Yesterday, our screens were filled with scenes of disbelief, as the Capitol Building – the meeting place of the US Congress – was stormed by supporters of President Donald Trump, unwilling to accept Joe Biden’s victory.
Even though Biden won the election in November 2020, there is one more step in the process to confirm his win. This process in the electoral college requires the electors’ votes to be tabulated and confirmed in Congress. It was during this event when a mob of pro-Trump supporters swarmed the Capitol, getting through security and storming the building. Donald Trump was blocked by Twitter and Facebook shortly after.
SOAS lecturer Dr. Leslie Vinjamuri, an expert in American politics, believes that this signals the end of Trump’s career as president. Tweeting yesterday, Vinjamuri stated that there is ‘zero prospect of Trump 2024.’
Further, in an article for the Telegraph, Vinjamuri elaborates that the prospect of Trump winning the 2024 election depends on what happens choices the Republicans in the Senate and the House make in the days and weeks ahead.
‘These elected officials face a clear and unavoidable choice, whether to go along and continue to support President Trump, denying his role and responsibility. Or, instead, to take a clear stand against a President who has incited and ignited hatred, division, and now an attempted and violent subversion of democracy.’
All was not rosy up until the storming of the Capitol, however: cracks were already beginning to show in Trump’s support base. Earlier this week, the 10 living former Secretaries of Defense criticised the President’s attempt to subvert the election and declaring the election over. In addition, ‘170 business leaders had called on the President to accept the election of Joe Biden as President. The vice-president posted a letter just moments before the certification began, saying he could not deny the electoral result’, Vinjamuri commented.
Yesterday’s events will certainly accelerate a move away from Trump – but we too, as spectators, have a role to play in calling out the violence, Vinjamuri emphasises. It is our job to ‘recognise the violence for what it was: anti-democratic, illegal, and dangerous, but also led by a mob of rioters, not a mainstream block of voters.’
Dr. Leslie Vinjamuri is a Reader in International Relations in the Department of Politics and International Studies. She is currently also Director of the US and the Americas programme and Dean of the Queen Elizabeth II Academy for Leadership in International Affairs at Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs.