Republished with permission from Thom Hartmann
[Every incident mentioned in this article is based on an actual statement or action by Donald Trump, the people closely surrounding him, or something Trump has praised about his role model Victor Orbàn.]
It was a hell of a year, 2025: the first year of the First Reich (as those formerly called Democrats referred to it) or The New America as the GOP now refers to our nation. One people, one nation, one leader: America, President-for-life Trump tells us, is now “truly great.”
It started with the election of November 2024, when the No Labels candidacy of Larry Hogan and Joe Manchin pulled enough electoral votes away from Biden—who was more than 10 million popular votes ahead of Trump—that none of the three tickets hit the necessary 270 Electoral College votes to win the White House.
It was a scenario similar to 1824 when John Quincy Adams lost the popular vote to Andrew Jackson but, because William Crawford and Henry Clay were also running for president, neither Adams or Jackson hit the threshold with the Electoral College and the vote went to the House of Representatives, which made Adams president in a series of backroom deals known to historians as the “Corrupt Bargain.”
In a similar way, the election of 2024 was thrown into the House of Representatives, per the 12th Amendment, with each state having one single vote. Since 26 states had Republican-controlled congressional delegations and only 23 had Democratic-controlled delegations (Pennsylvania is evenly split), the House voted 26-24 for Donald Trump to become the next president. He didn’t even need to threaten his vice president or invoke a mob.
At his swearing-in, Trump announced that he was going to fulfill his “dictator for a day” promise and pardoned himself, all Republicans who were in Congress in January 2021 and helped organize or support the attack on the Capitol, and all the January 6th seditionists.
He then announced that the 24 Democrats leading their congressional delegations who’d voted against him in the House were “guilty of sedition against the United States.” As he spoke, each was arrested and taken into custody.
The arrests, particularly of Democratic members of the House and a handful of Democratic Senators from Red states, gave the GOP a majority in both houses, even though Democrats had won both in the 2024 election. Jim Jordan was named the new Speaker of the House, and Rick Scott took Mitch McConnell’s job in the Senate.
The next day, January 21st, Trump signed a new version of his Schedule F change to the Civil Service law, firing en masse roughly 50,000 federal employees in the top and upper management positions across the federal government, including the Department of Defense.
A group of billionaire-friendly candidates had been preselected by a billionaire-funded think tank and all were installed within hours. Those that required the “advice and consent of the Senate” were placed in “acting” positions, as Trump had done in 2020.
Within a week, another series of political arrests took place, as Joe and Hunter Biden, Liz Cheney, Merrick Garland, Jack Smith, Brad Raffensperger, Letitia James, and multiple other federal and state judges and prosecutors were arrested for conspiracy and alleged RICO violations.
“America will never again tolerate lawlessness by its elected and appointed officials,” Trump announced in a prime-time message to the country. Republican politicians and the media rushed to his defense, pointing out previous presidents (Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln) who, they said, did “even worse.”
The Supreme Court handed down a 6-3 ruling declaring hate crimes unconstitutional, calling them “thought crimes,” with Justice Sam Alito asserting:
“We will never allow America to become the dystopian nanny state characterized in the writings of Orwell or Lewis and craved by Democrats. Americans are free to have any thoughts or intentions they want: we only punish actual behavior, and that punishment is the same for all.”
Within hours of their announcement, over 200 people—most queer or Black—lay dead across the United States. Trump went on TV to calm the nation, again asserting “There are very fine people on both sides.”
That weekend, hundreds of thousands of Americans poured into the streets to protest. Trump called another press conference and declared a state of emergency, provoked by what he calls “a nationwide insurrection against law and order and our great nation.”
Tens of thousands of Army troops met the crowds in the streets, and in 11 cities and a half-dozen rural areas used live ammunition to kill several dozen protestors.
Joy Reid began her Monday MSNBC show with the song Four Dead In Ohio and was arrested on-air for “inciting further insurrection.” Trump then referred the network, its executives, and several of its hosts to his FCC for investigation, as he promised in 2023.
CNN threw in with Trump, joining Fox and the Big Three national networks in helping explain to America how Trump’s “changes” are actually far less draconian than things previous presidents (particularly Lincoln, “who even suspended habeas corpus!”) have done.
Trump again invoked the PATRIOT Act to continue to hold the hundreds of elected and appointed Democratic officials, “thugs,” and “sedition ringleaders” in secret detention centers without access to lawyers or other due process.
