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The aristocrats who martyred Trump America's elites aren't as smart as they imagine

Trump in New Jersey at the weekend (Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Trump in New Jersey at the weekend (Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


June 3, 2024   5 mins

I have no wish to add to the existential howl attendant on Donald Trump’s conviction in a Manhattan courthouse for a crime that I, like most Americans, would be hard pressed to explain. I don’t like Trump as a politician or a human being. He’s an agent of chaos and a narcissistic vortex of attention.

But I want to say a few things for the record.

When Hillary Clinton, from sheer paranoia, set up her own private server to conduct business as secretary of state, the FBI naturally took an interest. I worked for many years in a classified environment. If I had done anything similar, I’d be writing this from my austere prison cell. But Clinton wasn’t me. She belonged to a different class. The FBI rapped her knuckles gently, called her out as a bad example, but refused to prosecute.

When Joe Biden mishandled classified documents in an apparently egregious manner, he attracted the attention of a special prosecutor. The ensuing investigation proved without a doubt that Biden had violated the law. If I had done the same thing, and stashed government secrets in my garage near my trusty Rav4, I would never see the light of day again. But again, I’m not Biden. He belongs to a special class. The prosecutor’s report admitted Biden’s guilt but refused to prosecute because the president of the United States, leader of the free world, was too old and dotty to be held accountable.

Then there’s Trump. The New York State district attorney, Alvin Bragg, is a Democrat with powerful political motives to bring down the likely Republican nominee. That should be a scandal but, in the ethical muddle of our age, it seemingly isn’t. The actual charges concocted by Bragg against Trump I leave for the legal experts to parse. None of them rose to the level of Clinton’s server or Biden’s garage sale of secrets. But Trump is the monster that haunts the nightmares of the privileged class. He must be prosecuted in multiple times and places, convicted, fined hundreds of millions, imprisoned, annihilated, pulverised.

The whole process stinks of desperation. If the progressive elites who run the Biden administration felt confident they could defeat Trump at the polls, we would hear Homeric laughter ringing from the White House and its pet organs in the news media. But Biden is terribly unpopular, even among his base. America’s elites fear and mistrust the American voter. They have lost faith in democracy, a system that in 2016 delivered the power of the presidency to the monstrous Trump, and they dream of a rising class of Platonic guardians, people exactly like themselves, with the right pedigree, the right opinions, the right manners, who rule not because they have won an electoral lottery but in perpetuity, as a reward for their superior virtue.

Convicting Trump as a political insurance policy brings us a step closer to a fatal turning point in American history. This country, Abraham Lincoln said, was founded on a proposition: that all are created equal. That proposition has liberated millions from within and attracted millions more from abroad. For most of us, it meant little more than being left alone by the cops and the structures of power. But for others, evidently, there was an expectation of utopia, of perfectly proportional equality in every dimension and transaction, that has failed to materialise. Dismayed, the progressive elites have turned their backs on representative democracy and now seek an aristocracy of virtue. The forms will remain the same but the substance, with a wink and a nudge, will respect caste and breeding.

Can this really happen? To an alarming extent, it already has. A single monolithic class controls most of the key institutions of American life. Between a high official at the State Department or the FBI, an executive at Google or Nike, and an editor at the New York Times or NPR, the difference is scarcely noticeable. Conformity in word and gesture is mandatory. And these people have persuaded themselves that contemporary society is too complex for the public to navigate safely. Given the madness of social media, the prevalence of fake news and disinformation, the appeal to simple minds of post-truth populists like Trump — given all the chaos, there’s a need for stern measures. Information must be controlled. Prominent dissenters must be cowed into silence if they wish to keep their jobs. The cops must go after the populists and haul them off to prison.

In the present case, however, such tactics may backfire. It is remarkable to note how much of Trump’s popularity is a function of the intemperance of his enemies. After his defeat in 2020, Trump drifted downward in a semi-quiescent state. The announcement of his candidacy for the 2024 Republican nomination wasn’t greeted with wild enthusiasm. This exhausting reality show had been cancelled for a reason. Few were begging for a new season.

Then Biden sent the FBI to Mar-a-Lago, and the whole dynamic of the race changed. Trump was once again the centre of attention, the master of ceremonies, as he had been in 2016, and no one else could get a word in edgewise. His Republican opponents felt obligated to stand behind him. Trump crushed them without difficulty in the primaries. So it boiled down to a choice between Trump and Biden – and the latter is perceived by the public to be an inarticulate failed president, ageing badly, whose minions are attempting to cheat their way into another presidential term. A wistful nostalgia for the Trump years now permeates a large segment of the population.

Conviction could boost this trend by another level of magnitude. Trump is no longer Trump: he has been transformed into a living symbol of the progressive elites’ abuse of power and contempt for the principle of equality. The MAGA faithful are beside themselves with rage – but rank-and-file Republicans, who have always been ambivalent about Trump, are just as livid. Ordinary voters who lack strong political inclinations can recognise in Trump’s persecutors the traits of the class enemy. Many who embrace the American tradition of rule of law may overcome their distaste for Trump the person and align themselves with Trump the symbol. The political consequences for Biden would then be the opposite of what was intended by that first raid at Mar-a-Lago: devastating defeat.

“He has been transformed into a living symbol of the progressive elites’ abuse of power and contempt for the principle of equality.”

I don’t give a hoot about Trump, but I care a lot about my country. I find elite pretensions to be a kind of self-deluded nihilism: they are not as smart or as capable as they imagine, and they are willing to bring down the temple of democracy so long as it buries their enemies. An Ivy League education has apparently bestowed on them no understanding of history — no clue of how hard it is to fix a nation once it has been broken.

Imprisoning political opponents is what the Putins and the Castros do. It shouldn’t be allowed to stand here — it isn’t who we are or have ever been. As our Founders understood, the aristocratic principle invariably fails because the aristocrats are unworthy. Outside the courthouse, after his conviction, Trump said that the true verdict would be delivered by the American people on Election Day. I can only hope that he’s right.


Martin Gurri is a former CIA analyst and the author of ‘The Revolt of the Public‘.

mgurri

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Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
14 days ago

“I don’t like Trump as a politician or a human being. He’s an agent of chaos and a narcissistic vortex of attention.”
Myself, I don’t understand why people think Donald Trump is some sort of hapless buffoon. Sure, he uses his “truthful hyperbole” (in other words, “lying”) like it’s going out of style — he’s more Ciceronian than Cicero. And the tweets he writes are often silly and sometimes mean.
But Donald Trump is also a skilled dealmaker like no one we’ve ever seen in American politics. He’s a master of the art of the deal. Just think of him coming out of nowhere to win the presidency. And then despite all the hate-filled hordes of the elite arrayed against him, doing the things he did with North Korea, NAFTA, the southern border, Russia, Syria, Iran, Israel, and China.
The main task of the president is to conduct foreign policy, and Donald Trump did that like a whirlwind. He’s got a rare and almost unexplainable talent, like a Steve Jobs, an Elon Musk, or an Elizabeth Holmes. I’ve worked on lots of deals in my career, billions of dollars worth. But compared to Donald Trump, I’m a piker.
People call Donald Trump a narcissist, but that persona is just his shtick. He’s put on that same front for decades, but behind it he’s a warm and generous person. Look at how many times he went on Oprah Winfrey’s show. Look at the award Jesse Jackson gave him. Look at how his wives and children all love him. Look at how his employees at the Trump Organization sing his praises. Look at how so many people watched his hit reality television show.
Of course I don’t know the man — I’ve never met him. But I’ve taken the time to dig beyond the hit pieces in the liberal media to form an opinion. As a lawyer, I’ve studied the complaints and indictments brought against him, and cast a practiced eye at what they show about the real truth.
Despite his weaknesses, and they are (as management expert Peter Drucker put it decades ago when talking about strong leaders) strong weaknesses, I think Donald Trump is the best president we have had during my lifetime, bar none. He knows how to size people up and navigate a complex situation, where there are no easy solutions. That’s a rare talent, and he showed it on the world stage, where he dominated over all other leaders. (While Joe Biden is just a seldom-seen bit player, more a figurehead than a leader, like a president of the Mormon Church.)
Donald Trump knows that dealing with complexity is hard, not simple. He knows how silly people like senator and 2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren are, touting their untested plans. He knows how important it is to feel your way along when facing complex problems, taking small steps and seeing what happens, failing occasionally but still making progress. Where Elizabeth Warren’s catchphrase was, “I’ve got a plan for that!”, Donald Trump’s catchphrase was, “we’ll see what happens”.
Maybe Donald Trump is an agent of chaos and a narcissistic vortex of attention. I think people should look past that kind of thing, as subjective and churlish as such judgments are, to judge what Donald Trump accomplished. Don’t be like the Democrats with their vengeful and shameful civil suits and criminal indictments, their impeachments and investigations, all based on unreasoned hate.
Support the man, don’t attack him. And let him work some magic. We need it. In Ukraine. In Gaza. In Taiwan. Everywhere.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
14 days ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Comical.
Trump is moron. His businesses failed at an astonishing rate. His current wife clearly hates him and his elder and favourite daughter wants nothing to do with him. His two idiot sons have got nowhere else to go.
He was made to look a fool on the world stage and made America a laughing stock.
The rest of your MAGA talking points are too stupid to be worth my time.
You’ve embarrassed yourself, sport. And nobody believes your “I’m a lawyer” schtick. You’re way too dumb.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
14 days ago

