The impeachment of former US President Donald Trump by the House of Representatives, and his subsequent acquittal by the Senate, illustrate the power of political parties, or the lack thereof.
With the Democratic Party having a clear majority in the House of Representatives, it was easy to oust Trump. The acquittal in the Senate trial, however, was inevitable since the Republican Party has 50 percent of the senators. Under the US Constitution, condemnation needs the votes of two-thirds of all senators. Only seven senators voted with Democrats to condemn Trump despite his guilt having been convincingly established by House prosecution officials. This clearly shows Trump’s control over the Republican Party even though he is no longer president.
Especially the adulation and envy of Vladimir Putin of Russia, Kim Jong Un of North Korea and Xi Jinping of China led him to a clearly futile attempt to hang on to the presidency even though he had clearly lost. a democratic election. Of course, he continues to claim to have been cheated. But no matter how many times he alleges electoral cheating, his allegations will not become facts. The lesson Trump learned from the endurance of these three leaders is that once you have control of a party, you can control a country and you can be president for life or even be a dictator. He wanted to be like them, except he lost the election and couldn’t prove that he had been cheated. His three idols had not lost an election.
Since the fall of the last Czar, Russia and the satellite countries that made up the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics have been ruled for more than nine decades by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). Lenin saw and organized the CPSU as the party of the proletariat, a workers party. The Workers’ Party led by Lenin led a successful revolution in Russia. Compared to what Lenin and his workers’ party did, the failed Trump-led January 6 insurgency staged by right-wing Republican Party members was just, to quote Lenin, childish turmoil.
Even to this day, Russia continues to be ruled by a strong political party, with Putin as a strong leader who can become president for life if he wishes. Of course, there are opposition parties and groups in Russia, but these are still weak and their leaders often succumb to poisoning.
Xi Jinping is clearly the undisputed leader of China, and he occupies that position because of the Chinese Communist Party. Like Putin, he can be president of China for life. In North Korea, with a single and very powerful party, the presidency is conferred as a legacy from father to son, and the son can be president for life. In Cuba, the Communist Party made possible the transfer of power from Fidel Castro to his younger brother Raul.
Let me dream. If the Republican Party in the United States becomes the undisputed ruling party, Trump would not only be president for life but could also hand over the presidency to his son-in-law Jared Kushner or even his daughter Ivanka. Putin and the other strong leaders would certainly idolize Trump. However, I pray that this dream does not come true!
So what is Trump’s political future? Was the defeat to President Biden just a temporary, albeit embarrassing, debacle that delayed his ambition to be like Putin, Xi, Kim or Castro by about four years? From all indications, Trump is still the undisputed and feared leader of the Republican Party. He has raised hundreds of millions of dollars to fund his legal defense and party work. Forty-three Republican senators follow him blindly. It is still followed by the right-wing nucleus of the Partys.
In order for Trump to truly resemble his idols, he should be able to create a political party whose core is not only people who believe in alien abduction or other conspiracy theories, but with a strong buy-in from workers. It can also help if every now and then he can be honest, compassionate, and less of a Donald Trump. But, my friends, the possibility of all of this happening is zero, nada, zero, wala! Puro lang panaginip!
In our next conversation, I will talk about political parties in the Philippines.
Because after all, in politics, work is important.
Ruben Torres was Labor Secretary in the Cory Aquino administration and executive secretary to former President Fidel Ramos. Currently, he is the general secretary of the Asean Trade Union Council (ATUC). His e-mail address is [email protected]
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