Eurasia Group founder Ian Bremmer, who said back in November that the odds of election-related violence were 99%, sees only a limited danger of more trouble following the storming of the Capitol by Trump supporters.
President Donald Trump, who before Wednesday’s turmoil had “pretty clearly” told supporters to take the law into their hands as Congress worked to ratify Electoral College results he disagreed with, will now “personally be very careful not to advance arguments for violence,” Bremmer said.
That will limit activity by Trump supporters who respond to political “dog whistles,” from the president, he said.
Bremmer and his colleagues are widely followed geopolitical strategists. Eurasia Group advises on political risk, as well as offering other research and consulting services.
On Thursday, as Democratic Congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer called for him to be swiftly removed from office, the president posted a video saying he was “outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem” at the Capitol, that the time had come for reconciliation, and that he would now focus on an orderly transition of power.
Trump’s “heavily lawyered and edited video speech” effectively conceding to President-elect Joe Biden suggests “that directly calling for violence is not going to serve his purposes in the near term,” Bremmer said.
Meanwhile, the incoming administration may well go too far with executive orders or legislation to avoid a repeat of this week’s events and combat domestic terrorism, imposing a regime that could “easily overstretch the bounds of what a surveillance state should be,” Bremmer added. The Obama administration, of course, expanded domestic surveillance to track terrorists.
The U.S. will remain deeply divided politically, Bremmer and his colleagues said, citing the debates in the House and Senate about overturning electoral votes even after the overrunning of the Capitol. “The level of division [Biden] faces probably goes up,” Bremmer said. “I don’t see a structural fix.”
Jon Lieber, Eurasia’s managing director for the U.S., said he doesn’t believe Trump will try to run again for president in 2024, but noted considerable support for Trumpism will create opportunities for “political entrepreneurs” in the Republican primaries.
“I would be really surprised to see him running again in 2024,” Lieber said. “The beating up on Trump is going to be a funny hobby sport amongst Republicans over the next four years. He will have a harder time finding a donor base. Activities of this week make a 2024 run much more difficult.”
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