You’ve probably heard it before – the moniker “Teflon Don” – used to refer to former president Donald Trump’s seeming imperviousness to bad press and multiple lawsuits.
While the former commander-in-chief is facing multiple lawsuits and indictments – as well as a lot of negative news – his popularity among his voter base seems unshakable. Poll aggregator FiveThirtyEight puts Trump’s support among GOP voters in the upcoming Republican presidential primary at a whopping 56.6% — a very, very far cry from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who at second place manages to command a measly 14% support.
Even being booted out of a social media platform he used to use incessantly has not fazed Trump at all. After being kicked out of Twitter over the January 6 Capitol protests, Trump simply put up his own social media platform – Truth Social. While his following there is significantly less than what he had on Twitter, it still numbers in the millions – which is much more than what many other celebrities enjoy on more popular social media sites.
On Truth Social, he constantly feeds into his chosen narrative – that of a patriotic crusader that is being demonized and punished by an unjust and elite society. In between insulting his political rivals, detractors, and enemies – many of whom he has dubbed with less than flattering nicknames (“Birdbrain” Nikki Haley, “Liddle” Mike Pence, “Corrupt” or “Sleepy” Joe Biden, “Deranged” Jack Smith – the list goes on) – he paints all his legal woes and accusations with a wide brush, that of a political hatchet job against him.
What’s more, Trump seems to be setting the stage of what he will be doing if ever he does manage to get elected into White House for a second time. In the same way he claims the Biden administration has “weaponized” law enforcement to get him, he promises to do the same to political opponents in “third world”-style.
The Washington Post reports of a “Project 2025” initiative among Trump’s inner circle that threatens not only to enact legal revenge on people like former Attorney General Bill Barr and former White House chief of staff John Kelly – people who have been very critical of the former president in recent years. “It is unclear what alleged crimes or evidence Trump would claim to justify investigating his named targets,” the news outlet reports.
The Post also says that project also plans to expand presidential powers, such as empowering the military to quash protests on Inauguration Day in the event of a Trump victory.
Some observers have pointed to the irony of the level of Trump’s media coverage, which eclipses that of his rivals in the Republican primary. It has ostensibly cemented the former president in the consciousness of many GOP voters and overridden any desire to know more about alternative candidates. There’s also the fact the Democrats had a significant participation in the ouster of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, only to have him replaced with an even more right-wing die-hard in the form of current Speaker Mike Johnson.
Regardless of who is at fault, Democrats especially should be extra wary of a Trump victory, as additional missteps on their part might just work towards their undoing in the end.
Tim Ramos has written for various publications, corporations, and organizations – covering everything from finance, politics, travel, entertainment, and sports – in Asia and the U.S. for more than 10 years.