What a Trump Presidency Will Look Like

Anthony Biglan
5 min readJan 5, 2024


A Summary of the Atlantic Magazine Analysis

The January-February edition of the Atlantic is devoted to describing what a second Trump Presidency is likely to look like. Here is a brief summary.

David Frum on How much worse a second term will be:

“In his first term, Trumps corruption and brutality were mitigated by his ignorance and laziness. In a second, Trump would arrive with a much better understanding of the systems vulnerabilities, more willing enablers in tow, and a much more focused agenda of retaliation against his adversaries and impunity for himself.”

Anne Applebaum on NATO:

Trump has said he “doesn’t give a shit about NATO.” If we withdraw from it, it will undermine the defense of Ukraine, embolden China to invade Taiwan, and endanger the safety of countries bordering Russia.

McKay Coppins on how Trump will appoint only loyalists who will do whatever he wants:

In his first term, Trump appointed prominent people to key positions. But he was frustrated by their resistance to many of his ideas. He has made it clear, and his aides are working hard to ensure, that all of the people he appoints this time will be loyalists who will do his bidding. An Attorney General who will prosecute the enemies he has named (Biden, Mark Milley, James Comey, John Brennan, James Clapper and Arthur Engoron,[ the judge in his fraud trial]) and anyone else who crosses him.

Caitlin Dickerson on the mass deportation of immigrants and the separation of children from their parents:

Plans are already being made to round up thousands of immigrants and put them in camps until they can be deported. Trump will reinstate the policy of taking children away from their parents.

Barton Gellman on how Trump will get away with his illegal and unconstitutional actions:

Trump will use the power of pardon to pardon January 6 Insurrectionists and anyone — including himself — who has been convicted in federal court of insurrection. Trump has said “that righting a wrong of sufficient ‘magnitude’ ‘allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, articles even found in the Constitution.’”

Sophie Gilbert on Women as Targets:

In addition to all of the ways in which Trump has contributed to harming women through Supreme Court and other courts restrictions on abortion, Trump has emboldened the misogynistic culture in which men say things like “ I’m in a state of exuberance that we now have a President who rates women on a 1–10 scale in the same way we do.”

Zoe Shlanger on Climate Change:

Further efforts to combat climate change will be ended, as forces for continued use of fossil fuels would end any policies that threatened their wealth.

George Packer on Journalism:

Trumps attacks on journalism will intensify. “The worst fate for the press in a second Trump term would be neither legal or financial jeopardy. It would be irrelevance.” This would result from Trump and his ally’s consistent promotion of misinformation to the point where a large proportion of the populous just does not trust the reporting. This has already happened to a great extent.

Sarah Zhang on Science:

“A second Trump administration would likely revive the crackdown on environmental science.”
“Trump would continue to attack any science that stands in the way of his agenda.”

Franklin Foer on “Corruption Unbound”

‘It doesn’t require much imagination to see what this new class of bureaucrats might unleash. Picked for their loyalty, they will exploit the government in the spirit of that loyalty, handing government contracts to the friendly firms, forcing companies who want favors from the state to pay tribute at Trump properties, using their power to punish critics.”

Adam Serwer on a MAGA Judiciary:

“During the Biden presidency, the appointment of far-right ideologues has meant a series of extreme rulings that have upheld speech restrictions and book bans; forced the administration to pursue the right’s preferred restrictive immigration policies; narrowed the fundamental rights of women, the LGBTQ community, and ethnic minorities; blessed law enforcement misconduct; restricted voting rights; limited the ability of federal agencies to regulate corporations’ and helped businesses exploit their workers.”

“ All this and more will continue should Trump win a second term.”

Juliette Kayyem on “Extremists Emboldened”

“But if Trump wins another term, both he and his most disreputable supporters will feel vindicated. The Republican Party has already given Trump a pass for exhorting a mob to break into the Capitol. In turn, Trump; has promised to pardon many of the January 6 insurrectionists. His forgiveness could extend to extremist leaders convicted on federal charges.”

“…a president with firm control of the Justice Department, who wields a corps of supporters willing to use intimidation for political ends and who has maintained a considerable following among police, could overwhelm the ability of state institutions to uphold the law.”

Clint Smith on Trump Suppressing U.S. History.

“What Trump and the MAGA movement want is a country where children are falsely taught that the United States has always been a beacon of righteousness.” Trump created the 1776 commission to “create standards for ‘patriotic education’” He will continue to attempt to suppress any efforts to educate children about the problematic aspects of our history.

Ronald Brownstein: “A War on Blue America”

Trump has sent federal law enforcement into cities where demonstrations for civil rights were occurring. Mass demonstrations in cities are likely if Trump takes power and defies the law and Constitution. He has made it clear that we will use the military to put done such protests.

David a Graham: “Trump Isn’t Bluffing.”

In November 2023, Trump said, “We pledge to you that we will root out the Communists, Marxists, fascists, and the radical left thugs that live like vermin with the confines of our country, that lie and steal and cheat on elections.” He has stated that his legal opponents will be sent to mental hospitals if he is re-elected.

“… Trump has been able to acclimate the nation to authoritarianism by introducing it early and often. When a second-term President Trump directs the Justice Department to lock up Democratic politicians or generals or reporters or activist on flimsy or no grounds at all, people will wring their hands, but they’ll also shrug their shoulders and wonder why he didn’t do it sooner. After all, he’s been promising to do it forever, right?”

Vann R. Newkirk II: “Civil Rights Undone”

The legal principle of “disparate Impact’ holds that a law or policy is discriminatory if it impacts a subgroup the population more than other subgroups — even if there was no malicious intent. An example is the higher rate of deaths of black people at the hands of the police. Trump has attempted to curtail the use of this standard in the federal bureaucracy. If he takes power again, we will likely undermine the disparity impact standard by continuing to curtail its use by the federal government and by directly seeking judicial decisions that prohibit the use of the standard.

Spencer Kornhaber: “Trump Will Stoke Gender Panic.”

The Trump campaign as a “Plan to Protect Children from Left Wing Gender Insanity.” Republicans have reversed progress on LGBTQ rights and hate crimes against the members of the community have increased. Trump is likely to make matters worse.

Tom Nichols: “A Military Loyal to Trump.”

This may be the biggest threat of all. In his effort to prevent Biden from taking office, Trump tried to get the military to take actions, such as seizing ballot boxes in states. However, the leadership of the Defense Department resisted doing his bidding. He will surely appoint leaders to the DOD who will do what he wants — for example, sending federal troops to cities where protests and civil disobedience in resistance to his illegal policies are occurring. With mass arrests and refusal of habeas corpus, effective resistance to his unlawful acts will be suppressed.



Anthony Biglan

Anthony Biglan, PhD, is the author of Rebooting Capitalism: How we can forge a society that works for everyone.