You’re like someone out of a Monty Python sketch. The Argument Sketch, to be specific. Just like in the sketch, I pay UnHerd my subscription fee to get a good argument from other commenters, and you provide instead abuse and contradiction, but no argument.
As Michael Palin’s character says in the sketch, “An argument isn’t just contradiction. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition. Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.”
Try harder. Make an argument.
As for my bona fides as a lawyer, I graduated from a top law school near the top of my class, Order of the Coif, and managing editor of the law review, and clerked for a federal district court judge. I then went off to the University of Tokyo on a Fulbright fellowship, where I studied Japanese law (in Japanese), then worked at a Japanese law firm and helped open a Tokyo office for a US firm. After 9 years in Japan, I came to Silicon Valley where I’ve worked as a lawyer, executive, entrepreneur, investor, and inventor for almost 30 years.
Having a strong background both in the common law system of the US (with its origins in British law) and the civil law system of Japan (with its origins in French and German law), I have a deeper understanding of how the law works in society than most American lawyers do. And as a generalist who practices mainly corporate finance law, I learned how useless litigators are in getting things done.

Ian_S
Ian_S
14 days ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Fascinating cv. Also interesting arguments.

Martin M
Martin M
14 days ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Ok, I’ll make an argument. I am a lawyer too, albeit in Australia, but I don’t have an “Order of the Coif” (whatever that is). Donald Trump is a toxic narcissist of galactic proportions. It is absolutely inconceivable that he could do anything for anyone else, because in his Universe, there is only him. At every point in his life, he has simply judged courses of action by “Is this good for me?” It is therefore easy to believe that he has done any number of illegal things throughout his life (let’s face it – he must have dealt with the Mob during his time as a property developer, because for much of his career, it would have been impossible to build anything in Manhattan without Mob involvement). He has already made it quite plain that when he gets back into power, he will devote most of his energy to “paying back his enemies”. Is that good for the US (or for the world)? I would argue that it isn’t. I would admit that the Democrats carry a bit of blame for creating “Trump the Politician”, because they ran the unctuous Hillary Clinton against him (full disclosure – even I supported Trump against Hillary, despite being aware that it would all go off the rails if he ever lost, because the worst thing in the world for him would be being a “Loser”). So, what to do now? The answer that seems to have been arrived at is “Hit him with everything you’ve got”. Was that the best decision that could have been taken? I don’t know, but it is hard to “change horses mid-stream”. If he does win the election, I only hope he chooses someone sane as his running mate. After all, an obese man in his late 70s should (statistically at least) not have a long life span.

Sisyphus Jones
Sisyphus Jones
11 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

I’ve noticed that the immovably partisan (as opposed to the generally inquisitive) tend to write in a narrative form that resembles an internal conversation. What I mean is, that comment sounds like something you would tell YOURSELF, not a group of people. Or, if you did tell a group of people, it would be a group you’re certain are guarding an identical set of biases as you.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
13 days ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

CS is a troll; ignore him and do not pay his toll.

Ian_S
Ian_S
14 days ago

CS, it’s one thing to ensconce yourself here with a persona riffing on that Sesame Street trash-can guy, it’s another to make baseless and defamatory personal insults.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
14 days ago

You’ve embarrassed yourself, sport. And nobody believes your “I’m a lawyer” schtick. You’re way too dumb.
I think even Donald Trump would struggle to be as childish and obnoxious as you.

Phil Re
Phil Re
11 days ago

I agree in a way that Trump made America a laughingstock. But the joke ended up being on those who were doing all the laughing. It turns out that Trump understood a tremendous amount about the country and the world that our elites had a class interest in not understanding. If anyone is narcissistic, it’s surely those self-certain and self-serving elites. More of the public sees that now than ever before.
I certainly agree with Gurri’s thesis in this article. But it looks to me like he’s using his remarks about Trump as a device to make himself sound respectable to those who might otherwise ignore his thesis. His perspective on Trump in the afterword of The Revolt of the Public was much more thoughtful and nuanced.

Last edited 11 days ago by Phil Re
Martin M
Martin M
14 days ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

“….like a Steve Jobs, an Elon Musk, or an Elizabeth Holmes“.
Not sure why you put those three forward. The first was a psychopath (now fortunately dead), the second is about as creepy and weird as a human being can get, and the third is a con-woman (now fortunately in jail).

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
14 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

In what way was Jobs a psychopath? Or Musk creepy and weird? Both have/had minor faults not particularly extraordinary or unusual in the wider population. But both are/were great visionaries. Celebrating Jobs’ death is pretty disgusting too. Perhaps you should go to the Guardian? More kindred spirits and enthusiasts for mediocrity there, I think.

Martin M
Martin M
13 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I comment on the Guardian as well (although they don’t like the fact that I am quite libertarian, and am not a member of the “Climate Cult). Jobs used to scream apoplectically at his employees for virtually no reason, and denied the paternity of his daughter for many years. Visionary or not, he was a truly awful person. Are you serious about Musk? You only have to listen to the guy for five minutes to work out why. Apparently he was bullied at school. No surprises there.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
11 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

Most of what Musk says seems quite commonsensical to me. Still, if you think women have pen1ses then perhaps he might appear a bit outlandish.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
14 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

Martin, You completely negate any arguments you may have made. Steve Jobs was a genius whether you like it or not, and many aspects of our lives have changed because of him (iPhone, iMac, iPad, MacBook, etc…..). Likewise Elon Musk is a genius. Whether you are a fan of EVs or not, the Tesla is head and shoulders above every other EV currently on the market. As for Elizabeth Holmes, she was clearly very smart but should have put her talent to better use.

Martin M
Martin M
13 days ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

I’m not saying Jobs wasn’t smart, I’m saying he was a horrible person. I have never every owned an Apple product, and I doubt I ever will. As to Musk, I hope to make it through life without ever owning an EV (I don’t specifically dislike Teslas, just EVs generally). I have often wondered why all the conspiracy theorists hate Bill Gates. If you want a “Bond villain” bad guy, you need look no further that Musk. I don’t need to say anything about Holmes, as she is a convicted criminal.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
12 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

I put those three forward because I researched and wrote about them in a chapter of the book I’m writing on how to speed up innovation in carmaking. From practicing law for 30 years in Silicon Valley, I have a web of connections to all three of them (though I have never met any of them).

All three are exemplars of how to get things done in a risky environment where it’s hard to know what will work. Just like Donald Trump.

All three have their weaknesses, but so does everybody. Management expert Peter Drucker taught that we should not judge leaders by their weaknesses but by their strengths. Strong leaders have strong weaknesses. That’s inevitable.

If you try to find a leader with few weaknesses you end up with someone mediocre at best and incompetent at worst. Of course criminal behavior should not be tolerated, but neither Jobs, Musk, Holmes nor Trump is anywhere close to a criminal. (Though the last two were convicted in show trials.)

I would say more about the three but space here is limited. So if you want to know more, read the book!

Last edited 12 days ago by Carlos Danger
Aidan Trimble
Aidan Trimble
13 days ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Wonderful summary that absolutely sums up my position.

Erik Hildinger
Erik Hildinger
13 days ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Whatever you may think of Trump, do you want the government prosecuting you because of your political opinions? There are 23,000 pages of federal laws and regulations. Who is not guilty of some technical infraction and thus vulnerable?

