Americans are starting to get it: we can’t let Trump – or Trumpism – back in office

Austin Sarat and Dennis Aftergut

Polls and election results over the last week reminded Americans that politics seldom moves in a straight line. As in physics, action produces reaction. Overreach invites backlash.

For a long while former President Trump and his cronies seemed to be immune from this rule of political life and from the consequences of even the most outrageous conduct. As Trump himself once famously said, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

And so it seemed. He escaped conviction in not one but two impeachment trials and cowed Republican leaders to fall in line after the January 6 insurrection. He remains the leading contender for the Republican party’s 2024 presidential nomination. Today Republicans are still falling over themselves to prove their loyalty to him by outdoing each other in extremism.

On 19 August, a Republican candidate for Florida’s state assembly even took to Twitter to call for violence against federal law enforcement officials. “Under my plan,” Luis Miguel tweeted, “all Floridians will have permission to shoot FBI, IRS, ATF and all other [federal agents] ON SIGHT! Let freedom ring!”..