People For the American Way

Svante Myrick for The Hill: The fantasy that indictments will stop Donald Trump is fading fast


You can find anything on the internet, and one of those things is a countdown clock that tracks exactly how many days, hours, minutes and seconds remain until Election Day 2024. As those minutes slip by and former President Trump continues to dominate the Republican primary field, a scary truth is coming into sharper focus.

The cavalry is not coming. Neither the courts nor other Republicans appear likely to stop Donald Trump in time for the general election. Legal theories about how he might be disqualified face an enormous uphill battle. Anybody waiting for a deus ex machina moment that sweeps Trump from the scene is wishcasting in an increasingly dangerous way.

I get it because I used to be in the same camp. Most people are uncomfortable thinking about worst-case scenarios. But if a second Trump presidency is one of your worst fears, it’s time to face it head-on.

The warning signs are all around. Trump’s diehard base is not going away. Millions are still in thrall to the Big Lie. Trump’s ratings in polls are untouched by his numerous felony charges. He’s a master of publicity and knows how to use it to his advantage. His closest competitors in the Republican primary have been reluctant to criticize him — and there are so many that no one person can consolidate anti-Trump sentiment.

And, most critically and recently, it now looks like Trump’s criminal court cases won’t be resolved before Election Day.

All of this means that the time for sitting on the sidelines is over. Progressives, Democrats — and independents — who don’t want another Trump term need to volunteer, fundraise, organize and get behind one candidate now, because the 2024 presidential election is going to be a rollercoaster ride like nothing we’ve ever seen.

To put it bluntly, while President Biden deserves to win next year, that is hardly guaranteed. Media can’t stop obsessing over his age, and he’s getting very little credit for historically low unemployment and inflation that is significantly down from last year’s highs. In fact, the increasingly robust economy gets relentlessly negative media coverage.

There are also at least three possible challenges from third-party candidates, including Cornel West, Robert Kennedy Jr. and the No Labels group. None of them can win. But they could easily hand the election to Trump.

It is going to take time to build grassroots support and ensure the turnout it will take to defeat Trump. And the other side will not play fair. Team Trump has already shown us that it will use misinformation, disinformation and voter suppression to try to win. Fighting back — especially now when advances in technology have made disinformation even more convincing and dangerous than it was in 2020 — is going to take unprecedented time and resources.

Need more convincing? More analysts are starting to say the unthinkable aloud: that if reelected, Trump would never leave office willingly, even though he is constitutionally limited to two terms. We saw what happened the first time. He now knows even more about how to manipulate the levers of power and the emotions of a crowd.

Backing him up would be a very scary effort called Project 2025. Designed by the Heritage Foundation to come into play if Trump takes office again, it charts a course for establishing virtually limitless presidential power while obliterating most of the federal government with mass purges and firings.

This is not hyperbole; it’s real. And we have just over one year to stop it.

To all the serious, well-meaning people who believe Donald Trump will be in prison or otherwise disqualified by Election Day, this is a wake-up call. It’s not going to happen. We have to mobilize.

The clock is ticking.


Big Lie, Donald Trump, election