The short and constitutionally accurate answer is a resounding NO, but you’d be hard pressed to convince Donald Trump, his acolytes, and most fervent supporters. And it seems that no matter how many times leading political figures and political commentators say ‘liar, liar, pants on fire’ to Trump and his conspiracy stoking ilk, the former commander and chief has found a new way to fan the flames of electoral uncertainty that will apparently reignite a presidency that crashed and burned last November.
This ‘story’ was originally penned by the New York Times’s Maggie Haberman but was met with the usual shouts of ‘fake news’ from the Trump leaning occupants of the right. However, it would seem there is more to the story according to the leading conservative magazine and website National Review, who are now confirming that the former president does indeed believe he will soon be able to drop the prefix ‘former’.
The conservative stalwart magazine, founded by public intellectual, commentator, and conservative author William F. Buckley Jr., is now confirming that Donald Trump does genuinely believe that he will indeed take back the reigns of America this coming August. And according to their reporting, he is not alone is this belief as former Senators David Perdue and Martha McSally, both recently unseated Senate Republicans from Georgia and Arizona respectively, also believe that they will be “reinstated” later this summer.
The debate can be had as to whether this is truly down to an actual belief or just a mere strategy, however, Trump’s continued insistence that the election was stolen from him due to massive voter fraud, suggests that it’s a little from column A and column B. It should be noted that the author of the piece, senior writer Charles Cooke, cites a whole laundry list of sources, all of which remain curiously unnamed.
The doubt or authenticity of Trump’s reinstatement ‘belief’ isn’t just coming from the left leaning political commentators as the ex-president’s daughter-in-law and 2020 campaign consultant, Lara Trump, recently said in an interview, “As far as I know, there are no plans for Donald Trump to be in the White House in August,” but would immediately follow that statement with “Maybe there’s something I don’t know.” and would again dismiss the claims by adding that the reporting was merely “a lot of folks getting a little worked up about something.”
Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn has a more dangerous suggestion that doesn’t require auditing votes searching for those now widely debunked irregularities, by following another country’s example. The danger is, that country happens to be Myanmar. Speaking at the “For God & Country Patriot Roundup” conference in Dallas, a conference organized by adherents of the QAnon conspiracy theory, Flynn’s answer to a question from the crowd should send a chill down the spine of Democracy itself.
Mr. Flynn, who had already suggested back in December that the outgoing president could invoke martial law to force new elections in swing states, addressed the question “I want to know why what happened in Myanmar can’t happen here”, which made reference to the February 2021 coup d’état that overthrew the country’s semi-democratic government and brutal crackdown on dissent, with a candid and equally terrifying reply of “No reason. I mean, it should happen here. No reason.”
He was quick to reword his statement after many on both sides reacted with anger to such a suggestion, most notably from former Chair of the House Republican Conference, Liz Cheney, who took to Twitter to berate the United States Army veteran by commenting “No American should advocate or support the violent overthrow of the United States.” In an effort to clarify his words, Flynn retorted, “I am no stranger to media manipulating my words, and therefore let me repeat my response to a question asked at the conference: There is no reason it (a coup) should happen here (in America).”
And while such statements might be seen as accelerating a narrative that Trump not only won the 2020 election but will be reinstated by any means necessary, this is a belief that has long taken root among many Republican voters and politicians alike. A recent Monmouth University poll showed that roughly one-third of Americans believe that President Biden’s 2020 electoral victory was the result of widespread voter fraud, with 63% of GOP voters (and Republican-leaning voters) polled insisting that Biden was not legitimately elected president.
So, despite numerous lawsuits in a number of states being thrown out for providing less than zero evidence of widespread voter fraud and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issuing a statement calling the 2020 election “the most secure in American history” and noting “there is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.” it seems unlikely that the majority of Republicans are ready to walk off the hill they are currently dying on.
When August 2021 does inevitably roll around, the worry that permeates the minds of people with a more rational and pragmatic approach to American democracy, might not have time to giggle from behind a hand covering a mocking mouth, as they could be raising that same hand to shield the country from another mob storming the Capitol, as they did on January 6, but this time, gaining the desired outcome.