My 2024 forecast

See update for May 19, 2022, at end of post.


It is generally unwise, in fact, foolish, to forecast elections so far in advance as I am the 2024 general election in this post. And there is, in fact, only one reason I’m going public with this at this time.

I gather, okay, from my mother, that folks in more progressive parts of the world might doubt Donald Trump’s continued hold on the Republican Party and infer doubt from this about his prospects in 2024. After all, a certain Trump-loving segment of the Party has been expressing, um, outlandish views on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that ought to be repugnant to any sane person.[1]

I wish I’d gotten photographs of two sights I saw today, driving around Pittsburgh. But when I see these things, I’m rushing around, trying to make what money I can, so it’s hard for me to stop, even long enough to grab a quick snap on my smartphone.

The first was a Donald Trump campaign flag. These are common enough around Pittsburgh, but the old ones from 2020 are being replaced with new ones anticipating his likely run in 2024.[2] This one said, in three lines: “Trump/I’ll Be Back/2024.” (By the way, Arnold Schwarzenegger[3] would be a hard “no” on Trump.[4])

The second was a wacko on a bicycle. He was dressed in garb meant to recall U.S. Revolutionary War-era “patriots.” He was carrying two large flags on a pole. The first said, “Let’s Go Brandon,” code for “Fuck Biden,”[5] and the second was a campaign flag, also for 2024. These are large, highly visible flags; I saw him striking a pose, but it would take quite some effort to manage carrying this while also riding a bicycle, particularly if any wind came up.

All this is apparently perfectly respectable in Pittsburgh, although my passenger audibly groaned at the second, and my extrapolation of what I see around Pittsburgh to the rest of the country, with a conservative-leaning electoral college and a likelihood that Trump can manage to stall any pending legal actions against him, is one reason why—the other is the absolutely inexcusably pathetic failure calling itself the Democratic Party[6]—I think Donald Trump is likely to win the presidency back in 2024.

At this point, the Republicans having already won control of Congress in the 2022 elections, the ongoing Republican project to undermine voting rights and non-white representation will be unopposed in any branch of government, will rapidly reach culmination, and we will have a right-wing dictatorship like those in Russia, Poland, Brazil, the Philippines, Turkey, and a number of other places that I’m just not remembering off the top of my head.

Sorry, that’s just how it plays. You are certainly more than welcome to hope I’m wrong—I hope I’m wrong—but there’s just no reason whatsoever at this point to see it playing any other way.


Update, May 19, 2022: Ishaan Tharoor documents a threat that I have frankly underestimated, that ties Viktor Orbán’s regime in Hungary to the U.S. Trumpist right[7] and even to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine;[8] if you want to know what the forthcoming right-wing dictatorship in the U.S.[9] might look like, a lot of that answer might be found in Hungary: essential components include the war on abortion, which may very well go beyond the overturning of Roe v. Wade to outright bans on birth control, abortion, and gay and interracial marriage.[10]

Some will doubt that a majority of conservatives are prepared to go this far. But Trumpism, as a movement which is not very much under Donald Trump’s control,[11] has already merged[12] the authoritarian populist, paleoconservative, and social conservative tendencies I identified in my dissertation,[13] and with Rod Dreher,[14] seems to now include traditionalist conservatism, which has always been closely aligned on most issues with social conservatism.[15] As the Republican establishment has embraced Trumpism, we must now as well include functionalist conservatism. That’s five out of the seven tendencies I had identified, omitting only neoconservatism and capitalist libertarianism,[16] neither of which have been prepared on the whole to oppose Trumpism (as distinct from Donald Trump himself[17]); we are clearly looking at a unifying ideology within conservatism. It is an extremely powerful movement that, like Viktor Orbán’s in Hungary, aims to consolidate control over the electoral process[18] while the Democrats fail to do a damn thing about it.[19]

