Where will the Orange Menace be on January 20, 2025? Let’s set aside morbid or offensive scenarios—things like rotting in an overcrowded prison in China after being kidnapped on the fifth fairway of one of his Scottish golf courses. It is easy to come up with dozens of scenarios like that, but what’s the point? It is okay to dislike or even hate Trump but wishing him ill should be unacceptable. Calling for retribution against Trump is something that only somebody like Trump would do.
The next eight-plus months will be wild. One can imagine dozens of scenarios, most of them frightening. Will they include any of the scenarios I imagined last weekend after eating too much spicy food?
Trump falls seriously ill. Given the stress of facing 91 felony charges and unpaid civil penalties of more than a half billion dollars, as well as the wear and tear of campaigning, a sudden, major-medical crisis could happen. Are Trump supporters likely to stick with him after he suffers a stroke or heart attack? Will Trump do something that finally convinces his supporters he’s not physically up to the job of president?
Trump declares bankruptcy. The devil may be in the details, but generally, court penalties are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. And, of course, a bankruptcy could increase sympathy for Trump among those who agree with Trump that the fines imposed for business fraud in New York are BS. Trump would launch aggressive new fundraising campaigns based on his bankruptcy. My guess is that Trump supporters will not abandon him if he is forced to (again) declare bankruptcy.
Melania Trump divorces Trump. Rumors that Melania, who Trump is accused of referencing as “Mercedes” in a recent campaign speech, is contemplating divorce could prove true. Would a third divorce cost Trump support? Or would it strengthen support among his base who would blame the divorce on the “deranged prosecutors” who indicted him? Would Trump start attacking Melania as also being “deranged?”
Two or three women come forward with claims that Trump impregnated them and encouraged them to get abortions. If Trump were the player that he claims to be (and photos with people like Jeffrey Epstein suggest that he was), this scenario must be considered at least possible. Would the Trump followers who praise him for overturning Roe v. Wade abandon him? Don’t count on it, especially if Trump simply calls the women involved liars.
Additional videotapes of Trump bragging about assaulting women with impunity are found. These tapes would be similar to the infamous Billy Bush tape. This scenario could prove to be a non-event. Everyone knows Trump is crude. His base is likely to yawn. Trump’s opponents would publicize the tapes, but how far will that get them?
New evidence of Trump’s complicity in the January 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol emerges proving that Trump planned for an angry mob to disrupt the counting of votes. If Trump supporters learned that he was personally responsible for the insurrection, would that change their support for him? Or would they like him even more?
A Trump supporter attempts to assassinate Joe Biden. There can be little doubt that Trump calling Biden a criminal, the worse president in history, senile and deranged could inspire someone to attempt an assassination. If that happened, would voters rally around Biden (assuming the assassination attempt failed), or would Trump stand up for the would-be assassins and call them patriots?
The IRS files a massive tax fraud case against Trump. Would this poison Trump’s support? Or would they, echoing Trump, call it another witch hunt or even increase their support and donations to Trump in the belief that by not paying taxes, Trump was fighting big government.
Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce formally endorse Biden. This is perhaps the most likely of the 10 scenarios, but would the endorsement hurt Trump? Trump supporters don’t seem to be the type of people who would drop Trump because Swift detests him. And many Trump supporters may not know who Travis Kelce is.
Finally, as November 5 approaches, Trump determines that he is going to, again, lose the presidential election. Knowing that the government is likely to be better prepared to address another attempt to gain power through violence, Trump could renounce his citizenship and move to a friendly country, such as Russia. If this were to happen, would newly reelected President Biden seek to extradite him back to the U.S. Not likely.
These 10 scenarios, if you have not realized it, are speculative. Here is one more scenario more likely than not to happen in November. Millions of Democratic, independent, and disgruntled Republican voters realize the election of Trump is a real possibility. Motivated by the imperative of protecting civil rights, saving the environment, maintaining abortion rights, respecting human dignity at the border, continuing American world leadership, and restoring decency to politics, vote in record numbers, swamping Trump. Trump is defeated in a landslide so big that even he is unable to claim election fraud.
J.E. Dean is a retired attorney and public affairs consultant writing on politics, government and other subjects.