17 March 2023

Prosecuting Trump -- a caveat

It's starting to look as if Trump may be indicted fairly soon, an event much of the left has been impatient to see for some time (what I myself most wanted was to simply never hear another word about him, but it's clear that the reality we live in is not going to grant that wish for the foreseeable future).  The case coming to a head is the Stormy Daniels hush payment, but indictments on other matters will likely follow eventually.

There may, however, be a downside.  Don't get me wrong -- come what may, Trump must be held accountable for his crimes, most especially for his role in inciting the January 6 attack on the Capitol.  Failure to do so would discredit American justice, showing that the wealthy and powerful are exempt from the laws that apply to everyone else.  The problem is the possible effect on the 2024 election.

At the moment, the only two serious contenders for the Republican presidential nomination are Trump and DeSantis.  That could change, of course; the 2024 primaries are a year away and some other major candidate could emerge.  But so far there's no sign of that.

Assuming Trump remains a viable contender, Republican hopes of winning the presidency seem doomed.  If Trump is the nominee, he'll almost certainly lose.  2020 showed that he was sufficiently hated by a large enough part of the electorate to inspire record-breaking turnout to get rid of him.  There's no reason to think that that's changed.  If he's the nominee in 2024, the general election result will resemble 2020.  If DeSantis (or anyone else) gets the nomination, Trump is likely to turn against him out of spite and resentment, or at least to ostentatiously withhold support.  A substantial part of the Republican base are still die-hard Trump loyalists.  If he persuades even a significant fraction of those to refrain from voting for DeSantis, then DeSantis can't win.

But if Trump is out of the picture because he's in prison by then, it will be far easier for Republicans to unify around DeSantis, who might win over Trump's loyalists by promising a presidential pardon for Trump (presidential pardons don't apply to state convictions, only to federal ones, but the average Trumpanzee may well not be aware of that).  And DeSantis has shown that he has no respect for our most fundamental rights.  No blogger, journalist, publisher, artist, or anyone else who depends on freedom of expression being protected, can afford the risk of this man acquiring the vast powers of the presidency.  A president Youngkin or Haley or even Pence would be bad, but not really outside the norms of modern American politics.  DeSantis is too dangerous.

However, Trump himself may be offering a resolution to the dilemma.  He's already preparing an all-out effort to destroy DeSantis by digging up dirt on him and publicizing it, and researching the most effective messaging to attack him.  Rather than wait for the primaries, he wants to crush his most prominent rival in advance.  Of course, that will take some time.

Trump must, as I said, be held accountable for his actions.  But I won't be unhappy at all if some further delay gives him time to neutralize this rising threat.

Update (Saturday AM):  Trump is now predicting his own imminent arrest and calling for protests.


Blogger Jack said...

It does seem like DeSantis could be even worse than Trump, and I suspect he'd perform better in a general election. Scary times to be sure. I feel like we are trying to wait something out that doesn't seem to be going away on its own.

17 March, 2023 04:46  
Blogger NickM said...

I fully agree that the thing I most want to hear about or from Trump is... nothing!

Although to be fair it's only second on my list of things I never want to hear about. Top of that is Hunter Biden's fucking laptop.

17 March, 2023 06:20  
Blogger Marc McKenzie said...

An understandable concern. However, let's remember that even if Trump is indicted--depending on where the indictment comes from--it will take time before he will go to trial.

Now, I'm not a lawyer. I'm only basing this on what two siblings of mine have said about the law in regards to indictments and trials.

Trump faces multiple indictments from several different areas. Add to that yet another investigation into his media company and their dealings with--surprise!--Russia. Plus there is the fact that we are in completely unexplored territory; we have never had a former President face indictment, much less be investigated on such serious charges. The closest I can think of was the GOP efforts to have Bill Clinton investigated and charged in regards to the Mark Rich pardon that Clinton had done before he left office, but that went nowhere and was clearly a political move.

Trump must be held accountable, yes. But our legal system is not like LAW & ORDER where everything is wrapped up in one hour.

Clearly Trump loathes DeSantis and is attempting to destroy the latter's chances at running for the White House. Yet Trump himself has said that he will still continue his Presidential campaign if indicted.

