Seditionist Donald Trump is again a Republican candidate for president. Unfortunately for Trump's new campaign staff, "President" Donald now has an actual White House record behind him, and that's been causing complications. Much of what Trump is now vowing he'll do if put back in the Oval Office is the same stuff he promised to do before—but couldn't or didn't actually deliver.
Most of Trump's new campaign promises, in fact, have been falling into two broad categories. Half of the promises are overtly authoritarian vows, like Trump's threat to pardon the Jan. 6 insurrectionists who attacked Congress on his behalf; the other half are whining assertions that all that stuff he promised he'd do back during the first campaign are things he'll super-duper for sure do next time, just you wait.
The Trump campaign's latest ode de bullshitte combines fascist rhetoric, brazen lying, and a grubby chunk of base racism all into one alleged new promise: Trump says on his first day of office, he will sign an executive order nullifying the Constitution's grant of birthright citizenship to children born inside the United States.
If this sounds familiar, that's because it is. Trump very famously promised this during his last administration, making a big stink of it halfway through his term as a midterm campaign issue.
It didn't happen because the very idea is a goofy crank theory perpetuated by anti-immigrant and racist groups and one that's been widely scorned, if not laughed at, by every legal scholar who is not an outright far-right crank. What we call "birthright citizenship" is enshrined into the Constitution via the 14th Amendment; its validity has been settled law for over 120 years, and even the most fringe of conservative groups pin their hopes on Congress passing new legislation to theoretically strip those 14th Amendment protections.
That, then, is why "President" Trump's previous vow to issue such an order resulted in absolutely nothing happening; not even his own fringe-right advisers thought he could get away with it. Much like Trump's propositions to nuke hurricanes or purchase the whole of Greenland, Trump's advisers jingled some keys in his face or showed him an especially flattering magazine article and, eventually, were able to redirect his attention. It's showing up again now only because Trump has even worse advisers than he did the first time around, and because it's campaign season. Donald Trump will lie to his base about everything, all the time, even if it means retelling 8-year-old lies in the hopes that his scatterbrained supporters have the memory retention of goldfish.
There is, however, one odd bit of phrasing that caught our eye, if only for its vague twinges of Lovecraftian horror.
In announcing the new campaign pledge, the Trump campaign asserts that Trump's newly promised Day-One executive order "will explain the clear meaning of the 14th Amendment."
Now there's a thought. Forget 120 years of settled law, forget the courts, forget the rest of government: On Day One, Donald Trump will Trumpsplain what the 14th Amendment to the Constitution actually means.
Forget your Draculas, your mummies, your Mothras, and your Cthulhus. You want to know true fear? Imagine a future in which Donald Trump is again "president" and his White House announces that the Constitution of the United States now means whatever the hell the person, woman, man, camera, TV dementia-test-acing Trump thinks it means.
If you want to truly stare into the abyss, pull up a chair and watch the man Trumpsplain that the Third Amendment's prohibition against "quartering troops" in your house doesn't apply if they're all carrying nickels instead.
The Republican presidential primary race looks like it will be shaping up exactly as expected. If you're a Republican presidential primary voter who's really into fascism and being lied to, you don’t need to look any further than Trump. He’s got you covered. And it's not like Republican voters who still support Trump even after four years, two impeachments, one insurrection, and a criminal indictment might draw the line at Trump repeating previous campaign lies.
We could still be in for a surprise or two, though. The man could always jet off to Moscow, set up his own television studio, and spend his waking days Trumpsplaining our Constitution to us from half a world away. It'd be a lot easier on him than dragging himself up and down the White House stairs again, and have very nearly the same results. You might consider it, Donald!
We have Rural Organizing’s Aftyn Behn. Markos and Aftyn talk about what has been happening in rural communities across the country and progressives’ efforts to engage those voters. Behn also gives the podcast a breakdown of which issues will make the difference in the coming elections.
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