What Would Trump’s Second Term Look Like?

by Evelyn San Miguel ’26

As the chances of current President Joe Biden winning the presidency in November’s general election are proving to be a toss-up, the terrifying reality of another Trump presidency looms over a sea of concerns about America’s future. Biden’s approval ratings, especially among young people of color—who bolstered his way to the White House in 2020—have decreased. Issues like the Israel-Hamas War, failures to deliver on the more progressive promises of his presidency, and his advanced age, are just some of the reasons why Biden is facing a close race in November.

So what has former President Donald Trump promised for his second term? For starters, a slew of rollbacks of the Biden Administration’s policies, as well a vow to reshape the federal government by empowering a far-right agenda, boding a dangerous future for American democracy as we know it.

Like his first run for president, Trump’s agenda is championing harsh immigration restrictions, especially for the United States’ southern border with Mexico. Trump has declared that if elected a second term, he would wage a “war” on cartels and human traffickers, using incidents such as the murder of 22-year-old Georgian nursing student Laken Riley as fuel for his war against immigrants.

On abortion, Trump has reversed his previous plan of a national abortion ban at 15 weeks, now saying that the decision should be left up to the states. Since the monumental ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson in 2022, over twenty states have banned or heavily restricted abortion, and more are certainly to follow. Three of Trump’s appointed justices, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett all argued and fought for Roe’s overrule. With a second term, Trump would have further opportunity to appoint justices with a similar conservative slant.

Trump’s foreign policy agenda for his second term remains relatively similar to his first, promising for an “America First” policy of departing from alliances like the Paris Climate Agreement, reducing reliance on trade with China by imposing restrictive tariffs, as well as a closer diplomatic relationship with Russia and threatening to abandon “delinquent” NATO allies. If Trump is elected, his second term will provide minimal support to Ukraine at a time in which the country relies on imports of weapons and aid from the U.S., instead furthering a positive diplomatic relationship with Russia and its autocratic President Vladimir Putin.

Many have forgotten what Trump’s first presidency was like and, amidst a young electorate that feels increasingly “crisised-out” and apathetic, have failed to jog their memories of the disaster of Trump’s first term. However bad people feel the former President’s first term was, he promises to make his second worse. Dictators and authoritarian leaders not only parallel Trump but have been praised by him, and their establishments of authoritarian surveillance states sound eerily similar to what Trump has been spearheading to his voters, arguing that he should have “total impunity” from his involvement in dozens of civil and criminal suits, including potential charges for his alleged incitement of an insurrection on January 6, 2021. Trump, in an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity in 2023, said he would only be a dictator on “day one” of his presidency, commenting that he would increase fossil fuel production and crack down on immigration.

Already, Trump has made threats of a new American reality. Threats to democracy are not only real, but imminent, and especially so if Trump comes out on top in November’s elective battle.