A veteran Australian journalist has delivered a bleak assessment of arguably Australia's most important ally, expressing concern over whether the United States will even remain a democracy.
Appearing on ABC program Insiders on Sunday Morning, Peter Hartcher, the Political and International Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, left the show with a sobering soliloquy on the state of America.
During the closing moments of the show when panellists share their "final thoughts" on whatever issue they choose, Mr Hartcher suggested the fallout from Donald Trump's home being raided, allegedly due to the theft of top secret documents about nuclear weapons, could be the beginning of the end for the country's democratic prowess.
"Anybody who thought that removing Donald Trump as US President was going to save American democracy, I think this week's developments with the raiding of his mansion and the possible prosecution of him of a criminal offence under the Espionage Act has shown us that that story has a long way to run and that American democracy remains fragile," he said.
The longtime foreign affairs writer warned an armed uprising – a prospect that has been widely promoted by Trump supporters on social media – is not out of the question.
"The prospect of a mass uprising, maybe an even an armed mass uprising if they go ahead and prosecute him, should concentrate a lot of minds," he said.
"And Australia has to keep an eye on whether the US remains a democracy or not."
Host David Speers appeared to agree. "That show ain’t over," he responded.
— Insiders ABC (@InsidersABC) August 14, 2022
Fears grow over a repeat of Capitol Hill riot
US law enforcement officials and experts in extremism are warning of a potential repeat of the January 6 insurrection at Capitol Hill in Washington DC, sounding the alarm about an uptick in violent rhetoric that has been circulating online in the wake of the FBI’s search of Mr Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate earlier this week.
Jared Holt, a senior research manager at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, told Yahoo News in the US that he's "observed high levels of apocalyptic, violent and conspiratorial rhetoric present in online pro-Trump communities following the search, contributing to a general environment of rage that is not dissimilar to the lead-up to the Capitol riot".
"Similarly to that period, he continued, "these expressions of anger are happening in plain sight online and being regurgitated by powerful Trump supporters in government and media."
Now under a fresh cloud of legal troubles, the 76-year-old former president has been incessantly sending emails to supporters.
In one lengthy statement following news of the raid, he claimed he was the victim of "prosecutorial misconduct, the weaponisation of the Justice System, and an attack by the Radical Left Democrats who desperately don't want me to run for President in 2024".
For now, all eyes remain on the FBI's next move and whether charges will be brought against the Republican frontrunner for a 2024 tilt at the White House.
While the US is no stranger to periods of political and social volatility, the country looks set to remain a political powder keg. And a potentially dangerous one at that.
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