Will Trump stage a comeback in 2022?
Published: Jan 05, 2022 07:32 PM
Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

2022 is a crucial year for US politics. Many major events are set to occur, such as the mid-term elections and the handling of the Omicron rampage. There is another thing that cannot be ignored: former US president Donald Trump's comeback on social media.

In late October 2021, Trump announced that he created a media and technology group and planned to launch the social media platform "Truth Social" early this year. He obtained significant funding from investors. Since US social media blocked Trump, he has been trying to build his own platform, aiming to "give a voice to all," as he said.

If Trump can return to social media, his influence will be much stronger and will inspire many supporters. According to US media reports, Trump will host a "Save America" rally in Arizona on January 15. Although Trump has not yet announced his candidacy so far, he has announced "an even more glorious victory in November of 2024."

Trump's return to politics needs more support from the Republican Party. Currently, some senior members of the Republican Party are reluctant to support Trump. Some even want to draw a clear line between Trump and themselves.

However, the trouble for the Republican Party is its lack of appealing candidates. If Trump does hope to regain his influence in the party, they may not be able to mobilize forces to oppose him. If the forces that oppose Trump make the latter angered, Trump might regroup a party, which means a total split of the Republican Party. That would be a nightmare for the Republicans, but the Democrats would welcome such a turn. In this context, it still depends on what kind of consensus the Republican leaders can reach with Trump.

When I recently spoke online with a Chinese-American friend living in the US, he said that the US' current economic recovery and employment surge were mainly due to Trump's proper policies, and Biden has just benefited from it.

According to the survey, conducted in September by Pew Research Center's American Trends Panel, 37 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said Trump has done the best job as president over the past four decades, only second to former president Ronald Reagan.

Why do many middle-class Americans miss Trump? Because they believe that Trump's policies, including the trade war launched against China, are conducive to the recovery of the US economy, and behind them is an adherence to the traditional spirit of the US. This is key to "America First" or "Build Back Better." The policy disputes between the two parties actually involve a struggle of faith. This is what many middle-class Americans value in Trump.

Some middle-aged Chinese Americans I know support Trump because they believe that the success of the US depends on individuals' hard work, rather than social welfare or assistance. They are skeptical of the Democratic Party's approach to promote future welfare. Therefore, they share similar values with white Anglo-Saxons. 

It is this division of values that is leading to an intensified division in American society in the future, and the greater the gap is, the more favorable it will be for Trump's successful return.

What Chinese people are most concerned about is how the US policy toward China will change if Trump returns. The truth is, whether the Republican or the Democratic Party wins the next general election, the US government will only continue to follow the current path of its China policy. The policy has already become integral for the US in rejuvenating its manufacturing industry and reconstructing the supply chain to ensure that it retains its strength. 

The US will continue to severely contain China in the high-tech field and adopt a more proactive policy to encourage US companies to go back or partially go back to domestic production. At the level of the global industrial and supply chains, the game between China and the US will become more intense, and the contradiction will continue to deepen.

The author is a senior editor with People's Daily, and currently a senior fellow with the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China. dinggang@globaltimes.com.cn. Follow him on Twitter @dinggangchina