For the past five years American politics has been completely and utterly dominated by the sheer controversy of one man, Donald Trump. Now that it is clear that he has lost the election, will the “Trump Era” end or will the specter of a one-term president haunt the country for the years to come?
Historically, after their time in office has ended, Presidents have been “quiet,” at least in terms of politics. After the end of his second term, George W. Bush left to his 1,538 acre Texas Prairie Chapel Ranch and did not do much to appear in the public eye. Similarly, Barack Obama has stayed outside of the political sphere, opting to not endorse anyone during the democratic primaries. However, he did endorse and campaign for Joe Biden for president after the primaries.
It seems unthinkable to believe that Trump’s years out of office will be even remotely as quiet as previous presidents. Anyone familiar with his personality knows that he will almost surely try and remain politically active; many people even speculate that he will attempt to make some sort of media operation, a “Trump T.V.” if you will. Others have speculated that he will attempt to run for republican nomination in 2024, including former Trump’s own former Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney . If so, he would be one three presidents who both lost their re-election bids but ran a third time, the other two being Martin Van Buren and Grover Cleveland .
The main evidence that Trump will not be quiet after leaving office is the fact that he has not been “humiliated” — at least to his iron-clad republican base. According to a Reuters/ Ipsos poll conducted after the election, 41 percent of Republicans still believe that Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election . According to a different poll by Political/Morning Consult, 70 percent of Republicans do not believe the 2020 election was free and fair . These numbers are astonishing — and simply illustrate the fact that many already knew — the President still has a base of support that will never abandon him. Additionally, the election was no landslide for Biden — who won a few key states by a few tens of thousands of votes. It was a similar margin of victory for Biden as it was for Trump in 2016.
Pair all of this with the fact that Trump himself has not — and probably never will — acknowledge his loss and it sets Trump in an incredibly lucrative political position that no former president has ever been in. Whether or not he runs in 2024 or not is still in question, but it is undeniable that the more likely scenario is that the Trump’s political operations continue for well past his presidency.
The other question is whether or not the mainstream media will offer any coverage of Trump’s comments, controversies, or tweets. It would be incredibly difficult for Trump to keep his influence over the political era without it. One would infer that much of the more “liberal” enterprises like CNN, MSNBC, or the New York Times will not be covering Trump much after January 20th. Right-leaning outlets like Fox News and the New York Post are a different question — the former has seemingly distanced itself from Trump on a few occasions recently — for example Fox Host Niel Cavudo recently interrupted Trump’s Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany when she charged the Democrats with “welcoming fraud and welcoming illegal voting” . There is also evidence that Trump supporters aren’t too happy with this either — Trump voters shouted “Fox news sucks” after they called the election for Joe Biden . Even with this apparent estrangement, it is still likely that many Fox shows, like Laura Ingram, Fox and Friends, and Shaun Hannity will continue to invite Trump on regularly to comment on political events. Additionally, Trump’s new favorite news show — the far-right reactionary OANN (One America News Network) will surely continue to grow amongst the Republican base. Due to this one might incline that for the more “liberal” media — the Trump era will probably appear to have ended, however, lurking in the shadows the Trump era and political enterprise will still be alive and well.
William Rose is a Political Science student at Baruch College in New York City.