leaves office, Trump will need to overcome more obstacles. First of all, you need to find a new way to talk directly to millions of people. He was banned from Twitter, his main medium of communication, and, for now, he depends on the press to get his messages to a large audience. Ironically, across government he has treated journalists as enemies, with various public offenses.
Convincing millions of people to follow you on platforms that they usually don’t have access to on a daily basis will be a complex task. And social networks that don’t moderate hate speech can end up without access to servers, like with Talking.
Trump is also seen as an icon of right-wing populism that has gained momentum in recent years in countries like Brazil, Italy and Hungary. Experts stress, however, that the Republican has few means to take advantage of it, since “several leaders have distanced themselves after the invasion of Congress”, explains Ambassador Sérgio Amaral. “The attack was very badly received, especially in European countries.”
“Right-wing heads of state in other countries will have to be prepared to sacrifice a good relationship with Biden to stay close to Trump,” said Roberto Moll, professor of American history at Federal University Fluminense.
Trump has already said he will not come into Biden’s possession on Wednesday. According to the New York Times, he is expected to leave the White House to the sound of a military orchestra, with a red carpet stretched out. You may be giving a farewell speech at a rally in Florida. If the event does occur, it will be his first test of popularity outside of the office.
There are also warnings that Trump supporters are planning acts of violence on inauguration day, which will have a strong military presence, to try to prevent scenes like the one at the start of the month from happening again.
“This tumultuous political scene must last for some time, as it reflects dormant social conflicts. Trump’s abrasive style of radicalizing everything has reignited old issues, such as the racial issue and inequality, ”Amaral said. “And the Biden government will have to face these controversial issues, which it has promised to resolve.”