The media pointed out that this is nothing unusual: Bush and Cheney did the same thing hundreds of times, and some of their victims are even still in Gitmo without ever having had a legitimate day in court. Nobody, they said, of any “real stature” objected.
Given the large number of people coming under detention as protests spread across the country, Trump signed an executive order transferring billions out of the military budget for Halliburton and two private prison contractors to build “detention centers” where “bad people” can be “concentrated in one place.” The media refuses to call them concentration camps because of the “prejudicial” connotations associated with the phrase.
Trump then ordered the Pentagon to withdraw all forms of assistance from Ukraine, including military and diplomatic support. “Putin is merely liberating Ukraine from the Nazis that took it over when they stole the election from Yanukovych,” Trump said, echoing Putin. “They never should have turned their back on their Slavic partner, the nation that birthed them.” He ended the speech with his famous 2024 election slogan, “Blood and soil!”
In an executive order titled “No More Shithole Countries,” he outlawed all immigration, and banned all tourist visas, from Muslim and majority-Black countries except for those from a handful of oil-rich Middle Eastern nations that started building a $5 billion Trump Tower in Oman in July, 2023.
Republicans in the House and Senate passed emergency legislation ending all US gun restrictions with a single exception: anybody who’s been arrested or “credibly accused of sedition” and not pardoned can no longer own a weapon of any sort.
Attorney General Jeffrey Clark then declared that anybody who’s ever joined the Democratic Party or voted for a Democrat in any election in the previous decade is now considered “credibly accused of sedition.”
Congress followed that up with billions to hire at least a million new local and state police, as Trump announced he’s integrating the Proud Boys into the federal military, calling them the “Stormfront,” a shoutout to Qanon.
In the first week of the month, the Supreme Court handed down its 6-3 decision in Loper Bright, gutting every federal protective regulatory agency. Trump immediately fired most of the employees of the EPA and Department of the Interior, promising to sell of all federally owned public lands.
“Our public lands are rich in minerals and fossil fuel, and our parks should be run by smart entrepreneurs,” Trump declared, echoing sentiments attributed to Reagan’s Interior Secretary James Watt.
Disney and Comcast then both submitted bids to buy and manage Yellowstone.
Congress then declared “the Medicare experiment is over” because “more than half of seniors have voted with their feet” and ended the program, mandating all people over 65 must buy an “Advantage” plan from one of a handful of approved insurance giants. Following on that, Congress rolled out “Social Security Advantage,” a program that will, over the next decade, privatize all Social Security accounts via JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America.
Proclaiming “America will no longer use her tax dollars to support Blue state communists,” and keeping a 2023 campaign promise, Trump ordered all military bases closed in any state with a seditionist (Democratic) governor or seditionist-controlled legislature. He gave states 60 days to change the composition of their governments to qualify to keep their military bases; all who didn’t comply are now seeing their facilities (and jobs) moved to Red states.
Congress then passed legislation closely resembling Putin’s laws in Russia and Orbán’s in Hungary declaring homosexuality and transsexuality “deviant behaviors” subject to federal penalties, fulfilling his 2022 promise to pass “Two Genders legislation.”
The “fake news media” is a major crisis, Trump told the nation from a press scrum near his helicopter: the solution, he said, would be straightforward. Congress voted later that day to rewrite the nation’s libel laws, as Orbán did in Hungary and Putin did in Russia, so any journalist or commentator who “sullies the reputation” of any elected official can be subject to both civil and criminal penalties.
Within three weeks of the legislation being signed into law at the end of February, hundreds of writers and TV commentators had been either arrested or bankrupted (depending on the severity of their criticism of Trump) as newsrooms across the nation purged themselves of “anti-American” (anti-Trump) voices.
Now licensed by six Republicans on the Supreme Court and their integration into the military, Proud Boy groups began organized attacks on Black neighborhoods, gay bars, and libraries. Dozens of people died, touching off riots in several cities—particularly Portland and Seattle—that were covered breathlessly by Fox “News.”
Trump pointed to the unrest and announced a second round of billion-dollar contracts for Halliburton to build camps where “bad people,” including those guilty of libel, violating gender conformity laws, or “poisoning the blood of America” through biracial marriages or giving shelter to illegal immigrants, could be “concentrated.”