Y Chromosome
Y Chromosome
7 days ago
Reply to  Erik Hildinger

Point of fact: the US has over 175,000 pages of regulations enforced by approximately 450 federal agencies, staffed by over 2.7 million bureaucrats.

Lisa Darling
Lisa Darling
13 days ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

To my fellow Americans: Be wise enough this time to vote Policy over Personality. (And in what bizarro world is the Personality of Joe Biden the preferred Personality, anyway?…hair-sniffing, plagiarizing, fictitious personal-history-weaving, shell company-creating money-laundering, Hunter Biden’s dad, etc.)

Mark epperson
Mark epperson
13 days ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Well stated. I don’t like what he says, but I certainly agree with what he did when he was President. Hopefully, enough folks in the U.S. will feel the same in November.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
13 days ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Well said, Carlos. I have nothing to add to your masterful summation. Under Biden, we have had war and chaos abroad and at home. Under Trump, we have had peace and prosperity at home, while the Democrats frothed at the mouth and kicked up a tantrum. We need Trump back again, but do we deserve this good man?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 days ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Well said.

George Scialabba
George Scialabba
7 days ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

This is perfect nonsense, as are the respecful replies. The impeachments were not mere vengefulness. There were 118 contacts between the Trump campaign the Trump campaign and Russians, mostly government agents. Mueller pointed out that this was disturbing and deeply improper, though he refrained from recommending criminal prosecution. He did not, as Burr lied, “exonerate” Trump. Impeachment was a natural next step. The second impeachment followed months of false — plainly, blazingly false, wholly made up — claims that the election was illegitimate and efforts to interfere with the transfer of government to the elected victor. It was treason — an effort to overthrow the legitimate government. The man should be rotting in jail.
As for looking past Trump’s criminality to “what Donald Trump accomplished” — for Christ’s sake, he accomplished nothing whatever except to transfer $2 trillion to corporations and the very rich. Not a single other major legislative accomplishment.
As for “working his magic” in Ukraine, Gaza, Taiwan — the man has never met a dictator he doesn’t like. Trump cares as much about the worldf’s ordinary people as he cares about America’s ordinary people. That is, zero.
Wouldn’t it be nice not to insult our beloved country again with a compulsive liar, cheat, sociopath, and sexual harasser as President?

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
14 days ago

What has really struck me over the last few days is the unwillingness – even inability – of Biden supporters to see these trials for what they obviously are.
Liberal media pundits insist there has been no witch hunt, that justice has been served and scoff at anyone who suggests it makes the US look a banana republic. But those self same pundits were quite quick to make a similar accusation when Trump first took office.
Here’s just a flavour:
Rachel Maddow:
·        Now we know they have been trying to gin up criminal prosecutions and criminal investigations into the president’s perceived enemies. That is politically motivated persecution ….. “I’ll roll in the FBI on you”, that’s how banana republics work
·        Mr Trump is using the justice department to go after his political enemies. …. I feel worried about the prospect of the justice department being used as a tool of this president
·        In our little Banana Republic any capable prosecutor can get a grand jury to hand down an indictment of something as innocent as a ham sandwich
Adam Schiff:
·       They’re weaponizing the justice department to go after the president’s enemies …..  when you win an election you don’t seek to just prosecute the losing side
Don Lemon
·        The president is using the justice department as a weapon
Joy Reid
·        He’s threatening to prosecute his political rival – banana republic style.
Karine Jean-Pierre
·        he’s using government resources to go after his political opponent
Jamie Raskin
·        Going after his political enemies like a tinpot dictator in a banana republic
Anderson Cooper
·        He’s trying to take out a political rival , criminally investigating an American political rival someone the president is worried about losing to in the next election
If they didn’t have double standards, these people would have no standards at all.
All their accusations were projections. All their fears of what Trump might do in office never happened, yet have been made manifest under Biden. They refuse to see it.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
14 days ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Self-awareness is for chumps.

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
13 days ago

If I ever listened to me, I’d hate myself.

William Amos
William Amos
13 days ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Perhaps it has always been the same, ever since Agamemnon thought to take Briseis from Achilles. The complacency of assumed superiority.
Cromwell put the sentiment well when he wrote to wrote to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland on 3 August 1650, shortly before the Battle of Dunbar asking them to see things from another point of view.
“I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken”
It often feels as if, on every level, we are inhabiting a vast Potemkin Village landscape, full of empty pretences, sustained only by the declining vigour of assertion.
The Great Republic is, perhaps, reaching the point of no return.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
13 days ago
Reply to  William Amos

And Trump somehow represents a turning away from that inevitability?

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
13 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

In the USA and UK, the Democratic and Labour Parties have developed a contempt for the blue collar manual workers who undertake skilled, dirty and dangerous work who build and maintains basic infrastructure and manufacturing needed for civilisation. Trump is the only politician who shows any respect for th aspirations of the blue collar manual workers. In the UK and USA unions basically represent white collar state employees.
In the UK, Keir Hardie founded the Labour Party to represent un and semi skilled manual workers who are now treated with contempt.
Allowing violence to spiral out of control, education standards to plummet and immigration to soar is detrimental to the aspiration of the un and semi skilled manual workers, and even skilled ones in construction. However this policy provides cheap employees for employers and enables inadequately skilled people to be employed by the state which benefits them and the leaders of unions. It is detrimental to those working in the private sector. It is similar to Rome when the wealthy owned vast number of slaves which meant the Plebian farmers could not compete on economy of scale. The Plebians were reduced to living in poverty in the slums and depending on the dole. As Plebians provided the infantry and wealthier classes declined to fight and die on the frontier, the Roman Army became dependent on barbarians for defence. Attila the Hun provided the coup de gras.
How the Democratic Party declined from J Kennedy to J Biden and The Republican Party from R Reagan to D Trump are some of the the great mysteries of the 20th and 21 st centuries.
General Sir Alan Brooke said with regard to the British Army in N Africa in WW2 ” Half the divisional and corp commanders are not good enough but there are none better to replace them “. What if Biden and Trump are the best the USA can produce ?

William Amos
William Amos
12 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Not in the least.
Neither Trump nor Biden believe in the rule of law because it’s not a hard principle in American politics.
The United States of America, like MIlton’s Pandaemonium, being founded in an act of cynical rebellion and scaralised political violence, has always contained the seeds of it’s own future subversion.
In Miltonic terms, Trumpism is the Moloch – ‘Lust hard by Hate’ to the Democratic Satan – ‘the first that practised falsehood under saintly show’
The appeal to legitimacy and the rule of law in American Politics has ever been a wry piece of humour, surely?

Last edited 12 days ago by William Amos
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
13 days ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Where is your proof of any involvement by Biden or the justice department?

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
13 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Seriously? You really think this is not orchestrated?
The White House has of course denied any involvement ….. and then it transpired that the prosecutors had met WH officials prior to filing the indictments against Trump.
Letitia James had 3 meetings with the White House counsel in Apr 2022, July and August of ’23. Fani Willis, Jack Smith and Alvin Bragg also met with administration officials prior to those indictments.
Matthew Colangelo left the DOJ – where he was acting associate AG – to join the Manhattan DAs office. The case was brought by Bragg & Colangelo.
The mental gymnastics required to convince yourself this isn’t coordinated are positively olympic.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
13 days ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Yes, seriously. It was orchestrated by Trump’s avowed enemy Alvin Bragg.
*The convenient conspiratorial conclusions you’ve reached didn’t take much effort or thought, much less anything “olympic” or heroic.
I hadn’t know you to post for applause in the way you have here. You remain one of the best commenters here but I hope you’ll do a better job of living up that, starting now.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
13 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I’m not a Trump supporter.
Before their self-destructive adoption of ID politics I would have been a natural Democrat supporter.
But regardless of partisan preference I believe in Justice, rather than Lawfare and I believe in the conventions of mature democracies that have taken decades and centuries to develop – they are there for solid reasons. You sweep them away at your peril.
Take the last several Presidents, presidential candidates and speakers – all of them could easily be charged with crimes, if you were minded to do so – and for FAR more egregious crimes. There’s a very good reason why you don’t. That is the stuff of tinpot dictatorships.
That well established line has now been crossed. I fear we will all come to rue the day.
Quite apart from anything else, if every President knows there’s a good chance they’ll go from the White House to a court room to a cell, imagine the calibre of candidate we’ll see in the future. Wanna-be tough-guy dictators in the South American or Central Asian mould.
No one should be gloating over this. We’ve opened a door that I fear will be very difficult to close.
Of all the cases brought against Trump the only one that seemed to have merit was the Georgia case – obviously I’m not privy to the minutiae but that seemed a potentially serious crime. The rest were frivolous and no one could convince me they would ever have charged anyone other than Trump.
Once you are going after the man, rather than the crime then the rule of law is under threat. No one should be beyond it, but no one should be beneath it or be without its protection either.
Prosecutors being elected to office on the promise of going after a political rival is simply flat out wrong. If you can’t see that then I would struggle to know how to explain it – it is just fundamental.
From everything I’ve read on this case it seems almost certain to be overturned on appeal, once it gets past the polticised NY benches. Too many elements of it were legally unprecedented for it to stand, particularly given the implications. Yet it seems one side hoped the conviction would be enough to keep their political rival off the ballot, or at least damage them in the polls.
It was shameful – and frankly reckless.
If you support that because you don’t like Trump, then I question your commitment to the rule of law.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
13 days ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Ok. I’m mostly in agreement with you on that. I’m not gloating, but I do get “triggered” by some of the takes here, not by yours in particular. And I appreciate your response.
I think the Georgia tampering case, successfully delayed until after the election, is far more serious. If found guilty, he should be barred from any elected office forever. But not jailed, in my opinion. Presidents ought not be above the law, but they do earn some insulation from incarceration. Let Cohen, Manafort et al. serve time on his behalf.

