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DONALD TRUMP
Columns
Opinion articles written in the style of their author. These texts are to be based on verified facts and must be respectful towards people, even though their actions may be criticized. All opinion articles written by individuals from outside the staff of EL PAÍS shall feature, along with the author’s name (regardless of their greater or lesser renown), a footer stating their office, academic title, political affiliation (if any) and main occupation, or the occupation related to the topic being assessed

Trump charges in advance

The tycoon has not only displaced the economy from public conversation, but his more radical proposals have penetrated a White House incapable of defending the progress of the country

Trump
Former U.S. president Donald Trump at a rally in Rochester, New Hampshire, on January 21.MIKE SEGAR (REUTERS)

Seal off the borders to immigration. End the Ukraine war in 24 hours. Give free rein to Netanyahu to resolve the future of Gaza to his liking. We do not need to wait for Donald Trump to confirm his advantage over Joe Biden in the presidential election of November 5 to gauge the extent to which the extremist political agenda is making strides. Confident in the defects and weaknesses of the former president, especially his 91 felony counts across four cases, his adversaries have not sufficiently valued his strengths, which he also has, even if these end up favoring the enemies of the United States, as the very conservative Liz Cheney has pointed out.

In tune with Europe’s far right, Trump has already made immigration the key issue on which his presidential bid will be based. Not only has he displaced the economy from public conversation, once the main concern of voters, but his most radical proposals have penetrated a White House incapable of defending the progress of the country. The Senate is debating unusual legislation to limit asylum and the admission of foreigners that has proven to be the toughest in the last 100 years. The White House has surrendered to the Republican blackmail that conditioned the financing of the war in Ukraine on tough immigration policies, although it has also added to the bill financial aid for Israel, which the Republicans wanted to approve separately and without conditions. Pure Trump under disguise.

Once the ideas were adopted, the rebuff came, and not because Biden’s legislation is moderate, but because Trump will give him nothing, neither success nor prominence, even if he agrees with his proposals. He wants to see the president reach election day in a state of exhaustion, with the entire country and, if possible, the whole world in disarray. This is how Trumpist republicanism, increasingly hegemonic, will vote against its own proposals, despite the fact that not even a hypothetical control of the presidency and all the institutions (the House, the Senate and the Supreme Court) is any guarantee that they will be able to pass such conservative legislation in the future. The most progressive Democrats will also follow the same path, regardless of whether Trump is the beneficiary.

In the absence of regulation, the threat that the border might be closing in 2025 with a new president in charge will meanwhile act as a powerful magnet for those who aspire to cross it. When the polls open, Trump would prefer to see an alarming surge in migrants to the United States; for Ukraine to retreat, and for the Gaza war, so divisive for Democrats, to keep raging under Netanyahu. Crises must be kept going in order to win the elections with the promise of the victories that Trump will reap as soon as he returns to the Oval Office. It’s about charging for the chaos in advance so that chaos can win in November, and just in case chaos ends up losing after all.

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