Trump has no ground to stand on and no army, but his comments are still worrying.
While President Trump usually creates news with his Twitter presence, this week Trump’s retweets have created more opinion pieces than most of the substantive policy that has come out of the White House in months. On Sept. 29, Trump, quoting Pastor Robert Jefress, tweeted that in the unlikely event that the Democrats win the 2020 election, it would cause a Civil War-like fracture that the country would never heal from.
First, this message, while not Trump’s own thoughts, is amplifying voices that are trying to prevent a peaceful transfer of power, something that Washington strove for in the way he gave up the presidency two centuries ago. This is something that the country as a whole was built on, and by ignoring that cornerstone of American democracy, he is ignoring the ideals that elected him.
In addition, by threatening the country if he does not remain in his position of power, he is trying to limit both the voices and votes of the American people.
This also shows that Trump does not have confidence in his constituency. If Trump does not believe that Americans can consolidate behind the government that they elected, then he does not believe in the country that he governs, meaning that he does not believe in the people that gave him this power in the first place. By parroting these divisive views, he is showing how little he believes in the American public.
Trump’s words also harken back to a time when the United States was politically divided on an almost wholly geographic level, but if Trump took all of his supporters and tried to fight the Democratic supporters, he would be outnumbered by just the voting individuals that disagreed. This would not even include the individuals in opposition that could not or did note vote.
However, entertaining what that sort of division would look like is feeding into the narrative that Trump has decided to portray, and there is frankly no basis in his tweet. There is no actual world where most establishment Republicans would decide the correct decision after their failure to be re-elected would be to revolt. Yet, this is not the case for the entirety of the audience that read Trump’s tweet.
If you assumed that Trump’s statement was just another meaningless tweet, some Americans have been acting on the president’s words. There have been some tweets of several militia groups that have pledged support to Trump in the case of his failed re-election bid, which is concerning on its own, but is especially so as a reaction to Trump.
If simply repeating others’ words can do things that drastic, Trump’s tweet has significant power, and I am concerned what he can do with his continued usage of Twitter.