  1. [1]Aaron Blake, “Tucker Carlson goes full blame-America on Russia’s Ukraine invasion,” Washington Post, March 8, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/08/tucker-carlson-goes-full-blame-america-russias-ukraine-invasion/; Philip Bump, “‘Genius,’ ‘Savvy’: Trump reacts to Putin’s moves on Ukraine exactly as you’d expect,” Washington Post, February 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/02/22/trump-reacts-putins-invasion-ukraine-exactly-youd-expect/; Adam Gabbatt, “Tucker Carlson leads rightwing charge to blame everyone but Putin,” Guardian, February 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/feb/25/tucker-carlson-fox-news-russia-putin; Robert Mackey, “Russian TV Uses Tucker Carlson and Tulsi Gabbard to Sell Putin’s War,” Intercept, February 27, 2022, https://theintercept.com/2022/02/24/russian-tv-uses-tucker-carlson-tulsi-gabbard-sell-putins-war/
  2. [2]Tina Nguyen, “To Be or Not to Be: Trump’s Big 2024 Question,” Puck News, September 13, 2021, https://puck.news/trumps-2024-question/
  3. [3]Michael Kennedy, “All 8 Movies Arnold Schwarzenegger Says ‘I’ll Be Back’ In (Not Just Terminator),” Screen Rant, August 3, 2020, https://screenrant.com/arnold-schwarzenegger-ill-be-back-all-movies-not-terminator/
  4. [4]Dakin Andone, “Arnold Schwarzenegger says Trump is a ‘failed leader’ and urges unity after Capitol siege,” CNN, January 10, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/10/politics/arnold-schwarzenegger-capitol-siege-trnd/index.html
  5. [5]Ben Smith, “Brandon Just Wants to Drive His Racecar,” New York Times, December 19, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/19/business/brandon-brown-lets-go-brandon.html
  6. [6]David Benfell, “Democrats and contradiction,” Not Housebroken, January 20, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/11/18/democrats-and-contradiction/
  7. [7]Ishaan Tharoor, “The Orbanization of America: The U.S. right walks in Hungary’s path,” Washington Post, May 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/05/17/viktor-orban-american-right-illiberal-orbanization/; Ishaan Tharoor, “The Orbanization of America: Florida shadows Hungary’s war on LGBTQ rights,” Washington Post, May 18, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/05/18/cpac-hungary-lgbtq-orban-florida-desantis/; Ishaan Tharoor, “The Orbanization of America: How to capture a democracy,” Washington Post, May 18, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/05/18/orban-democracy-trump-united-states-elections-hungary/
  8. [8]Delia Gallagher, “Pope Francis warns pro-war Russian patriarch not to be ‘Putin’s altar boy,’” CNN, May 4, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/04/europe/pope-francis-patriarch-kirill-ukraine-invasion-intl/index.html; Reuters, “Patriarch urges soldiers to defend ‘peace-loving’ Russia amid Ukraine campaign,” April 3, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/patriarch-urges-soldiers-defend-peace-loving-russia-amid-ukraine-campaign-2022-04-03/
  9. [9]David Benfell, “My 2024 forecast,” Not Housebroken, March 10, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/10/my-2024-forecast/
  10. [10]David Charter, “Republican states plot to make birth control a crime,” Times, May 9, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/republican-states-plot-to-make-birth-control-a-crime-sljmb2s7f; Josh Gerstein, “What falls after Roe? Liberals warn of a privacy rights nightmare,” Politico, May 3, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/03/supreme-court-abortion-privacy-rights-00029871; Molly Jong-Fast, “The Anti–Birth Control Movement Is the New Anti-Abortion Movement,” Vogue, July 1, 2021, https://www.vogue.com/article/anti-birth-control-movement; Caroline Kitchener, “The next frontier for the antiabortion movement: A nationwide ban,” Washington Post, May 2, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2022/05/02/abortion-ban-roe-supreme-court-mississippi/; Alexandra Martinez, “Birth control, gay and interracial marriage, and more may be at risk if Roe v. Wade falls,” Prism, May 5, 2022, https://prismreports.org/2022/05/05/civil-rights-roe-v-wade/
  11. [11]David Benfell, “Trumpism, Donald Trump, the January 6 coup attempt, and a smoking gun that may never be found,” Not Housebroken, January 28, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/12/14/trumpism-donald-trump-the-january-6-coup-attempt-and-a-smoking-gun-that-may-never-be-found/
  12. [12]David Benfell, “The seven tendencies of conservatism,” Irregular Bullshit, n.d., https://disunitedstates.com/the-seven-tendencies-of-conservatism/
  13. [13]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  14. [14]Ishaan Tharoor, “The Orbanization of America: Florida shadows Hungary’s war on LGBTQ rights,” Washington Post, May 18, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/05/18/cpac-hungary-lgbtq-orban-florida-desantis/
  15. [15]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  16. [16]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  17. [17]David Benfell, “Trumpism, Donald Trump, the January 6 coup attempt, and a smoking gun that may never be found,” Not Housebroken, January 28, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/12/14/trumpism-donald-trump-the-january-6-coup-attempt-and-a-smoking-gun-that-may-never-be-found/
  18. [18]Ishaan Tharoor, “The Orbanization of America: How to capture a democracy,” Washington Post, May 18, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/05/18/orban-democracy-trump-united-states-elections-hungary/
  19. [19]Mike DeBonis, “Senate Republicans block debate on a third major voting rights bill,” Washington Post, November 3, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/senate-voting-john-lewis/2021/11/03/de00974e-3cc5-11ec-bfad-8283439871ec_story.html; Mike DeBonis, “Senate Republicans block voting rights bill, dealing blow to Democrats’ effort to overhaul election laws,” Washington Post, January 19, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/democrats-brace-for-likely-defeat-of-voting-rights-push-due-to-gop-filibuster/2022/01/19/2f9a734c-792d-11ec-bf97-6eac6f77fba2_story.html; Matt Ford, “The Democrats’ Voting Rights Bill Is Dead,” New Republic, July 13, 2021, https://newrepublic.com/article/162974/democrats-voting-rights-bill-dead; Carrie Levine, “Why there’s even more pressure now on Congress to pass a voting rights bill,” Center for Public Integrity, July 9, 2021, https://publicintegrity.org/inside-publici/newsletters/watchdog-newsletter/why-theres-even-more-pressure-now-on-congress-to-pass-a-voting-rights-bill/; Sam Levine, “Voting rights advocates frustrated by ‘same-old, same-old’ meeting with White House,” Guardian, December 3, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/dec/03/voting-rights-advocates-frustrated-meeting-white-house; Lawrence Lessig, “Why the US Is a Failed Democratic State,” New York Review of Books, December 10, 2021, https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2021/12/10/why-the-us-is-a-failed-democratic-state/; Greg Sargent, “The damage done by Joe Manchin is likely to get much worse,” Washington Post, December 10, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/12/10/manchin-filibuster-protecting-our-democracy-act/