Why Trumpism Was the Reason Trump Was Able to Swindle Over $200M From the American People
And what that means for the future of American democracy.
I recently wrote an article titled “Dear Republicans, the Trumps of This World Will Never Be Your Friends.” As someone who’s lived under dictators, I could see Trump was no different, and that he would inevitably stab his own supporters in the back.
It turns out I was wrong — because he already has.
I was aware of the fact that Trump was gathering donations to fight his losing legal battles, but what I didn't know was how serious things had gotten.
As of 10th December, we’re talking $207.5 million serious.
Yes, the man who went around telling Republicans that their election had been “stolen” due to fraud has himself cheated them.
And this is what dictators do. First, they take your democracy. Then, they take your money. I’ve seen many different types of corruption: shady government contracts, kickbacks, stealing from the treasury, stealing foreign aid and dynasties giving their own family members what are essentially monopolies. But this?
No. This is far more dangerous.
Why? Because Trump didn't act like your quintessential corrupt dictator. He didn't steal their money against their will — he merely asked for it. And the millions poured in.
What this signifies, and I’ve used this term before, is “politician worship.” Everyone, from American courts, international media houses to foreign heads of states have unanimously accepted the result of the election. Everyone — except Trump and his allies in the GOP. And there’s a reason I’m spelling this out. Because the Republican donor looked at this and went, “no, I’m going to believe the man who’s only ever told the truth by accident.”
And if that's not enough, consider this — 2020 is the year of the coronavirus. What does that mean? Shrinked economies, job losses and more debt. In an economic climate like this, people still gave him their money?
This begs the question, why? I mean, sure, protesting on the streets makes sense — it doesn't cost you anything. But giving someone your hard-earned cash in a worldwide recession?
The answer lies in one word: Trumpism.
It’s the ideology that catapulted Trump to the White House. It’s the ideology that demands an America rife with hate, violence and ruled by whites. And you know it always existed. But it was never at centre-stage. It hid in the shadows. It waited — until Trump came along.
He was willing to risk decency and democracy to bring that America to life. He was so different from the norm, so outrageous, that the “Trump Army” couldn’t believe what they were seeing. Was he going to be the one? Their saviour? The man who would “Make America Great” in the way they thought it should’ve always been?
It was love at first sight.
But not for the man himself, rather the America he would build for them. And that’s why they’ve stood by his side through thick and thin. Not for him, but for “America.” That’s why they gave him their money — not to keep him in the White House but to save their America.
And that’s why Trump himself isn't the real problem. He’ll be gone after Biden’s inauguration — but what about the ideology that not only bagged him the presidency, support to overturn a democratic election but over $200 million in donations as well?
And in case you were wondering, it’s not going back into the shadows any time soon. Why? Because the Trumps of this world have gotten a taste for power. They now know the unthinkable is possible and that their “movement” was bigger than they could have ever dreamed of.
They now have the numbers to win election after election. And they would’ve won this one too had the people voting for Biden not turned out in historic numbers. And that’s the keyword there — historic. That’s what it takes to beat Trumpism.
The question is whether America’s willing to do that again. It’s not a question of “can” because it’s already done it. It really is whether Americans are willing. And I say that for a reason. Because what plagues the average voter, not just in America but around the world, is complacency. And Americans learnt that lesson only four years ago.
They didn't make the same mistake this time. If anything, they went the extra mile. But what about 2024? Or the midterms before that?
You see, American democracy, for the sole reason of being a democracy, was always fragile. It’s only now that the world has seen the cracks lurking beneath the surface. And like anything that's prone to breaking, it needs maintenance — regular maintenance.
So the times where you looked at both candidates and thought “I can’t really be bothered with either of them to be honest,” has gone. Because now, the other candidate is going to be waving Trumpist flags. American politics has reached the point where no Republican candidate can, for the next few elections at least, ignore why Trump got 73 million votes. And if they want to win, they're going to have to do exactly what Trump did.
So don’t be fooled into thinking that, just because he lost, Trumpism lost with him. Because, and make no mistake, this election was a resounding victory for Trumpism. Its ardent supporters now know they have the numbers to win. They know Americans are unlikely to vote again like they did this year. And that means what?
It’s only a matter of time.
And you know what that means? American democracy’s future is uncertain. And whilst the word “uncertain” may not sound catastrophic, this is a democracy we’re talking about. Factor in the hate, racism and fascism that lie at the other side of the “uncertainty” and you realise that all this election did was make a dent.
More to the point, what’s uncertain is not whether Trumpism will win — it’s already got the numbers. The question is whether Americans will turn out in the kind of numbers that are required to beat it.
Beginning to sound a lot more serious, isn't it?
This is why if there’s one thing Americans cannot afford, it’s complacency. It’s thinking losing this election was the nail in the coffin for Trump and his cronies. Politics doesn't work that way. It’s a game of numbers. And the Republicans have the numbers.
And whilst you may be thinking that the Democrats have more, a lot of them were simply voting against Trump. How many of the 80 million that voted for Biden actually voted for him? And this is where things get tricky. Because what happens if Trump doesn't run next time? How will those anti-Trump voters vote then?
You see, Trumpism isn't a politician. You don't see it standing on stage or on the news. It takes asking questions about why someone like Trump was able to become president to find it. How many average voters are going to do that? How many will be aware that Trumpism exists and that their duty to vote didn't end in 2020?
And whilst these questions hint at a potential GOP landslide, the upside is there are still four years between now and the next election. That’s four years for Americans to see Trump’s successors for what they truly are — more Trumps.
But that’s only going to happen if Americans take voting seriously and explain to others just why they have to vote. The country, as a whole, is going to have to take a serious interest in politics to see the danger its democracy is in.
And if not only for them, then the world. Because what happens in America is bound to ripple over. Sometimes it’s things like freedom of speech, which are good. But what about when it’s fascism?
That’s why there's a lot riding on the next election. It’s either going to be a resounding defeat for Trumpism or a launchpad for the spread of fascism throughout the world. And it all rests on whether Americans go out to vote.