James S.
James S.
13 days ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Paddy, it’s called projection. The Left has always been very good at it.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
13 days ago
Reply to  James S.

I know – I literally made that point
All their accusations were projections.”

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
13 days ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

You are literally capable of a less one-sided analysis, as you’ve proven in many previous instances.
Perhaps you can tell me who you admire or trust on the present-day Right.

James S.
James S.
13 days ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

My apologies. Saw it after I posted.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
13 days ago
Reply to  James S.

The Left has been very good at spotting the spite within people and using it to obtain power. From the French Revolution onwards middle class intellectuals have used the cruelty and blood lust of people to achieve power. What has saved England from cruel class war was the minimal cruel blood lust of the people and a willingness of the aristocracy to take heed of peoples feelings and not push it too far. Do not push you luck as the saying goes. Compare the French Jacquerie revolt with the English Peasants . Sir Robert Knollys, a Knight Banneret( equivalent to a general ) pleaded fro clemency fro the peasants once the revolt had been put down. Sir Robert Knollys started as yeoman archer Compare with the German Peasants revolt where the aristocracy slaughtered up to 300,000 peasants.
German Peasants’ War – Wikipedia
England was able to return to civility after the Civil War because there was respect between neighbours and remarkably little rape, torture and killing of inoocent : the killing was between soldiers on the battlefied.
When it came to the horrific conditions in British factories in the first half of the 19th, it was an aristocrat, Lord Shaftesbury who pressed for reform.The Liberals said any acts to improve working conditions in the factories was a restriction in free trade. Keir Hardie, founder of the labour Party, a Christian, aim was to improve the conditions of the working class,not indulge in class war.
A major collapse of France in 1940 was the practically near civil war between the wealthy Roman Catholic Conservatives and atheistic socialist and communist workers. Britain eneterd the war very united, the only liability was the left wing middle class intellectuals.
There is the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. There is what what one can legally do and what it is wiser not to do. Civilisation requires emotional maturity, self control and ability to earn respect; to think beyond narrow short term benefit and what is the long term advantage to one’s country.
If a wealthy Democrat treats the tough blue collar worker with contempt why should the latter come to the former’s assistance if they are mugged? Why should a Christian Craighead come to one’s rescue if one treats them with contempt?

Nathan Sapio
Nathan Sapio
13 days ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Well done

Chipoko
Chipoko
13 days ago

Isn’t it irritating how many writers, commentators and ordinary people in conversation preface their discussions involving Trump with statements about how they detest him, etc.? This article is no exception. If I comment about, say, Tony Blair or Bill Clinton, I don’t tell everyone initially how much I despise them! Your personal dislike of Trump is irrelevant – stating this is a form of tedious virtue signalling. If you have something of substance to say involving Trump then say it straight and don’t provide such yawn-inducing prefaces to indicate your moral superiority!

Sisyphus Jones
Sisyphus Jones
11 days ago
Reply to  Chipoko

Thanks for that. I don’t know why otherwise intelligent people go out of their way to tell us what we already know: Trump is, like most of the politicians that have existed in my lifetime, not a type of person I know, appreciate, admire, or like even if the mangled vagaries of political scumbaggery have converged so I that it is a moral imperative that I vote for him.

John Riordan
John Riordan
14 days ago

I agree with the article. I do not like Donald Trump, but nothing he ever did either as President or a private person comes close to as shockingly bad as the politically-motivated hit job recently concluded against him by America’s political class.

There was another headline in Unherd recently: America needs a revolution. I fear it might be true. Whatever happens, America can’t carry on with this caste of overpaid, overpromoted, echo-chamber liberal-left buffoons who can’t deal with anything that sits outside their own moral comfort zone. They’re not merely useless, they’re dangerous, and they’ll destroy America in due course if not stopped.

Rita X Stafford
Rita X Stafford
14 days ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Appreciate and agree with your post. However, I’m going on a three day Zen retreat to get over my reaction to posts that support or semi support Donald Trump in some way but find it necessary to insert their dislike for him. I appreciate that you did not go on and on describing the graphic interior of your dislike. Thanks for that.

John Riordan
John Riordan
13 days ago

I don’t think there’s anything inconsistent in my position: the last two US elections have had a binary choice between two parties and leaders, either of which would have George Washington saying “are you actually f***ing serious?” if he were alive today.

When Trump won against Hillary Clinton in 2016, that was the right choice made by American democracy that day, given how unutterably awful Hillary Clinton is. But Trump was only slightly better, and was still a bad President – though I will admit that he went on to deal with a few important issues with considerably better statecraft than I would have believed possible.

But that said, he’s still not a proper politician, what with the constant divisiveness, the addition to conducting political debate on Twitter instead of the proper US political institutions etc.

This time round I hope he wins because a second Biden term will probably sink the US economy and the dollar will collapse as the planet’s reserve currency, and because the use of lawfare against Trump as described by the article renders the Democratic Party unfit to hold public office. But none of that makes Donald Trump a good politician and President. Since when does America deserve only to have the least worst option in the Whitehouse?

Ian_S
Ian_S
14 days ago

A nice point about Trump the person becoming Trump the symbol. The Democrats have been their strongest when they’ve managed to turn all the attention to the personal failings of Trump the man — all the TDS stuff worked well. But now they’ve created Trump as a symbol of injustice. He’s become the classic underdog, and they’ve become the classic jerks. Turning the election into the perfect trope of a gang of a**holes ganging up on an underdog was a major mistake by the aristocracy.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
13 days ago

I don’t know enough about American politics to comment on his domestic achievements in office but on foreign policy he did all the right things. Withdrawal from the Paris Climate Change Agreement, withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal, chastising European members of NATO for not spending enough on their own security, reaching an understanding with N Korea, facilitating Israel’s rapprochement with the Arab world.
All fouled up since by Biden, of course.

Daniel P
Daniel P
13 days ago

We have a choice to make.

We can vote for Biden and validate the abuse of our government instruments and the legal system to persecute those who do not fall in line with the right politics.

OR

We can vote for Trump.

We can survive and perhaps even thrive under another Trump administration. What we cannot do is live freely under a system that is created to impose its will on us through threats and coercion.

They have left us no choice but to support and vote for Trump.

Nobody says we have to like it. But any adult knows that sometimes life is a choice between two evils and your stuck picking the lesser evil.

Trump is BY FAR the lesser evil. Biden leads us to autocracy.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
13 days ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Amen.

Rob N
Rob N
13 days ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Biden has led (not leads) the US to autocracy. It is just that it’s only partially activated at the moment.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
13 days ago

Should Trump win election, let me be the first to remind our friends on the left that this is what they asked for. Every attack on the man has made him stronger – the indictments pushed him through the primaries virtually unopposed and this verdict has produced tens of millions in new donations, a fair chunk of that coming from unlikely sources.
This is why the left keeps talking about “he wants to be a dictator” and clutches its pearls over “Trump will want revenge.” Some Dems probably should be worried about the possible consequences of their actions. No one forced them to do what they did; this bunch has brought the likely election outcome – barring some industrial-grade cheating – on itself.