In a major law and order speech, Trump declared homelessness a federal crime and work camps were set up inside the new concentration camps for homeless people to learn skills so “work can make them free.” Volunteer Proud Boys units were dispatched to help police departments round up those who insisted on living on the streets.
Based on the Comstock Act—which is still law but hasn’t been enforced since the 1950s—the Republicans on the Supreme Court outlawed mifepristone and all hormonal birth control, along with IUDs and condoms. Republicans passed legislation declaring that “life begins at conception,” and US attorneys have started charging women who got abortions in Blue states over the past year with murder. The Attorney General announced that all miscarriages must be reported to local police for investigation.
In the last week of February, Russia launched a “final assault” on Ukraine, with the aid of their new “Freedom Block” allies: China, Iran, and North Korea. Ukraine fell, and Trump hailed “a new era of world peace.”
Keeping his campaign promise, Trump dissolved the Department of Education and killed all federal aid to education, higher and primary. The next day, the Supreme Court struck down FDR’s child labor laws; within a week every Red state in the country followed suit with their own state laws allowing anybody older than 12 to work (including in the brothels Trump decriminalized).
Republicans passed the “Free the Job Creators Act,” which ended all taxation of capital gains. Billionaires will never again pay any income taxes at all.
Internationally, the world order was changing rapidly. In a coordinated move, Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons; China encircled and cut off all shipping and fuel to Taiwan; Russia, Belarus, and Hungary collectively invaded Poland; and NATO dithered as Trump threatened to intervene on Russia’s side.
Trump refused to help Israel, and the Iranians who now control the country brought Netanyahu, who had helped fund Hamas for so many years, out of prison and back into office as a puppet Prime Minister. Trump called a press conference and said this is what is prophesied in the Bible and Jews better begin converting to Christianity if they want to survive.
Hours later, Trump issued an executive order declaring America a Christian country; states began to shut down synagogues, mosques, and Buddhist and Hindu temples within the week.
Like in Russia and Hungary, Republicans passed laws asserting that voting is a privilege, not a right, and, backstopped by SCOTUS, Red States purged over 30 million people from the voter rolls in the first week. Speaker Jordan proclaimed, “There will never again be a ‘so-called purple’ state.”
The new law requires that a person must be employed to vote; being married to an employed person is not enough. Women, unemployed men, and students protested and hundreds were shot in the streets or sent to the work camps.
With a dramatic flourish and to redirect attention away from domestic protests, Trump declared war on Mexico for “refusing to do anything about their drugs and gangs, which have already declared war on the United States.”
He seized several northern Mexican states after a few short battles and strategic bombing of the presidential palace and Capitol building in Mexico City. Control of those formerly northern Mexican states was given to Greg Abbott, who Trump named “Administrator” of “American Mexico” just like L. Paul Bremmer was in Iraq.
An insurgency against American occupation arose in Mexico, drawing us into a hot war with that country. Trump ordered all Americans of more than 3/5ths Mexican ancestry arrested and moved into detention camps or deported. Protests broke out across the country, but were quickly put down by the military.
The wars in Europe and Asia are winding down now, as Trump declared a “New Alliance” between the US, China, Russia, North Korea, Hungary, and Iran. Argentina applied for membership, as did dozens of other rightwing governments from Central and South America to Africa and Asia. Australia has made peace with China, naming a Murdoch heir as the new leader of that English-speaking country.
The Democratic Party is now officially banned as “insurrectionist” and the Supreme Court extended Article 3 of the 14th Amendment (which prevents insurrectionists from holding public office) to include all governmental positions in the country: only Republicans, Libertarians, and No Labels politicians need apply.
People have started to fight back in random places, so Congress codified the earlier ruling by Attorney General Clark that any former member of, or voter for, Democrats may not own a gun or other “weapon of war”: regional “insurrections” continue to break out but the military and their Proud Boy units quickly put them down.
The largest uprising was in Los Angeles: Trump had about 40 square blocks seized, locked down, and surrounded with razor wire. He then put that state, Oregon, and Washington under federal control, citing laws and acts taken by President Lincoln.
And that’s just the first five months. From there, things began to get really bad for Americans…
Thom Hartmann, one of America’s leading public intellectuals and the country’s #1 progressive talk show host, writes fresh content six days a week. The Monday-Friday “Daily Take” articles are free to all, while paid subscribers receive a Saturday summary of the week’s news and, on Sunday, a chapter excerpt from one of his books.