3:07 PM, Jun 18, 2023
Don't Lock Him Up... yet
tagged with politics
Since the indictment of the former President on charges under the Espionage Act, with overwhelming evidence against him, the story the news media have been running with has been how Trump can find way to delay prosecution, possibly even until after the election. This is a journalistic trick that benefits nobody, except ad-sales of the networks of these news media outlets, with frightened people making sure to tune in and stay up-to-date on the menace of the hour.
In other words, the same strategy Fox News has been using for decades.
But what I haven't heard anyone talk about is the degenerative effect Trump has on the Republican Party, as evidenced by the results of every election since he first took office. Right now, in a pitiful display of a combination of cognitive dissonance, MAGA subservience, and infection by the entertainment wing of the GOP, Trump's defenders have a number of excuses for Trump's behavior, all spurious. But the loudest I have heard is that the Department of Justice is being "weaponized," by the President, to prevent Trump's candidacy, because the entertainment wing is also spreading in the minds of its adherents the delusion that Trump would defeat Biden in a 2024 general election.
What I am not seeing anywhere is this fact: there is no urgency in convicting and incarcerating Trump-- or rather, convicting and incarcerating Trump is urgent, but not for any reason having to do with 2024 or any other election. The strategy we will see unfold thanks to the efforts of what remains of his legal team will be an attempt to delay prosecution, laying out the idea that if he can just hold off until after the election, he can just pardon himself and all his co-conspirators like a mafia don.
This will cause most who oppose him to push even harder for expedited prosecution, and allows for one of two potential outcomes:
1) Trump is prosecuted, convicted, and incarcerated.
2) Trump is prosecuted, but mistakes are made in prosecuting him and he gets off.
In the first case. he spends(ideally) the rest of his life in an orange jumpsuit in a minimum-security penal compound, and a legal battle to exonerate him, and to decide whether he can be the President from prison will ensue.
I believe that both of these outcomes will have a terrible effect on the 2024 election. In the case of the first, the entertainment wing of the GOP will continue to push the "victim of the deep state" narrative, and a central issue among Republican candidates will be to rally around their beset messiah, and turn out to defeat the deep state in 2024. Fox News is much better at shaping narratives than any centrist, fact-based news media outlet, and you can be certain that their narrative-- and it would be embraced far outside their own ecosystem --would be that Joe Biden is a bully and a tyrant who locks up anyone who opposes him. I think this could cost him the White House, and could cost his party a big swing of seats in Congress. In the case of the second scenario, I think the outcome would be basically the same as the first, except that in addition to a bully and a tyrant, Joe Biden would be cast as impotent and bumbling with age.
I think it would actually be ideal for gravity to assert itself on Trump after the 2024 election, removing the appearance of partisan impropriety, and more importantly, depriving the GOP's entertainment wing of fuel for their outrage machine. Donald Trump is an old man. If he's still alive in January of 2029, he will be 83 years old on inauguration day if he runs and wins in 2028. It's 2024 or nothing for him. If he runs and fails again, he will be weaker than ever.
In the meantime, through no effort whatsoever by his political opponents, Donald Trump is an anvil his party is condemned to drag around. He has the unwavering support of a small population that vehemently opposes the majority position on almost every issue. This has the potential to be devastating in any election, whether he's running or not. He has sculpted a party in which the primary elections are a circus of performative insanity, sending patently unelectable candidates to the general election to face reasonable, responsible candidates who make an effort to reach out to the middle for the votes of independent voters.
His insanity is so pronounced that I think it's possible that even as a free man, he may not get his party's nomination in the Spring. I think that possibility is remote, and that he will almost certainly breeze to the GOP nomination without any substantial primary challenge. But if he doesn't get the GOP nomination, there is no universe in which he does not run. He'd split the GOP vote, like H. Ross Perot did in 1992 and 1996, handing the election to Biden. Keep in mind as well that his name on the ballot would produce another historic turnout like 2020, except that in 2024, he has nothing to run for except revenge and score-settling, and the population knows that a vote for any Republican is a vote against female personhood and the freedom of anybody who isn't a white male.
There is no need to lock Trump up before the election, and doing so could only have a negative effect. He will lose just fine without legal consequences.