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OP-ED: How Trump will use the Insurrection Act to destroy America if he’s re-elected

OP-ED: How Trump will use the Insurrection Act to destroy America if he’s re-elected

Insurrection actor

In 2023, Donald Trump gave a chillingly clear speech at CPAC’s Washington DC event, and one thing we know about the disgraced former president is that — despite being an infamous liar — he does not lie about what he wants to do nor know how he intends to do it.

By every indication, Trump plans to invoke the Insurrection Act on “Day One,” if he he is re-elected.

Fear is an appropriate response.

The Insurrection Act allows the President to deploy the active U.S. Military domestically and federalize the National Guard, but only in specific situations; it must be used to thwart dangerous “civil disorder, insurrection, or rebellion itself.”

The law was codified in 1807 when there was serious disagreement among the states over taxation and the federal government’s role. The most serious uses of the Insurrection Act were during and especially after the Civil War to enforce the conditions of the South’s surrender

The Act was also used to enforce civil rights legislation that followed the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision.

Since then the act has been primarily used to quell riots at demonstrations over the rights of racial minorities as when George H. W. Bush last used it to stop violence in Seattle.

The act has always been used, however, in response to an emergency situation, never preemptively.

Russell Vought, Trump’s former head of the Office of Management and Budget, is now leading a think tank called The Center for Renewing America. It has created a 1,000-page document of priorities. It goes bullet point by bullet point.

Combined with Trump’s statement to Sean Hannity, the priorities become clear.

Hannity recently challenged Trump, or gave him an open gift, by saying (approximately), “You are not really going to be an authoritarian, are you?” Trump said, “No, except for day one.” He then stated he would protect the border and drill, drill, drill. Neither justifications fall under the Insurrection Act unless violence breaks out on the border.

As noted above, once invoked, the Insurrection Act stays in place until the president revokes it. To revisit Trump’s speech from last year’s CPAC and similar promises:

“Today, I add: I am your warrior. I am your justice. And for those who have been wronged and betrayed, I am your retribution.”

Presidents do not undertake the role of retribution, also known as vengeance. Law enforcement arrests people who do wrong and betray others by committing a crime, followed by a trial by their peers.

Presidents are not warriors in the usual sense, but the violent rhetoric is not by accident. And, similar to retribution, presidents stay away from handing out justice.

His potentially violent promises have become clearer and more threatening as he has moved deeper into his campaign. In Waco, he stated that he will “obliterate the deep state and “banish warmongerers, drive out globalists” — whatever that means. And among other things, he promised to “rout the fake news media. (He has already talked about NBC’s license to the airwaves and CNN‘s right to cable.)

Quite obviously, this is not how this country has been governed in the past and represents a unique threat. If one takes the above promises step by step, the result is a dictator overseeing an authoritarian state.

There is no reason to think that he will not do it. The Supreme Court may attempt to stop him, but Trump has very little respect for courts. Is it impossible that he might ignore a Supreme Court order as invalid when done so while the Insurrection Act is in place?

This is all impossible to predict. But what seems inevitable is the invocation of the dictatorial powers from “Day One.” It is not impossible to ignore these statements.

It is also why President Biden has characterized the 2024 election as “Democracy versus autocracy, and Donald Trump calls it the “Final Battle”  — almost as if the 2028 elections won’t occur.

The 2024 election will center around this issue.

Editor’s note: This is an opinion column that solely reflects the opinions of the author

Jason Miciak
Jason Miciak is an associate editor and opinion writer for Occupy Democrats. He's a Canadian-American who grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He is a trained attorney, but for the last five years, he's devoted his time to writing political news and analysis. He enjoys life on the Gulf Coast as a single dad to a 15-year-old daughter. Hobbies include flower pots, cooking, and doing what his daughter tells him they're doing. Sign up to get all of my posts by email right here:

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