History lecturer explains how the GOP agenda could be even more extreme under a second Trump term

History lecturer explains how the GOP agenda could be even more extreme under a second Trump term
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive at Joint Base Andrews Air Force Base Friday July 5, 2019, in Maryland, and depart on Air Force One en route New Jersey. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

A history lecturer is expressing concern about the Republican Party's agenda and how it could lay the foundation for a far more radicalized second term for former President Donald Trump.

In a new op-ed published by The Guardian, Andrew Gawthorpe, a history and international studies lecturer at Leiden University in the Netherlands, cited an Axios report as he detailed the political party's "core plan" as the 2022 midterm elections approach.

"At the core of the new plan, as reported by Axios, is the intention to strip away employment protections from thousands of senior civil servants, eliminating at a stroke a large chunk of the civil service’s expertise and institutional memory," Gawthorpe wrote. "This would allow them to be replaced with a ' cadre' loyal to Trump’s America First agenda, most of them likely to be 20- and 30-somethings with no experience in government who would owe their newfound prominence to Trump alone. Ideologically zealous and loyal to a fault, they would set about trying to reshape the government in Trump’s image."

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He went on to note the distinct change in Trump's proposed agenda as he compared this situation to his first presidential term.

"What seems to have changed in the interim is Trump’s desire for revenge. According to the Axios report, Trump’s top priority in a new administration will be to “clean house” in the intelligence community, DoJ and FBI. Loyalists will be installed in the place of current leadership. Why these places? The standard conservative critique of the civil service is that everyone in it is a liberal, but that certainly isn’t true of these agencies. Rather, they’re the places you need to corrupt if you’re bent on breaking the law and persecuting your opponents. Trump – notoriously thin-skinned, impulsive, and vengeful – wants to do just that."

Gawthorpe also highlighted the bigger issue with the radicalized agenda.

"But this isn’t just a problem limited to Trump. The conservative movement as a whole increasingly dreams of turning the state against its enemies. The people at the heart of the movement today are more likely to idolize the Hungarian autocrat Viktor Orbán than they are Ronald Reagan," he said.

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"They aren’t animated by the belief that the job of government is simply to get out of the way – instead, they want to use it to impose a radical agenda on American society," Gawthorpe wrote. "And the recent overturning of Roe v Wade provides a blueprint for how a compliant conservative judiciary can enable government officials to take away even the most fundamental of human rights."

He concluded with his perspective of what a future Republican presidency could look like given the current political climate of the party.

"Although Trump would bring his own particular set of grievances to the venture, any future Republican president is likely to follow a similar blueprint," he wrote. "Given the sheer scale of changes they want to impose on America, today’s conservatives act more like revolutionaries. And like all revolutionaries, they want to seize control of the state and launch an offensive on as many fronts as possible. If Trump’s first term isn’t to appear to future historians as a grim prelude to something far worse, they must never be allowed to do it."

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