Leftist media outlets — the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Atlantic — are stoking fear about a second Trump administration as former President Donald Trump leads President Joe Biden in key polling.
On Friday, Washington Post Editor-at-Large Robert Kagan wrote an op-ed titled “A Trump dictatorship is increasingly inevitable. We should stop pretending.” That was followed by a Monday excerpt labeled “The Fear of a Looming Trump Dictatorship” by columnist Ishaan Tharoor in the Post’s Today’s WorldView Newsletter.
“In just a few years, we have gone from being relatively secure in our democracy to being a few short steps, and a matter of months, away from the possibility of dictatorship,” wrote Kagan.
He expressed worry that if Trump were to win back the White House, he could potentially seek a third term and disregard the Twenty-Second Amendment:
What about the desire for reelection, a factor that constrains most presidents? Trump might not want or need a third term, but were he to decide he wanted one, as he has sometimes indicated, would the 22nd Amendment block him any more effectively from being president for life than the Supreme Court, if he refused to be blocked? Why should anyone think that amendment would be more sacrosanct than any other part of the Constitution for a man like Trump, or perhaps more importantly, for his devoted supporters?
On Monday, the New York Times’ Charlie Savage, Jonathan Swan, and Maggie Haberman authored a piece making the case that “a Second Trump Presidency May be More Radical Than His First.”
They contend that checks on Trump would be “weaker,” and he would have a stronger opportunity to implement “more extreme policy plans.”
The trio wrote:
What would be different in a second Trump administration is not so much his character as his surroundings. Forces that somewhat contained his autocratic tendencies in his first term — staff members who saw their job as sometimes restraining him, a few congressional Republicans episodically willing to criticize or oppose him, a partisan balance on the Supreme Court that occasionally ruled against him — would all be weaker.
As a result, Mr. Trump’s and his advisers’ more extreme policy plans and ideas for a second term would have a greater prospect of becoming reality.
The Atlantic announced Monday morning that it is launching a special issue that “warns of the grave and extreme consequences if former President Trump were to win in 2024” and argues that “Trump and Trumpism pose an existential threat to America and to the ideas that animate it.”
Eight essays from the issue were published on Monday, and four more will be released daily through Friday. In one piece published Monday titled “The Danger Ahead,” David Frum writes, “If he wins the election, Trump will commit the first crime of his second term at noon on Inauguration Day: His oath to defend the Constitution of the United States will be a perjury.”
A second Trump term would instantly plunge the country into a constitutional crisis more terrible than anything seen since the Civil War. Even in the turmoil of the 1960s, even during the Great Depression, the country had a functional government with the president as its head. But the government cannot function with an indicted or convicted criminal as its head. The president would be an outlaw, or on his way to becoming an outlaw. For his own survival, he would have to destroy the rule of law.
Forthcoming pieces in the collection include titles such as “China Will Get Stronger,” “Extremists Emboldened,” and “Civil Rights Undone.”
Trump allies slammed the stories in a series of posts on X on Monday.
“The Leftwing fascists at @TheAtlantic and @washingtonpost have spent all morning ridiculously calling my father a ‘Dictator’ and ‘authoritarian,’ so I figured I would remind them what a real authoritarian Dictator actually looks like!” Donald Trump Jr. wrote, sharing a picture of Biden’s infamous speech in which he railed against “MAGA Republicans.”
Ohio Republican Senate candidate Bernie Moreno retweeted Trump Jr., writing, “Authoritarian Dictators in every 3rd world Banana Republic use the power of the State to try to put their political opposition in prison.”
“The only President of the United States guilty of that in my lifetime is Joe Biden,” he added.
Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) wrote in his own post that “articles calling Trump a dictator are about one thing: legitimizing illegal and violent conduct as we get closer to the election.”
“Everyone needs to take a chill pill,” he added.
The similar narratives from the three publications come as Democrats are reportedly concerned about Biden’s prospects in a potential general election rematch with Trump. Biden, who turned 81 in November, had an average approval rating on Black Friday that was worse than his last three predecessors, including Trump’s, at similar points in their presidencies, according to RealClearPolitics’ data. Moreover, he trails Trump in the RealClearPolitics polling average by 1.7 percentage points and lags in much of the latest swing state polling.
CRASH LANDING! Biden Falls at U.S. Air Force Academy Commencement