In a raucous January 5 campaign speech, former president Donald Trump displayed characteristic demagoguery, firing up supporters with false claims about the 2020 election, dire warnings about imaginary voter fraud schemes targeting 2024, and calls for aggressive poll monitoring amounting to voter intimidation. Trump proclaimed the 2024 election would represent conservatives’ “final battle” to save America as they know it.

His incendiary rhetoric, particularly calls for supporters to physically confront voters and election workers, sparked viral outrage and accusations Trump is openly and dangerously stoking political violence. But his base ate up the red meat, seeing Trump as their messianic last hope against sinister forces rapidly transforming society. The stakes for the rule of law, civic stability, and democratic fairness grow increasingly dire heading toward November 2024’s divisive climax.

Trump Rehashes 2020 Lies, Stokes 2024 Cheating Fears

Trump repeated thoroughly debunked lies that the 2020 election was “stolen” from him, falsely telling supporters the same threats endanger 2024 and “if we don’t get fair treatment, our country’s in big trouble.” He referenced an imminent Supreme Court decision on state powers over elections, predicting it would validate his conspiracy theories.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore/White House

Trump urged supporters they must “stay in those voting booths” on Election Day 2024 and closely “watch” for any suspicious activity, which risks voter intimidation complaints. He claimed opponents are “crooked as hell” and know “how to cheat,” further stoking fears of widespread voter fraud in 2024 despite no evidence ever emerging of systematic cheating.

Trump Calls 2024 “Final Battle,” Urges Poll Watching

In his most dangerous rhetoric yet, Trump proclaimed “2024 is our final battle” and said supporters must metaphorically “fight for America like no one has ever fought before” to avoid catastrophic loss. This high-stakes framing treats the election like an apocalyptic war with existential consequences for conservatives’ entire way of life hanging in the balance based on the results.

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Previously in December 2022, Trump told Iowa voters they “should go into Detroit” and other urban areas to proactively “watch those votes” in minority communities and prevent suspected cheating plots from succeeding, which experts criticized as a clear encouragement of voter harassment and intimidation efforts. Now Trump directly tells crowds nationwide they must take it upon themselves to personally monitor voting sites en masse on his behalf, risking widespread voter intimidation complaints, restraining orders, or even criminal charges of election interference.

Widespread Outrage, “Voter Intimidation” Accusations

Predictably, Trump’s bellicose January 5 speech went viral, provoking widespread outrage focusing on his “intimidating” rhetoric, including calling poll workers “bags of crap” and explicitly ordering supporters to take direct action confronting ordinary voters and election administrators over evidence-free fraud concerns he manufactured from thin air.

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National legal experts like Bradley P. Moss wrote that doing what Trump belligerently suggests risks immediate arrest, tweeting “If voters want to get arrested for obstructing others’ ability to cast a ballot, sure, do that. I wouldn’t recommend it.” Both Republican and Democrat officials accused Trump of openly encouraging mass voter intimidation efforts through vigilante “poll watching” on a scale America has not seen in modern history.

Die-Hard Fans See Trump as “Besides God

Despite viral criticism, Trump’s base remains die-hard loyalists quintessential of today’s polarized climate. One 60-something man told Politico Trump is “the only one besides God” capable of rescuing America from its current troubles.

Source: Flickr/Chris Goodwin

Such cult-like devotion reflects deep societal grievances among Trump’s followers. Though provocative, his speech effectively taps those feelings of resentment and decline. The question is if it motivates turnout while alienating swing voters.

Trump’s Bizarre Alternative Civil War History

One head-scratching moment came when Trump mused about an alternative history where Abraham Lincoln had “negotiated” to prevent the Civil War, implying deals preserving slavery. Trump said that’d be morally “OK” despite slavery’s evil.

Source: Wikimedia/Alexander Gardner

Trump added in this hypothetical Lincoln “wouldn’t have been the Abraham Lincoln” celebrated as the Great Emancipator today. While crowd reactions are unclear, glorifying slavery’s persistence violates modern values.

Initial Restraint: “Please Don’t Stay Home

Early in his speech, Trump struck a relatively restrained tone, acknowledging “polls show we’ll win big” in 2024 but warning supporters complacency and low turnout is “the worst thing you can do.”

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This motivation contrasts with his later remarks spreading conspiracy theories and calling for aggressive poll monitoring. The two messages seem at odds – restraint versus militant confrontation.

Trashing Carroll in Defamation Case Lands Trump $83 Million Bill

Trump crassly bashed writer E. Jean Carroll, who accused him of rape and just won an $83 million defamation judgment when Trump smeared her. Trump dismissed the case as insignificant “women’s stuff” showing his brazen disregard.

Source: Wikimedia/julieannesmo

The sizable jury verdict and federal appeals court greenlighting the case’s continuation, despite Trump’s immunity claims, marks a rare accountability moment for the ex-president who normally dodges legal consequences.

January 6 Revelations Further Undermine Trump’s Excuses

Previously unknown details emerged about Trump purposefully rebuffing advisers begging him to stop the January 6 Capitol attack as it unfolded. One official said Trump was “just not interested” in halting the violence and chaos.

Source: Wikimedia/Max Goldberg

These damning revelations contradict Trump’s constant excuse he couldn’t safely act sooner to stop the attack. It bolsters the narrative he intentionally let the mayhem unfold despite clear duties to intervene.

Takeaways: High Stakes Heading Towards Climax

Trump’s pugnacious speech underscores his 2024 buildup is accelerating rapidly. He hopes to rile up grievances and turnout can overwhelm those repelled by his rhetoric and hardline base. The stakes are enormous.

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The mixed messaging seems chaotic yet intentional. But legally and morally, he’s entering dangerous territory by enabling violence or flouting electoral fairness norms. The next two years will determine America’s direction.

2024: Rule of Law or Rule of Trump?

Trump plots total war to regain power in 2024 centered on denying democratic results, spreading fringe theories, and enabling aggressive methods.

Source: Wikimedia/United States Senate – Office of Dan Sullivan

His rhetoric grows increasingly dehumanizing and combative, risking legal lines and civic strife. The outcome will determine if stable pluralism withstands his assault or if America descends into sectarian authoritarianism under Trump permanently backed by violent threats. The stakes genuinely could not be higher for the nation’s survival as an open, rights-based constitutional democracy.