Victor James
Victor James
14 days ago

Whats with all these bizarre words like ‘aristocrats’ and ‘progressives’?
These people are fascists. They are fascistic. They are tyrants. They are the enemy of the people. They have no legitimacy anywhere in the western world. They have power, and they are desperate to cling onto it until the last. Revolution is necessary to remove them. That’s just the way it works, and always will.

Emre S
Emre S
14 days ago

they dream of a rising class of Platonic guardians, people exactly like themselves, with the right pedigree, the right opinions, the right manners, who rule not because they have won an electoral lottery but in perpetuity, as a reward for their superior virtue.

Exactly. Interestingly, the last time I know this happened where the intelligents believed their superior education and intellect made them more virtuous and therefore deserving of governing were the Bolsheviks with an admiring progressive American following across the Atlantic.
This admiration for the Soviets refused to go away even following gulags or Holodomor where New York Times even in 1930s would strenuously deny any famine happening in Ukraine let alone a genocide at the hands of the Soviets. It was interesting to see the recent movie depiction of Oppenheimer in Manhattan project, within less than a decade of these events, progressives today are still trying to show the socialists as the good guys. These series of events led Orwell to writing his novel Animal Farm which created the phrase: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”. Given this background, it’s no coincidence for me that America is blundering into an Orwellian nightmare at this peak point of progressive “Wokeist” fervour.
Stepping back, I’m not sure if America ever had to choose between progress and liberty before. Perhaps the founding fathers assumed progress and liberty would always remain aligned. This works for a Puritan culture trying to build their city upon a hill running away from the old world, but what happens there’s no longer an old world to constrain them and you’re already the centre of the world?

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
14 days ago
Reply to  Emre S

Don’t forget the educated elite acting as the propaganda arm of the Nasi’s.

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
14 days ago
Reply to  Emre S

I don’t think superior education or intelligence was what gave the Bolsheviks their right to rule according to their own understanding.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
14 days ago

A childish belief in the possibility of utopia isn’t evidence of superior education or intelligence.

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
13 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I agree. Was your comment meant for me?

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
13 days ago

I was concurring. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
13 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Neither is supercilious fatalism.

Konstantinos Stavropoulos
Konstantinos Stavropoulos
13 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

The “possibility of utopia” could have been a good thing if they weren’t trying to apply a systematic program that enforces the “utopia” by any means.

Emre S
Emre S
12 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I don’t disagree – but the apparent revolutionary zeal and the academic conviction about being right (e.g. about anti-racism) parallels Russian radical intelligentsia – is my observation here.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
12 days ago

The Bolsheviks won because their willingess to inflict far greater violence and mass slaughter than their enemies. The same was for the French Revolution.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
12 days ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

And also of the N a z i s and the Taliban, decidedly of the right in our simple labels.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
9 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Worth listening to Prof S Hicks on You Tube. Hicks is a classical liberal and considers the divide is between the indpendent invidual who desires liberty and has no wish to impose their will on others and the Collective, be it The Inquisition, French Revolutionaries, Marxists who are Econmomic Collectivist/r Economic Nationalists, Nazis who are Racial Collectivists/ Racial Nationalists, Communists or supporters of Islamicism/Taleban.
Those who lack the ability to survive as an innovative independent individual give up their freedom to join a Collective where they do not have to think, only obey orders and obtain a group identity. What does it take to create and maintain a civilisation- innovation, toughness, daring and fortitude. But if one lacks these qualities? The easy option is surrender one’s freedom to the Collective. The character of the person who is prepared to torture those who are Heretics who oppose the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church would be prepared to do so under the French, Russian and Chinese revolutions , under the Nazis and Islamic Groups/Taleban.
There were many pople who went from Communist to Nazi in the 1920s to 1940s and then reverted to Communist in East Germany post 1945.

Emre S
Emre S
12 days ago

Radical intelligentsia executed the Russian revolution – they were convinced of their unchallengeable quasi-scientific virtue even as this was expressed in Marxist terms for the eventually triumphant Bolsheviks.

Last edited 12 days ago by Emre S
Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
14 days ago

I don’t think these people understand that they are drawing America’s middle finger vote over to the the bad orange man. It’s kind of funny because it has long eclipsed the man himself. As Americans, no one like to be told that giving a “screw you” isn’t allowed.

B. Timothy S.
B. Timothy S.
14 days ago

Very well said! For all the tirades we’ve been subjected to about the dangers of Donald Trump, there is nothing as dangerous as the ongoing lawfare cooked up by an incompetent regime attempting to silence its enemies.

I frankly feel that I have no choice to vote for Trump. Half of that comes from the shambles of a President* we currently have, and the other half as a direct consequence of the lawfare regime.

*And the President himself is only half the problem with this Presidency. The unelected anti-Western progressives that have been sucking the blood from our country like ticks off a bull are probably far more corrosive than the doddering old Joe who empowered them.

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
14 days ago

The US criminal justice system, with its elected prosecutors and ridiculous plea bargains (“fight this and risk 150 years in jail; or plead to a lesser charge and get 2 years suspended”), has always been much more politicised and transactional than the English system. Its the nakedness of this attempt to knock out a political rival which is new: a red line has been crossed.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
13 days ago

“Trump will put his opponents in jail!” screamed the liberals.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
13 days ago

There has always been an air of masochistic craving for defeat on the Left. It shows in their coddling of violent criminals and communist “people’s” dictatorships. In their naked persecution of Trump, this time they may well get exactly the defeat for which they secretly hunger – and which they certainly deserve.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
14 days ago

“The first step towards getting smart is recognizing you’re an idiot.” –some Greek guy, slightly paraphrased.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
14 days ago

Quite so. The class of leaders, whether in politics, business, health care or education has failed to realise quite how complex the world’s problems are to solve. Moreover, that no-one is truly capable of solving them.

The best we can is muddle through and the best that they can do is focus on the absolute essentials of their roles.

Politician: security, property rights, streetlights and not allowing destitution.
Business: make money.
Healthcare: heal the sick.
Education: teach children about mathematics and other subjects.

Try to do those thing well and leave the rest.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
13 days ago

But Socrates wasn’t right-wing was he?
The beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord.*
*We note that even the proverb doesn’t call it the culmination of wisdom.

DenialARiverIn Islington
DenialARiverIn Islington
14 days ago

We’re not much different here in the UK. We fired a popular Prime Minister with an 80 seat majority over a piece of cake that wasn’t eaten. Law fare at its worst. The people should always decide.

Tony Price
Tony Price
13 days ago

You surely can’t be ignorant enough to believe that was why he was fired? It was for a multitude of egregious failings and no way was he still popular!

Bruce Metzger
Bruce Metzger
13 days ago

All the same, Trump is our “agent of chaos” that only a narcissist – in this case – does it for righteousness’ sake. It is like Dexter, the TV crime show accomplished. Those with TDS will never understand. because they are blinded by hatred. With Trump there is leadership and a history to prove it.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
13 days ago
Reply to  Bruce Metzger

Those who admire, defend, or contort themselves into any excuse to support Trump have the worst cases of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

George Venning
George Venning
13 days ago

The highest court for the prosecution of presidential misconduct is the electoral process. That is why the prosecution of presidents and presidential candidtates should be impossibly rare.
Campaign officials are another matter entirely…
Clinton’s emails, Biden’s Corvette full of secrets and Trumps’ attempts to cover up the fact that a porn starlet thought him a poor lover might all be technically illegal and we should certainly know about all of them but none of them get anywhere close to the threshold for prosecuting any of the three.
Let’s remember that that the benchmark here is Watergate – a direct conspiracy to steal an election by burgling one’s opponents secrets. And even then there was no question of idicting Nixon – it was Liddy and the burglars who went to jail.
That approach should also have been applied to the Steele dossier – the Clinton campaign’s successful attempt to SWAT her political opponent by presenting a dossier of half baked accusations to the FBI without admitting that they were the source. Again, Clinton herself probably shouldn’t be indicted but the failure to investigate and prosecute* her campaign officials for that vastly consequential fraud virtually guarantees more of the same.
(*) for misrepresenting information to the FISA court and for concealing the payment to Steele

Mangle Tangle
Mangle Tangle
13 days ago

Agree completely. But the elites in the US (the Washington class, the school/college alumni, big business, the military, and so on (the so-called Eisenhower MIC), have been in charge for the last 100 years. If they want a president, he/she generally gets in. For example, Nixon. If a candidate gets in, despite the efforts of the MIC or because they were VP, the candidate gets co-opted in short order. For example, Truman. If a candidate refuses to play ball, then you know what. For example, JFK. Every candidate knows all this. Trump’s the joker in the pack. He’s such a loose cannon, the elites know they can’t control him. I’m sure they’ve reached out, but…

T Bone
T Bone
14 days ago

If the Democrats were truly enlightened they would get over themselves, approach RFK and offer him the nomination. Biden could then gracefully step down as the Bridge President that he said he would be.

