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Elliot BenjaminElliot Benjamin is a philosopher, mathematician, musician, counselor, writer, with Ph.Ds in mathematics and psychology and the author of over 230 published articles in the fields of humanistic and transpersonal psychology, pure mathematics, mathematics education, spirituality & the awareness of cult dangers, art & mental disturbance, and progressive politics. He has also written a number of self-published books, such as: The Creative Artist, Mental Disturbance, and Mental Health. See also: www.benjamin-philosopher.com.

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The Pros and Cons of Trying to Stop Trump From Running For Office in 2024

Elliot Benjamin

But when all is said and done, what I am left with is the image of Trump running again in 2024, complete with his massive destructive cult indoctrination of his followers.

I had thought that with Trump getting defeated by Biden in the United States 2020 presidential election that I would finally be done with writing essays about Trump. After all, I made a serious attempt to do this with my 7-part Integral World essay series about Biden [1]. But as much as I wish that I could avoid the topic, the nasty reality remains that it is quite possible that Trump will be running for President of the United States again in 2024 [2]. A noble effort was made to prevent this from happening in the Senate impeachment trial, but to no avail. There are numerous court cases that Trump will be subjected to as a private citizen, but I don't think there is much of a chance that he will be convicted of a felony in enough time to stop him from running for office. And then there is the possibility of trying to convict him as aiding an insurrection as part of the 14th Amendment to bar him from running for office [3]. But once again the likelihood of this succeeding is not at all high, considering the legal complications that would abound to enable Trump to run out the clock and still run for the presidency of the United States in 2024 [3].

But unlikely does not mean impossible. I think trying to convict Trump in the Senate trial was essentially impossible, with the requirement of two-thirds of the Senate, translating into 17 Republicans, voting in favor of conviction. It is very noteworthy that 7 Republicans actually did vote in favor of conviction, but of course this was far less than the number that was needed [4]. However, conviction through the 14th Amendment just requires a simple majority, which would be a piece of cake in both the House and the Senate [5]. So is there a good reason to not at least try for this? Well this question is what is prompting me to write this essay, as I think the pros and cons of trying to stop Trump from running for office in 2024 is no simple matter.

First off, there is the political argument that currently the Republican party is literally broken apart between its Trump supporters and its more center/right branch [6]. This was given a particular dash of devastation with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's denouncement of Trump as part of his statement for why he voted to acquit him, for completely “constitutional” reasons [7]. Of course Trump responded with vehemence and vitriol against McConnell, and it is hard to imagine how the Trump/McConnell feud will get patched up, as apparently McConnell believes that Trump is anathema to Republicans being able to regain power [8]. So it can be argued that even if Trump does become the 2024 Republican presidential candidate, the likelihood of him winning the election appears to be quite low, given the splintering apart of the Republican party. And then again, if Trump is not the 2024 Republican presidential candidate, the Republicans would be hard pressed to come up with a candidate who can excite enough voters to have any reasonable chance of winning the election [9]. Thus from this level of analysis, it appears that either way Republicans lose. So why does it even matter whether or not Trump is the candidate in 2024?

Well I contend that it does matter. It matters not for the outcome of the election, though of course nothing is known with any degree of certainty this far in advance. But it matters from a psychosocial cult influence perspective; i.e., the reactivated destructive cult influence that Trump could potentially have on his multitude of followers [10]. But the issue is quite complicated. If the 14th Amendment were enacted to try to remove Trump from office, he would gain continued media exposure, something he now lacks due to Facebook and Twitter removing him from their networks [10]. This in itself would reactivate much of the massive cult influence that Trump has had—we're talking white supremacist conspiracy QAnon militia hatred and violence here—think back to the January 6th Capitol insurrection. So is it worth it unleashing this horrific beast from its temporary present slumber? And to be perfectly honest, I don't know the answer to this question.

I am somewhat conflicted here, and I go back and forth. On one hand, giving Trump the fuel to unleash his swarm of cultic followers to embark on havoc and destruction seems insane, especially given my preliminary political analysis that even if Trump is the presidential candidate that I think he is very unlikely to win the election. So I must deep down believe that there is another reason to try to stop Trump from running for office in 2024, a reason that outweighs what I just said. Well what could this reason be? Could it be something like the moral imperative to “do the right thing”? Sort of like the courageous impeachment managers choosing to “do the right thing” even though they knew very well that there was virtually no chance that they would succeed in convicting Trump? Then again, it can certainly be argued that the impeachment managers were shooting for the large anti-Trump response that they did receive, after skillfully painting the picture of Trump inciting the Capitol riots, to weaken the chance of Trump winning another United States presidential election [11].

But when all is said and done, what I am left with is the image of Trump running again in 2024, complete with his massive destructive cult indoctrination of his followers, and any progress that Biden has made in his 4 years of being President quickly disappearing as the United States once again becomes as polarized, or even more polarized if possible, than how it has been through Trump's presidency. And I think it is this horrific scenario that puts me over the edge and makes me stay with advocating for trying to remove Trump through the 14th Amendment. Whatever Trump-related publicity and havoc would ensue from trying to stop him from running, in my opinion this would pale by comparison with the destructive consequences of him running for President again in 2024. I have promoted my views about this in my local Indivisible group [12], and I plan on continuing to promote my views about this in our upcoming Indivisible (Zoom) meeting with the staff of my local congressman. This doesn't mean that I am not still uneasy about giving Trump and his followers a platform to amplify their destructive and vindictive assaults on our democracy, but something inside of me is saying that stopping Trump from running for office in 2024 is “the right thing to do.” Perhaps in time I will change my mind about this, but for now this is my path forward.

Notes and References

  1. See Elliot Benjamin (2021), Integrative United States President Joe Biden: A Journal of the Month Before the Election and the Days That Follow It: Part 7 the Finale. Retrieved from www.integralworld.net. Parts 1 through 6 of this essay series are available through the links for this article.
  2. See Chanta de Silva (2021), Can Trump Run Again in 2024 Election? Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk
  3. See Mark Sherman (2021), 14th Amendment Battle May Loom if Trump Decides to Run in 2024. Retrieved from https://abc13.com
  4. See Jordain Carney (2021), Senate Acquits Trump in 57-43 Vote. Retrieved from https://thehill.com
  5. See Kelsey Viamis (2021), Here's How the 14th Amendment Could Be Used to Bar Trump From Office. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com
  6. See Kerry Eleveld (2021), Trump is Back, He's Rabid As Ever, and the GOP Is Sure To Be Collateral Damage. Retrieved from https://www.dailykos.com
  7. See Lindsay Wise (2021), McConnell Condemns Trump's Actions as “Disgraceful” After Voting to Acquit Him. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com
  8. See Kerry Eleveld (2021), “I Don't Want to Eat Our Own”: Senate Republicans Fret Over Trump-McConnell Schism Ahead of 2022. Retrieved from https://www.dailykos.com and Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman (2021), McConnell Is Said To Be Pleased About Impeachment, Believing It Will Be Easier to Purge Trump From the G.O.P. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com
  9. See Eli Yokley (2021), Trump Emerges From Impeachment Trial With Sturdy Backing From GOP Voters. Retrieved from https://morningconsult.com
  10. See Elliot Benjamin (2021), Reducing the Political Polarization in the United States. Retrieved from www.integralworld.net; and the references therein.
  11. See Peter Baker (2021), If Convicting Trump Is Out of Reach, Managers Seek a Verdict From the Public and History. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com
  12. See the Indivisible website at www.indivisible.org; and see my Integral World Trump essays for descriptions of my involvement with Indivisible.






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