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Still a long way to go until the arrival of the ‘post-Trump’ era

Still a long way to go until the arrival of the ‘post-Trump’ era

Posted November. 18, 2020 08:16,   

Updated November. 18, 2020 08:16


Ten days has passed since Joe Biden won the presidency in the U.S. presidential election. In normal circumstances, the vision, policies, and schedule of the new president-elect would fill the news but this year it is different. We are seeing as many news stories about President Donald Trump. Most of the news stories are about his refusal to accept the result of the election or his future plans rather than his governing of the country as the president.

President Trump’s refusal to accept the defeat is not likely to last long. President Trump would need 38 or more electoral votes in order to secure a second term, which means he would have to reverse the election results in at least three swing states through lawsuits and recounts. The possibility is low even in Arizona, where Trump had the lowest gap with Biden, because Biden led Trump by more than 10,000 votes. There may be small or big controversies in the process of choosing the electoral college due to the complexity of the U.S. electoral system but the election results are not likely to be overturned.

But we will be hearing more news stories about President Trump’s future plans down the road. Few people expect Trump to voluntarily leave politics. If he stays in the political arena, he will aim to run for the 2024 presidential election and he is already quite ready, according to foreign news media reports. The Washington Post and The New York Times reported that Trump is talking seriously about running again in 2024 and he will soon make official announcement.

President Trump’s recent announcement of his endorsement of Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman for another term and the establishment of a leadership political action committee (PAC) seem to be part of his strategy to continue to exert influence in the Republican Party. He is aiming to be the “leader of the opposition party” first in order to run for president again.

The road ahead, however, is not all rosy for President Trump. Politicians say “politics are a living organism.” There are many cases, where a politician suffers a crushing defeat in the next election after garnering many votes in the previous election. Public sentiment and election landscape change over time. There was only one case in the history of U.S. politics in the 19th century, where a president, who once failed to win reelection, succeeded in winning the presidency again. Politicians normally lose their influence and popularity once they leave their job.

But many say it is difficult to find a replacement for Trump in the Republican Party for the time being. CNN reported that President Trump is not just the dominant figure in the GOP but the “only face” of the party. President Trump received over 73 million votes in the election, which is the second-ever highest number of votes following Biden’s 78.8 million. This means Trump has a strong supporter base and has such a strong brand name that there is even a term “Trumpism.” This is why Republicans, who are sensitive to public sentiment, cannot quit Trump.

There is a high chance that Republicans will control the Senate. If Trump-led Republicans in the Senate put a brake on Biden’s policies and appointments, Biden will have difficulties in getting his job done. This is likely to affect not only domestic policies in the U.S. but also its policies on diplomacy, national security, and trade. This is why other countries are paying attention to Trump’s moves. The Democratic Party’s “anti-Trump strategy” worked in the U.S. presidential election, but it will take some time before the arrival of the “post-Trump” era.

Taeck-Dong Chang will71@donga.com