Just imagine holding a election with a serious candidate that might be able to beat Trump by virtue of…actually being a better candidate with an ability to unite and not divide. Then again, the Gatekeepers despise him just as much as Trump.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
14 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

Probably because he is just as mental as Trump.

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
14 days ago

Whereas their preferred candidate (and presumably yours if you were living in the US) is a mindless shell.

Martin M
Martin M
14 days ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

Biden has is issues, sure, but I don’t think he is actually insane.

Rita X Stafford
Rita X Stafford
14 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

Merely sociopathic

Leslie Smith
Leslie Smith
12 days ago

And very corrupt – he’s grifted off his positions in government to enrich himself and his family with various unsavory countries like Ukraine, Uzbekistan, China, etc.

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
14 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

Mindless is very different from insane… literally, absence of mind due to senescence.

Jake Dee
Jake Dee
13 days ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

That we’re even having this discussion about the exact classification of Joe Biden’s state of mind is a powerful indication that the USA is in serious trouble

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
13 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

Biden isn’t insane at all. However, he is clearly suffering from senile dementia and he is getting visibly worse by the day. It’s frankly quite scary that the US is now being governed by a bunch of unelected bureaucrats.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
14 days ago

Commenters here are not your fellow travellers, but what are your thoughts relating to the content of the article?

Rita X Stafford
Rita X Stafford
14 days ago

That’s funny, Champagne! I was imagining being able to finally breathe a sigh of relief with four years of Donald Trump followed by eight years of Kennedy/ Shanahan

Martin M
Martin M
14 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

Just imagine holding a election with a serious candidate that might be able to beat Trump by virtue of…actually being a better candidate with an ability to unite and not divide.
Good idea. I’m just not sure where RFK fits in. He is even madder than Trump.

Tony Price
Tony Price
13 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

Do you mean ‘by virtue of having a recognisable name’?

Ardath Blauvelt
Ardath Blauvelt
7 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

We need to get over the united shibboleth, it’s never a priority. To be united in either the right or the wrong is no achievement; it is the battle between that matters. I don’t want a united country, I want a questioning, daring, strong country full of dynamic people, not a united corps of go along to get along, sycophants. Lack of unity misses the point of lack of agreement — the latter matters. The former is a trap.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
13 days ago

Electing judges, in a small community, has its attractions: a wise and honest person trusted by all. Transferred to a nation such as the US, it leads to political trials.

Rita X Stafford
Rita X Stafford
14 days ago

 The current administration, Dems (in and out of DC) and the media always get the penultimate of what they really want– an incantation. The latest being “convicted felon’ Donald Trump.

AC Harper
AC Harper
14 days ago

The current legal shenanigans have revealed that America is not the classless society that it pretended to be… and there appears to be no limiting check or balance to rein in the current Elite.
Now the consequence of a visible Elite is that everyone else is either a visible devoted minion or a visible serf. And it appears that the American Dream is more and more unreachable for the many.

Malcolm Perks
Malcolm Perks
13 days ago

Isn’t this all the natural result of a politicised judiciary?

Lillian Fry
Lillian Fry
12 days ago

Democrats I know believe that we are like Germany before Hitler. They propose that the Germans could have prevented Hitler’s rise if they had recognized the danger and acted promptly. They view stopping Trump by any means necessary is analogous because they view him as a Hitler type figure. And they ask who wouldn’t have stopped Hitler if they could have.
there is no answer to this.

Last edited 12 days ago by Lillian Fry
Tharmananthar Shankaradhas
Tharmananthar Shankaradhas
8 days ago

Sadly abusing the judicial system for political ends corrupts both democracy and justice.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
14 days ago

Given the failure of the endless Democrat lawfare, Biden should consider giving Trump a pardon. It might actually pay off politically. What they’re doing now doesn’t seem to be working at all. Giving Trump a pardon would certainly deflate all the chatter about political persecution.

J Bryant
J Bryant
14 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

What they’re doing now doesn’t seem to be working at all.
I hate to be the downer in this conversation, but there’s still five months or so until the election. The Dems aren’t done with Trump, not by a long way.
Don’t get me wrong, I think what they’re doing is abhorrent. But they’ve made it clear they’ll stop at nothing and all they have to do is attach enough dirt to Trump in the minds of swing voters and they’ll be reelected.

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
14 days ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Surely even the densest swing voter would see through it? It’s not as if Trump was previously seen as a paragon of virtue.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
13 days ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

True. Just watch how Trump handles himself from here forward: better or worse than his existing low bar?

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
14 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

New York governor Kathy Hochul would have to pardon Donald Trump for the 34 felony convictions (and she already said she won’t). Joe Biden doesn’t have the power to pardon for state crimes. It wouldn’t matter much anyway. Donald Trump is not going to jail. The damage has already been done to him by the conviction alone.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
14 days ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

I considered this. But if Biden asked, the pardon would happen.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
14 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Ah, I see. But Joe Biden would never pardon Donald Trump, or ask others to pardon him. Joe Biden has been pushing for indictments harder than anyone.
Georgia has a Republican governor if Donald Trump was convicted there, but the governor in Georgia doesn’t have pardon power. So it looks like pardons are not in play.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
13 days ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

I’m just saying I think it world be an astute move politically. I don’t think we will do it either.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
14 days ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

While I completely agree with your previous posts, I’m not at all sure that Trump isn’t going to jail for a non-crime that hasn’t even been defined, given the nature of Juan Marchand the judge. I would wager that the judge will sentence him to immediate jail time days before the Republican convention, at which point all hell will break loose. Or perhaps the judge will confine Trump to home arrest so that he can’t campaign.

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
13 days ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

What is that nature?

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
13 days ago

An obvious and certified politically biased “judge”, whose daughter works for the Biden- Harris campaign. Imagine if the situation were reversed and the judge wore a red MAGA hat and his daughter worked for the Trump organization.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
13 days ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

You may be right about judge Juan Merchan putting Donald Trump in jail. I would be very surprised to see that, though, as I think Donald Trump would file for a writ of habeas corpus and the US Supreme Court would spring him from jail. They would not stand for that foolishness. He has the right to run for office.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
14 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

That would be a good move. Like catching a fish, seeing it flail on the hook, and then letting it go.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
14 days ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Maybe more like catching a fish – realising that’s its stronger than you – and then letting it go 🙂

Martin M
Martin M
14 days ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Ok, but can we see him flail on the hook for a while longer before letting him go?

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
14 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

He could give him a pardon for the upcoming court cases, since they are federal. For the actual one, only the governor of New York can pardon him, the court being a state court.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
14 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Yes – that would be a very astute political move, which is why Biden won’t do it.

Richard Ross
Richard Ross
13 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

A pardon would be the astute political move for Biden – putting himself in the light of a magnanimous unifier and Trump, for the first time ever, in the position of being ‘beholden’ for a favor, for which he would certainly not show the slightest gratitude (nor should he). But it’s very hard to imagine Team Biden offering that.
In any case, I doubt the conviction will stand; any re-examination of the facts by a different prosecutor/judge combo is going to result in an acquittal. The only question is of the timing. How will it affect an election? or the GOP convention?
What a Netflix series this is all going to make in about 20 years! DeCaprio will be just the right age for his role of a lifetime by then.

Erik Hildinger
Erik Hildinger
13 days ago
Reply to  Richard Ross

Appeals courts do not reexamine the facts (that is, they do not retry cases); they decide whether there were errors of law or procedure in cases in trial courts. In other words, they decide questions of law, not fact. On appeal, one of the questions will be whether the misdemeanor Trump was charged with– and which was barred by the statute of limitations– can be transmuted into 34 felonies (with longer statutes of limitation) through the claim that it had something to do with election law. Many think this connection should be invalid as a matter of law.

