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Trump 2028

The Twenty-second Amendment is an arbitrary restraint on presidents who serve nonconsecutive terms—and on democracy itself.

Donald Trump Holds Campaign Rally In Support Of Arizona GOP Candidates
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Lost in the Left’s endless babbling about Donald Trump’s alleged threat to democracy is a very simple but inconvenient truth: Trump’s re-emergence as the Republican presidential nominee in 2024 is a triumph of democracy.

Not only did Trump secure the nomination following his defeat in 2020—a rather incredible feat in and of itself—but did so in spite of every obstacle the mainstream media, the Republican establishment, and the lawfare apparatus have put in his way.


The primary voters and caucus-goers who chose Trump did so in spite of January 6, the prosecution of the former president, or even the popularity in some MAGA quarters of Ron DeSantis. They chose him because they damn well felt like it. 

This is democracy in action: The voters surveyed the scene, tuned out the noise, and selected the man the rest of the world loves to hate. What could be more democratic than voting for your preferred candidate against the advice—the warnings, the threats, the fear-mongering—of your betters?

Yet, even if Trump returns to the White House this November, the Twenty-second Amendment will bar him from standing for re-election in 2028. Ratified in 1951, the amendment is largely seen as a kind of constitutional course correction following the four consecutive presidential terms of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The amendment reads, in part: “No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once.”

This sounds reasonable enough, especially in light of FDR’s hold on the office. Yet those who supported the amendment more than 70 years ago could not have foreseen the prospect of a one-term president who lost the office but who later regained it in a subsequent election. Grover Cleveland remains the only president to have successfully vaulted himself to the White House in nonconsecutive elections, in 1884 and in 1892. (Theodore Roosevelt, president from 1901 to 1909, also gave it a try by running as the Progressive Party standard-bearer in 1912.)


In modern times, it is virtually inconceivable that any of the ousted one-term presidents would have seriously thought of running anew against the same opponent (now the occupant of the White House) who had bested them four years earlier. (Think about it: George H.W. Bush running against Bill Clinton in 1996?) This is not a reflection of a weakness in their character but the reality of American public life: Voters are fickle, and by the end of the first term of any presidency, they have long forgotten the loser from four years earlier. 

As the primary season has shown us, the Republicans have not moved on from Trump—yet the Twenty-second Amendment works to constrain their enthusiasm by prohibiting them from rewarding Trump with re-election four years from now. 

This is plainly unfair. Indeed, there has long been support for axing the Twenty-second Amendment due to the artificial limits it places on voter choice. Many popular presidents have agreed. In 1985, the Washington Post reported that Ronald Reagan supported repealing the amendment, saying in private remarks that the lame-duck label being applied to his second term left him feeling “handicapped.” In 2016, Barack Obama told David Axelrod that he was sure he would have coasted to a third term if such a thing were permissible: “I am confident in this vision, because I’m confident that if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could have mobilized a majority of the American people to rally behind it.” 

The case of Donald Trump, however, makes an even more forceful ethical argument against the Twenty-second Amendment and for its repeal: If a man who once was president returns, after a series of years, to stand again for the office and proves so popular as to earn a second nonconsecutive term—as Trump seems bound to do—to deny him the right to run for a second consecutive term cuts against basic fair play. If, by 2028, voters feel Trump has done a poor job, they can pick another candidate; but if they feel he has delivered on his promises, why should they be denied the freedom to choose him once more?

Don’t let questions of Trump’s age in four years fool you. 

Besides the glaringly obvious differences between the men in their brain power, physical strength, and ability to walk in a straight line, Trump and Biden are about four years apart, making this issue something of a wash. If Trump wins in November and would be eligible to run for re-election in 2028, he would be 82 years old during that election—the same age Biden will be later this year. And at the end of Trump’s hypothetical second consecutive term, in 2032, he would be 86—the same age Biden would be at the end of his second term if he is returned to the White House. 

Conservatives have gritted their teeth for years as the Left, in their hatred of Trump, has attempted to pervert the meaning of first the Twenty-fifth Amendment and, more recently, the Fourteenth Amendment. The case for repealing the Twenty-second Amendment is far more straightforward: As with Prohibition, it is simply a matter of finding the will to get rid of a bad idea that needlessly limits Americans’ freedom. 

Trump in 2028!