Is CNN right Trump unleashed ‘new threat to American democracy’ at CPAC?


Fact Box

  • On March 1, CNN reported President Trump was “unleashing [a] new threat to American democracy” at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, citing how Trump mentioned “suppress[ing]” the vote in 2024, expressed his dissatisfaction with the Supreme Court regarding the election results, and continued his stance on election fraud. 
  • Of the 1,000 attendees, 97% approved Trump’s presidency while 68% agreed he should run again in four years. 
  • According to Pew Research, Trump’s final job approval rating was 29%, a 9% drop since August 2020. 
  • For the first time in US history, Donald Trump became “the first president to be impeached twice,” the first in December 2019 for allegedly trying to persuade Ukranian officials to interfere with Biden’s campaign, and the second in January 2021 for allegedly provoking violence at Capitol Hill.

Kevin (Yes)

As CNN pointed out, Trump's continued claims of a fraudulent election and spreading of other falsehoods are problematic, showing his desire to continue stirring up the kind of unrest among his followers that led to violence on Jan. 6. It is especially troubling that so many high-ranking Republicans were in attendance, suggesting a willingness to continue down the path of authoritarianism and 'us vs. them' division that Trump represents. The fact that so many people either believe his claims or at least seem willing to go along with them shows a disturbing lack of trust in the government's legitimacy, especially considering the tendencies towards violence that have already been displayed. While it is indeed true that our democracy is flawed, this is not the way we should be looking to restore it, and even just looking the other way is a dangerous step.

Also, while some have attempted to brush it off, the resemblance of the CPAC stage to a Nazi symbol known as an Odal rune is difficult to ignore for anyone who is familiar with the way these movements work. 'Plausible deniability' is often a large part of their public image, and the U.S. National Socialist Movement specifically adopted a variation of this symbol in an attempt to 'go mainstream.' The golden Trump statue featured at CPAC also presents a troubling image of a movement that idolizes a 'strongman' leader, which is never a good sign for democracy.


Ethan (No)

CNN's claim about Trump unleashing a 'new threat' is nothing more than residual fear of the power he held and the damage he did while in office. Part of Trump's supposed threat is that he is potentially running in the 2024 presidential election. Considering Trump's status as the only president to ever be impeached twice and the fact that only one president in American history has ever served two non-consecutive terms, it's unlikely that Trump will be re-elected.

Biden's win over Trump is majorly due to the number of young voters who showed up to the polls. The newly-elected president had 'the support of 61% of people aged 18-29', according to The Guardian, and an increase of '10% in youth voter turnout'. There will be even more young voters in four years, meaning Trump's chances of winning are even slimmer. CNN explained that Trump 'intends to use his hold on its grassroots to try to suppress the vote heading into the presidential election in 2024'. We saw in the 2020 election that, while Trump may have money, democracy will always win. His plan to use grassroots organizations won't change the outcome. 

In CNN's article on Trump's 'new threat,' they discuss how Biden's COVID-19 stimulus package would speed up the US return to as close to a pre-pandemic normal as we can get, while Trump completely ignored the pandemic 'in his final weeks in office.' This pandemic cost thousands of people their lives and their loved ones. If Biden gets the pandemic under control, this will be a much needed turn around for America after Trump’s seemingly hectic term.

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