Richard Ross
Richard Ross
13 days ago
Reply to  Erik Hildinger

Exactly. I’m not aware that anyone would dispute even the most sordid of the facts. It’s the questions about statutes of limitations and applicability to election law that are hanging, as well as the fitness of the judge and prosecutors.

Jim Haggerty
Jim Haggerty
13 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Biden can’t pardon Trump in the NY or Georgia cases as those are State prosecutions not Federal. The Governors of those States are the only ones that can do it. Hochul in NY might once they realize this effort could backfire on them

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
13 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Reeks of royal privilege, doesn’t it. The rule of law shouldn’t depend on pardons from on high.
But no fear! The Dems are bound to fail, as usual. They’ll blame Biden and not learn their lessons; do it all over again in 2028.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
13 days ago

Wanna bet?

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
13 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Interesting idea that I have heard floated before. But Biden cannot pardon anyone on State charges. Nor was he responsible for bringing them in the first place.
I’ll betcha Trump will lose again in November.

Rohan Moore
Rohan Moore
13 days ago

Hear, hear.

Matt B
Matt B
13 days ago

Well said. And all this against a backdrop of serious global events, and worried countries with electorates looking on at such US antics that cast a shadow over their own satrap democracies and voting. Witness the UK, with its limpid, short notice poll for relative nobodies with reversible ‘policies’ of the moment.

Ardath Blauvelt
Ardath Blauvelt
7 days ago

This is all any interested voter needs to read. The Progressives, of course, won’t. Their brilliance prohibits it. Our situation has boiled down to a battle berween Democracy v Progressivism. The people are no longer fooled by the reversal of terms: we know what they mean and it’s not what they say.

Damon Hager
Damon Hager
14 days ago

“Imprisoning political opponents is what the Putins and the Castros do. It shouldn’t be allowed to stand here — it isn’t who we are or have ever been.”

Until the late 1960s, a large slice of your population were second-class citizens, at best, across huge swathes of your southern territories. “Miscegenation” laws held sway in several of your states until the same decade, a situation that would have been unthinkable in contemporary Europe.
Stop mythologising yourselves and imagining you’re special.
Don’t get me wrong. You remain a great and impressive country in many ways. But you’ve never been as “free” as you pretend, and you’re subject to the same historical drifts towards tyranny as everyone else. As we now see.

Mark Carpenter
Mark Carpenter
14 days ago
Reply to  Damon Hager

I think the point is that America has avoided wars of succession.

Tony Price
Tony Price
13 days ago
Reply to  Mark Carpenter

There was quite a big one in the 1860s

James S.
James S.
13 days ago
Reply to  Tony Price

That was actually a war over *secession,* not succession.

Jake Dee
Jake Dee
13 days ago
Reply to  Mark Carpenter

Except for that whole unfortunate business after the election of Abraham Lincoln.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
13 days ago
Reply to  Damon Hager

Well then by that standard, every place earth is guilty, so what’s the point?

B. Timothy S.
B. Timothy S.
13 days ago
Reply to  Damon Hager

“Miscegenation” laws held sway in several of your states until the same decade, a situation that would have been unthinkable in contemporary Europe.“

Well yeah, since we had already conquered Europe by then and fixed it.

You’re welcome.

T Bone
T Bone
13 days ago

Test

Martin M
Martin M
13 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

One of my comments has failed to appear here. I am guessing from this post that you are in the same position.

William Brand
William Brand
8 days ago

I will hold nose and vote for Trump. I hoped for DeSantis or some other MAGA without Trumps personal baggage, but Democrats turned Trump into a holy martyr giving MAGA no choice but to nominate the scum. The Democrats are ruled by Obama who seems to be kissing Iran and having his stooge the senile Biden pay tribute to our declared enemy. I am voting against the Democrat WOKE idiots not for Trump, but I hope that he purges the civil service of WOKE idiots before they kill him.

Paul Melzer
Paul Melzer
6 days ago

Stop dumbing-down the English language. Lincoln did not say “…all are created equal,” as that would mean next to nothing. His language was English and beautifully written. “Men” does not necessarily refer to males of the species. Please don’t patronize your readers with such woke language.

Last edited 6 days ago by Paul Melzer
0 0
0 0
13 days ago

The delusion in this post is clinical.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
13 days ago
Reply to  0 0

Wow. What a long, detailed, and thoughtful argument. We need more from you! 😉

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
14 days ago

Trump paid money to Stormy Daniels to influence the course of the election just as surely as if he had bought a new suit and tie to look smart in the debates, or if he had paid for anger management lessons to control his temper during the Presidential debate.

Ian_S
Ian_S
14 days ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

Sure, since we’re going down this road: … or had people killed, like Hillary had Seth Rich killed to clean up for the 2016 election. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
14 days ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

Of course, none of those things are illegal, provided you don’t claim them as campaign expenses.

michael harris
michael harris
14 days ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

!80 degrees wrong! The point (manufactured point) at law was that he should have declared the payoff as campaign expenses but didn’t.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
14 days ago
Reply to  michael harris

Utter nonsense. We saw that in 2008, when John Edwards was cleared of using donations and not declaring them.
Trump didn’t even use donations. He used his own money.
You can’t declare suits, shirts, ties, anger management lessons, all kinds of things , as campaign expenses.
There are strict rules. And Trump never broke them.
Incidentally, if he should have declared the payoff as campaign expenses, he would have been charged in 2017 when this was all investigated.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
13 days ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

That is the absurdity of it all. He is probably in even more trouble if he claimed it as campaign expense.

michael harris
michael harris
13 days ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

I said that the point (should have declared the payoff as campaign expenses) was a manufactured one. It was bolted together to evade the statute of limitations restriction on trying Trump for accounting regularities. Accounting regularities being a misdemeanour had to be tied to campaign finance fraud, a felony. And then got to be tried in a state court when it should have been a federal court matter.
A jury of 12 including 2 lawyers and 2 ‘educators’ instructed by a hanging judge found Trump guilty.
Residence in Manhattan drives the inhabitants insane and rots their brains. Can there be another explanation?

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
13 days ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

Haha! Trump is on a constant, ongoing donation kick and has attempted to monetize his presidency at every turn. But he’s going to continue to get burned now, and deservedly so. Watch.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
14 days ago
Reply to  michael harris

 Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign was fined $375,000 by the Federal Election Commission for campaign reporting violations, but this was a civil penalty and not a criminal charge.

And, of course, Hillary Clinton *also* declared some payments as ‘legal services’, just like Trump was charged with declaring some payments as ‘legal expenses’. Was she charged with a felony?
Don’t be stupid. She is a Democrat.

In FEC filings, the Clinton campaign listed the payments to Perkins Coie as being for “legal services” rather than opposition research, which the FEC determined misrepresented the true purpose of the spending.
The Clinton campaign was fined. There was obviously no talk of 136 years in jail.
The FEC couldn’t even find any evidence of wrong doing by Trump.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
13 days ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

It’s not that he’s a Republican, but that he is Trump: one of the worst Americans ever born, put aside presidents alone. It absolutely is unfair in this case, but wait for the other cases. He will lose at least one more. His luck is running out, forever.

Rob C
Rob C
13 days ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

There’s nothing illegal about paying hush money, not even to win an election.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
13 days ago

Be honest: Who is the candidate likeliest to jail his enemies?

T Bone
T Bone
13 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I truly do think that question has been sufficiently answered.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
13 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

What? Who’s in jail? Who openly threatens his enemies with jail?

T Bone
T Bone
13 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

When I say to you that I have a Right-leaning bias or “Lens” of analysis, I do that for two reasons.  First, to tell you that I have self-awareness of my bias. Second, to remind myself that I need to bury my emotions. 

Trump brings out extreme emotions in people going both directions.  Detaching emotions from an evaluation of anyone we love/admire or loath is extraordinarily difficult…but an impartial system of justice or a legitimate discussion demands it.

Any fair comparison of Trump and Biden requires an analysis of autonomy. An analysis of autonomy reveals that Trump is far more free to think and speak than Biden.  Because Biden is a figurehead, he isn’t held directly responsible for many of the actions of his administration or people in his orbit.  Trump on the other hand is deemed responsible for any actions taken by people in his orbit.  When the “Bipartisan Border Deal” was rejected by Republicans, it was Trump to blame.  When his supporters did or said unruly things.  IE Jan 6 or the Hillary Chant, it was pinned on Trump.  And hey, fair enough.  The problem occurs when Biden isn’t held to the same standard because everyone on both sides knows that he isn’t steering the ship. 

