Barney: Forget Donald Trump


Claire Peterson

(Graphic by Claire Peterson | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Sebastian Barney, Opinion Writer


Thanks to the efforts of Elon Musk, Donald Trump is now allowed to return to Twitter — but so far he’s refrained from coming back, citing he sees no reason to return.

One thing is clear: Jan. 6 sent a message. Trump’s camp is not afraid to insurrect against the United States government if things don’t go their way. And historically, fascists have done similar things to achieve or maintain power. And with Trump’s bid for the 2024 presidential election, he very well may return to power.

Donald Trump is a fascist and we can’t allow him to have a platform. His return to Twitter could mean he has a mainstream platform to spread his ideology. Whether or not he decides to engage with Twitter is irrelevant; if he can come back to spread misinformation and fascist rhetoric and never accept responsibility, we are in trouble.

Regardless of labels, Trump has a history of shoddy leadership. His 2016 campaign was drowning in scandals. He constantly made racist statements about the Mexican community as well as ableist and sexist remarks. Even prior to his campaign, he had several lawsuits filed against him for sexual assault, as well as illegitimate business practices.

Donald Trump has an image of false success and shady practices, which maintained consistency during his campaign. If you pay attention to the words said by Trump, there is rarely anything of substance. This isn’t unexpected — he’s a businessman and a politician, but it’s worth understanding what comes out of leaders’ mouths.

Most of his campaign promises were basic publicity stunts. Plans to “build a wall” along the border were never completed. He used these promises to raise absurd amounts of money over the course of several years, and in fact still collects from donors. This matches his track record from when he was a businessman — several lawsuits were filed against him for not completing real estate projects despite taking large sums of money.

All of this makes no mention of his proclivity to incite violence at his rallies and other events.

His consistent threats to those who don’t support him are emblematic of fascists of the past. He’s called for the jailing of Hillary Clinton multiple times. During his initial tenure as president, he forced judges through at every level, actively disregarded the rule of law and got impeached twice. Even without his fascist tendencies, he’s a problematic leader.

More of his issues come from his failure to accept reality, his affinity to other national extremists and his record of insurrection attempts. He himself has said he considers himself a nationalist. He garners the support of white supremacist organizations and those who have made antisemitic remarks. He maintains that he won the 2020 Election, even though he did not. To put a cherry on top, he tried to enforce his delusion to stay in office via insurrection.

This is a populist man who is a nationalist, keeps the company of nationalists and has already tried to overthrow the government. Calling him a fascist puts it lightly.

Unfortunately, there is still a number of people who support Donald Trump. If we wish to prevent the spread of fascism in the U.S., we need to de-platform him. He cannot be allowed to return to mainstream politics.

Twitter has hundreds of millions of users and is arguably one of the most influential social media platforms to exist right now. If Trump returns, he will communicate dangerous rhetoric to millions of people once again — he’s already done it before. His social media use in 2020 allowed him to perpetuate the “big lie” to maintain that he won the election, and subsequently he used its power in his insurrection attempt and initial rise to power.

While Trump shouldn’t be allowed to return to Twitter, it’s imperative that other social media platforms maintain their suspension of his accounts. His running in 2024 may mean that Trump-loving social media platforms exempt his accounts from fact checking. Facts are important, and Trump’s blatant apathy for them doesn’t give me hope that he will suddenly start maintaining objectivity. He will utilize the lack of moderation to spread fascist ideology if he’s allowed on social media.

In addition, Republicans need to dethrone him at the Republican National Convention. Conservatism isn’t fascism. Conservatives want to ensure prosperity to the country, not overthrow it. Considering the state of the American right, it’s the responsibility of the right to reign in their base — including Trump supporters.

Trump absolutely cannot be allowed to reenter politics. His ideology is clear, and if he comes back, he could destroy democracy as we know it. We cannot be complicit — we must actively condemn him.


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