CNN | 4/21/2021 | Listen

The specter of Trump's comeback raises a practical question

Analysis by Stephen Collinson with Caitlin Hu, CNN

Updated: Mon, 01 Mar 2021 01:34:09 GMT

Source: CNN

Editor's Note: This was excerpted from the February 26 edition of CNN's Meanwhile in America, the daily email about US politics for global readers. Click here to read past editions and subscribe.

We're going to have to talk about Donald Trump.

To be frank, it's been a relief over the last month not to spend every hour on alert for a world-rattling tweet or wondering which article of the Constitution would be crushed next.

Now Trump has made a comeback from the golf course, in an appearance that aides said would position him as the prohibitive favorite for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. In his address to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida on Sunday, Trump said the "incredible journey" that he and his supporters started four years ago is "far from being over."

Trump is already plotting revenge on party members who broke with his personality cult. From his golf cart at Mar-a-Lago, he's concocting plans to destroy their careers in the run-up to the 2022 midterm elections. Whether he actually mounts a presidential campaign is open to question -- especially as his plans could be derailed by multiple legal problems. But just by looking serious about it, he could scare off potential rivals.

In purely political terms, it's easy to see why Republican lawmakers stick with Trump -- especially those in gerrymandered districts whose only threat is a primary challenge from a more radical foe. He's still wildly popular among Republican grassroots voters, who see him as the guardian of a traditional, conservative America run by White people.

But the specter of Trump's comeback raises a practical question: Does anything justify another Trump presidency? He left the country in a shambles, overwhelmed by a pandemic he barely acknowledged during his last months in power. His nepotistic administration left America more divided than at any point since the Civil War. And he almost buckled US democracy itself, deceiving his supporters into believing that he had been cheated in a free and fair election. People died because of the mob that he raised outside the Capitol.

After all that, the fact that Trump is still seen as a credible leader by much of his party (even after losing the White House, the House and the Senate) tells you a lot about the soul of Republicanism and the state of American politics itself.

What about Canada?

Earlier this week, we asked what Canada needs from the US, the "meth lab" south of the border, to quote the late Robin Williams. Michèle in Canada was quick to offer another analogy coined by former PM Pierre Trudeau, who "used to compare it to a mouse sharing a bed with an elephant. To survive, you have to be constantly aware of what that creature is doing because it could roll over and crush you without even being aware of it," she wrote.

The US-Canada relationship has never been more important -- and Washington's policymaking should reflect that, wrote Robert. "There is a new history being built where Asia and China play a dominant role with significant implications for the world's future. There are coalitions which need to be built which will require close ties, and in one of these coalitions is the exceptional US-Canada relationship based on a shared history, culture and values. As a consequence, US domestic economic policies need to account for some of its key and important relationships most notably the relationship with its neighbor to the North."

On the issues: Ken emphasized solidarity in fighting Covid-19. "Canada and the rest of the world needs the United States to lead a charge to force drug companies to share the vaccine for Covid-19 with other drug companies. Vaccinate the world and be damned to patents and profits!" he wrote. And Canadian chagrin over Biden's cancellation of the Keystone XL Pipeline is overblown, said Bill: "Most of us here in Canada could care less about the pipeline. Unless you work in the field or an offshoot, that is, unless you live in Alberta, it has little or no bearing on our lives."

But in the US, that pipeline was highly controversial, Paul pointed out, arguing that "Canada needs to respect the US too." He elaborated: "It was ok with Canada that US Government used Native American lands, against their opposition, for this (Keystone) pipeline. ... It was an environmental risk to our nation and further disrespect visited on our Native Americans. Listening Canada? You increased our issues like Trump did yours."


© 2021 Cable News Network. A Warner Media Company. All Rights Reserved.

Listen to CNN (low-bandwidth usage)

Go to the full CNN experience