To say, that Biden had no role in Trump’s SIX pre-election criminal and civil trials is simultaneously true and false.  That he can’t be held responsible for classified documents due to being an elderly, forgetful man is both reasonable and unreasonable. Reasonable in the sense that those are valid defenses but completely unreasonable in the sense that the President of the most powerful nation on earth could be excluded from basic expectations.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
13 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

I agree with much of that, T Bone. I am not always emotional about Trump. Even putting aside my visceral disgust (which I often do, especially after so many years of this guy), I think he is a very bad person to lead any country, whereas Biden is and has always been mediocre. I don’t think Trump is pure evil or whatever, but I see nothing to admire and I think he brings out much of the worst in all of us: left, right, and center.
In your final paragraph you pivot straight from the six cases to Biden’s own hypocrisy and quilt around classified docs. Is there meant to be some direct connection between those things? I’d say that there was enough cause and violent hatred of Trump for all of this “lawfare” to have happened without one word or nod from Biden. It’s possible he’s had some involvement but to me it’s plausible he didn’t, whether or not he’s privately thrilled to see Trump get checked so hard. And there is no proof to the contrary, whatever Trump and his minions say, and whatever the feelings or “certainties” of Biden’s opponents.

T Bone
T Bone
13 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

The final paragraph was about expectations.  Everyone expects significantly more from Trump than Biden in everything including on a debate stage.  It’s like an Ageist Equity standard is being applied in Biden’s favor even though they’re both old men.  When Trump and Biden debate, the question is not going to be, who did better but whether or not Biden fell down or lost his train of thought for an extended period of time.  If he doesn’t, he will be declared the winner. 

Hate or love Trump, the man is highly energetic with exceptional command over a room. From a mental capacity standpoint, its not close at this point.  People age differently.  It happens but to have a President with such a meek, fragile presence genuinely scares me from a national security standpoint.

When I see a gaping hole in the border wall in Arizona, I get angry and wonder, why isn’t he doing anything about it? Its so simple…but then I realize, he probably isnt allowed do anything about it because he works for a political machine.  

If you evaluate Republicans and Democrats at least from the Civil War onward you’ll note that the Democrat Party is a machine whereas the Republican Party is a loose collection of individuals. There have been exceptions.  Certain charismatic Democrats like FDR, Kennedy, Clinton and Obama clearly took the reigns.  But just as often, Democrat Executives defer to the bureacrats behind the scene. I feel comfortable saying nobody has done this in American history more than Biden. I think it’s important to have an Executive that’s visible and accountable for the decisions they make. A President that holds regular conferences and comes out to reassure the public when there is a serious national security problem should be a bare minimum requirement.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
13 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

The charisma Trump has is dark. He should not have actual command of anything important. His significant native intelligence has diminished and he is addled by paranoia and petty grievance. And he did not read most of what he should have for executive purposes, nor does he read any real books, ever.
His inner circle is a clown car that has included Steve Bannon, Paul Manafort, General Flynn, and Michael Cohen. His less terrible picks, such as Mattis and Kelly, mostly fled the stench or were pushed out. If he manages to make in back to the White House he will probably somehow select even worse people.
You just can’t sell me on his competence as anything other than a self-promoter or dirty-dealing business “success”.
The Republicans blocked the strictest border bill that ever made it to the floor, at Trump’s behest, to avoid giving Biden any kind of a win. Remember? So they lost all credibility on that front.
I don’t think we can reach any kind of a consensus or persuade one another when it comes to The Donald.

T Bone
T Bone
13 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I agree that I can’t persuade you to vote for Trump.  But I can show that some of your assessments have holes.  For instance the “strictest border bill in history” repeated ad nauseum is propaganda.  All Biden had to do was allow construction of the fence that was already paid for.  There’s literally piles of fencing just laying around. Then he just had to reinstate remain in Mexico for asylum claims or require them to file for asylum at an embassy in the country of origin. 

Under the bill, the border didn’t require closure unless there was an average of 5,000 “asylum claimants” per day for one week showing up at ports of entry. At 4,000 it could be closed with discretion.  So let’s say they capped it at 4,000 per day. That’s 28,000 asylum claims per week or 1.456 million per year.

Everyone knows that most of the people coming are economic migrants.  But we also know there are loads of activist immigration attorneys waiting to provide representation. So we can safely assume the docket would continue to be overwhelmed and would additionally be manned by activist judges sympathetic to the plight of migrants who would be aided by skilled litigators.

So on top of the got-away problem that could easily be resolved by simple fencing, you would still have a mass quantity of asylum claims.  The bill was pointless when Biden already had the tools on his desk.  It was political gamesmanship and properly rejected.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
13 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

It was stronger that what the Republicans asked for. Many in the party have become exceedingly dishonest and cynical actors who are “playing politics” at the expense of any genuine principle or concern for the country. While this is all too true of many Democrats, I think it is far worse among Republicans right now, because the majority have either drank the kool aid or fallen in line with MAGA movement, which is akin to a cult of personality, beholden to a volatile and petty man who is now desperate to avoid jail and financial ruin. Principled Republicans like Romney and Cheney have been marginalized or exiled from DC.
As you know, my prevailing lens or bias is liberal. But not exclusively, and I resist what I perceive to be extremes from either political wing. I fancy myself to independent of mind, but I’m not immune to influence from NYT, NPR, and CNN, for example. However, I will read The National Review, Spectator, or WSJ too, and tend to agree with a sizable percentage of what is said there.
I don’t think your characterization of the proposed border bill is accurate. In my admittedly imperfect understanding, far more discretion and restrictive power would be granted than you suggest:
“If passed in its current form, the Emergency National Security Supplemental Appropriations Act would be the most sweeping immigration bill of the twenty-first century.
It would overhaul the process for seeking asylum in the United States—and impose an “emergency authority” that would leave asylum fully out of reach for those crossing between ports of entry for much of the next three years. It would attempt to address issues like work permits and years-long waitsforasylum seekers, and also raise the initial standard a person must pass in order to access our asylum system”.
https://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/research/analysis-senate-border-bill
*However, most people from the center-left rightward and even some progressives admit that the border situation is unacceptable. I guess you celebrated the approach of Obama, the so -called “deporter in chief”?

T Bone
T Bone
12 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

On the Border Bill, there’s no inconsistency between my post and what you copied.  The border bill did deny asylum for people caught by border patrol “between ports of entry” which just means places where there is no fence.  The question is why are we spending tens of billions on legislation when you just have to put up the fencing?

I think you’ll concede that one thing that I try to do is minimize character attacks. I’m not above it but I try to treat it as a last resort. I can’t tell you how many serious character objections that I have about Biden, Romney and Cheney.  But you won’t see me relentlessly launching personal insults.  My personal critiques are almost always policy-related or relevant to policy.

What I have come to realize is that ruthlessly insulting one’s opponent is the primary method of argumentation in competitive endeavors.  This isn’t just a political thing either.  You see it in everything mainstream and especially sports.  “Your team cheats and your coach us trash etc.” 

I understand why you assert that Cheney and Romney are “principled” and people like Trump, MTG or extreme leftists are unprincipled.  It’s because the former conduct themselves with decorum and etiquette whereas the latter lace vicious, personal attacks.  Etiquette and decorum has historically been a staple of the Country Club White Collar Conservatism that dominated the Republican Party.

Trump is fundamentally an insult comedian.  A vicious one at that.  So the question becomes why did “Conservative” Republican voters feel it was necessary to nominate someone willing to play Race to the Bottom? My position is that this is a group relentlessly attacked for well over a decade in a cruel manner by a progressive establishment that captured mainstream programming. 

Why are late night comedians on main stream stations (Kimmel, Colbert, Myers, etc) now political activists and no longer there to provide “feel good” humor like Carson, Leno, Letterman or Arsenio Hall? How many Conservatives are on SNL? Why did Jon Stewart become the “most trusted man” in politics by viciously insulting the Bush/Cheney/Romney Republicans?

I know your position is that it’s not OK to do something just because the other side did it…but are Conservative voters just supposed to accept losing on an uneven playing field.  When Progressive Democrats dominate mainstream programming and can relentlessly attack Conservative values, Conservatives can not win elections with country club etiquette about tax cuts.  It would be nice if they could.  But its quite clear that Conservatives needed a counter-puncher to defend them from the onslaught of vicious criticism launched by Democrat allies with pop culture microphones.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
12 days ago