By Shabbir Rizvi
Donald Trump may be out of the White House, but he is far from leaving the spotlight of American politics. Last week, the former megalomaniac president was arrested in a Miami court for allegedly possessing sensitive documents that as a private citizen, he no longer had the authority to possess.
The punishment for such a crime in the United States is decades of incarceration.
Despite the legal troubles (including the hush money fiasco in April), Trump has expressed his determination to challenge the incumbent president, Joe Biden, in the 2024 presidential election.
From the moment he lost in the 2020 election, Trump had sworn that he would return - all while challenging the legitimacy of the 2020 vote itself, claiming the results were manipulated.
Claiming the election results were manipulated in favor of his opponent sparked controversy as it challenged America’s so-called “democratic” system itself.
Never before had a candidate openly denounced the country’s election system - even Al Gore conceded to George Bush in 2000, despite winning the popular vote. Even some of Trump’s own party members distanced themselves from him when his assault on the electoral system began.
Trump’s presidency was a tumultuous period in American politics. However, the constant divisive and racist rhetoric only laid bare before the American people what was always the status quo - Trump just doubled down on the worst parts and was not afraid to gloat about it.
Four years under the Trump presidency saw relaxed taxes on American billionaires with average American workers picking up the tab.
It also saw reckless foreign policy - from coup attempts in Venezuela to the assassination of Iran’s top anti-terror commander Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Iraq (while he was on a diplomatic peace mission!), to the deployment of masked federal agents kidnapping and holding peaceful activists during the George Floyd uprising. Trump’s tenure in the White House was America unmasked and unhinged.
Trump’s only notable challenge in the Republican primary is Ron DeSantis - the governor of Florida. Though DeSantis does enjoy some support in his home state, polls still show Trump leading DeSantis in the double digits.
DeSantis’ angle is mostly in line with Trump’s - but without the condemnation of the political system itself, which is what mobilized Trump's base in the first place. DeSantis himself has a dark past - overseeing torture at Guantanamo, for example, as the Press TV website reported earlier this month.
On the flip side, there is the incumbent and gaffe-prone Joe Biden. Biden’s election win in 2020 sought to restore the United States to the “normalcy” of the pre-Trump era.
But the scars of the Trump era refuse to fade away - especially the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and the George Floyd uprising, which was the largest protest movement in American history - challenging the very nature of policing in the United States.
Biden had a unique opportunity to win the support of Americans. After the chaos of the Trump era, it should have been a political cakewalk. However, Biden has failed to deliver anything.
In fact, he has overseen a worsening of conditions and even made things worse himself - for example, his administration cut SNAP benefits, which provided billions of dollars of food and resources for struggling Americans.
The flagship “Build Back Better” plan, a title that affirmed the chaos of the Trump era, was also completely gutted.
The promises of better infrastructure, pathways to education, childcare, and more have been abandoned. Student loans, which were paused by the Trump administration in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, are now returning under Biden - without any debt relief for borrowers.
Biden has also locked the nation and its allies - rather clients - into the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Biden has authorized billions of dollars of spending to help Ukraine defeat Russia. But, with no significant victory in sight, Americans have just witnessed billions of their tax dollars go literally up in smoke - while their infrastructure crumbles, schools shut down, and the cost of living goes up.
And there is, of course, Biden’s health itself. Critics have noted he is constantly either stumbling over himself or fumbling his words. This past weekend, Biden raised eyebrows when he said “God save the Queen, man” at a speech in Connecticut.
This may come as a shock to Biden’s most insistent supporters, but the Queen is in fact dead and does not have anything to do with the US state of Connecticut.
Biden himself has mentioned that he gets in trouble if he goes off-script during his speeches. A president that cannot be trusted to say his own thoughts is essentially just a sock puppet for his party.
A notable challenger to Biden from within his own party is Robert F. Kennedy Jr - a staunch supporter of the Zionist occupation - but challengers to incumbents within their own party have been typically unsuccessful.
Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Americans are preparing to vote in another polarizing election come 2024. Trump is mobilizing his base by condemning the entire political apparatus, saying the system is rigged while facing dozens of legal battles that can block him from the presidency.
Biden, on the other hand, is struggling to positively spin the multiple political failures his administration is facing - and the best he can come up with at the current moment is that he is not Donald Trump.
Despite what comes of Trump’s legal battles or Biden’s political failures, one thing is for sure - Americans lose in the end.
Shabbir Rizvi is a Chicago-based political analyst with a focus on US internal security and foreign policy.
(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV)