Let’s fast-forward developments in America a bit and skip to the fact that the Democrats will most likely lose control of the House – perhaps in spectacular fashion too – and Speaker Nancy Pelosi will retire to California. The Republican Party is to a great extent held hostage by Donald Trump and everything indicates that he can destroy someone’s career with a single tweet, leading even the most accomplished lawmaker to defeat in the midterm elections.
Let’s fast-forward a bit further. At some point in the fall of 2023, President Joe Biden will probably announce that he won’t be running for the presidency again – this is regarded as a more or less inevitable development. Everyone in Washington agrees that he’s running on two pistons when he was expected to run on four and ought to have been running on six. When you think about it, though, and the fact that if he were re-elected he’d be 86 years old by the time he left the White House (well above Ronald Reagan’s 77 years), his departure seems even more inevitable. Under normal circumstances, the vice president would be the best candidate to follow in his footsteps, but Kamala Harris has failed to convince anybody that she’s got what it takes, so no one is taking her candidacy seriously.
And then we have Trump. He is not a teenager either (76). But he has an endless appeal for a very large section of American society. He also has the unquenchable ambition and drive to run for president once again. His followers are not at all interested in his anti-institutional behavior, in whether he came close to leading America to civil war. They do not care about any of that. They believe in his own “truth” and consider that every other view of things is a product of conspiracy by the “system.”
The prospect of his re-election scares many people, both in the US and in Europe. A Trump II will feel completely free and will not hesitate to do anything, no matter how heretical or “crazy” it is. All certainties about the course of Euro-Atlantic relations or Western policy toward Russia will collapse overnight. This is an issue that everyone is afraid of and is trying to push aside as a topic of discussion to avoid burdening the atmosphere during meetings.
Former German chancellor Angela Merkel said a Trump re-election in 2024 would be tantamount to the end of the West. It would certainly mean the end of the West as we know it. Domestic developments in the United States will be decisive.