I would say the best thing to do is see what the prosecutors will do. They clearly have access to information that we do not, and if they have built a case where they feel indictment and an eventual trial is necessary, then they will proceed.

17 March, 2023 06:53  
Blogger Mary said...

DeSantis is definitely more dangerous. I live in Fla and I see it. But here, with so many older people, the support for him and trump is large. And these cultists will vote come hell or high water. But I don’t know how DeSantis will play to the rest of the country, but I think these people would vote for anyone that wasn’t a democrat, no matter how awful.

My personal opinion is trump either won’t be indicted or if he is, he’ll drag it out as long as he can and claim he’s about to win the fraudulent case very bigly…and will destroy DeSantis and run and get elected. If Biden or some other democrat were to win, the military style cult members would definitely try to top the last insurrection. Just my take on the whole thing.

17 March, 2023 09:29  
Blogger Ami said...

I keep hoping for trump to be reunited with his first wife.

I hadn't considered the larger picture with desantis vs trump, but the idea that people consider either one of them being electable doesn't exactly give me hope for the future.

Also, even looking at a photo of him makes me feel sick. I don't believe in heaven or hell, but I do believe in evil.

17 March, 2023 11:58  
Anonymous spirilis said...

If after the manure pile that was the former presidents administration the people reelect the retrograde or the mini-me then seriously the people and the law have already undergone the divorce. The wealthy and powerful are exempt from the laws that apply to everyone else. Up until now most of them had the sense to keep it out of the news and certainly not rub the rubes noses in it. What did you all think that odor is when you go to court?
If we are all going to hell at least it was sorta exciting. (just trying to convince myself here):)

17 March, 2023 12:43  
Anonymous Reaganite Independent said...

Astute observations. As far as policy or my own expectations, I don’t think there’s very much daylight between DeSantis and Trump. But Trump has disqualified himself due to serial reckless behavior, attempted coup, election interference, etc. I dislike Ron DeSantis immensely (Don Rickles was more charming), but he hasn’t done any of those things. IMHO justice hast to be pursued regardless, all these cases might take a while. Should’ve been initiated sometime ago, but here we are. It sure would’ve solved a lot of problems if Kamala Harris had risen to the opportunity— even as a more viable back up to Joe in case of health emergency, but it doesn’t seem like she’s ready to win a national election, or may ever be.

18 March, 2023 04:50  
Anonymous Annie said...

I agree that Trump must face legal action for several of his numerous crimes, but he is a master of delaying tactics. It would be nice to see him and DeSantis destroy one another; however, if that happens, Glenn Youngkin will probably fill the void, and his “nice guy” persona veils just as much authoritarianism as the more blatant two “front runners.” My immediate concern is Trump’s most recent speech, which pits his MAGA America against all of us and the democratic world. WE are the evil America haters, he bellowed—he and his supporters are the true patriots. The only one benefiting from all this resides in the Kremlin.

18 March, 2023 05:07  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Jack: I actually think DeSantis would be the underdog against Biden or another mainstream Democrat. He's a notoriously bad campaigner and doesn't have the same kind of blunt appeal that Trump did. On the other hand, he did manage to get elected governor of Florida. I'd much rather have Trump trying to take him down than not.

NickM: Hunter Biden's laptop is sort of like Jesus -- it probably never even existed, but millions have accepted it as the savior of their political delusions.

Marc: That's a good point. Even after an indictment, matters would likely proceed quite slowly, although if it's too slow, they could end up having Trump go on trial just a few months before the election, which would look like a political prosecution in the eyes of many. I'm left hoping that Trump will make taking down DeSantis enough of a priority that the latter is politically destroyed well before the primaries.

Mary: If Trump isn't indicted, he'll clearly be the front-runner for the nomination. But why do you think he won't be indicted? It's sure looking as if he will be, at least in New York and probably Georgia.

Ami: I'd like to see Trump re-united with Ivana. If there was ever a guy who deserved to be buried in a golf course.....

Evil certainly exists. And it seems to float to the top in politics.

Spirilis: The odds are against Trump or DeSantis winning in 2024, but not by enough that we can afford to get complacent.

Reaganite: Certainly none of these considerations should stop Trump from being prosecuted. We can't let justice be subordinated to politics, nor to appearances.

It's disappointing that the Democrats don't have more of a deep bench for future presidential runs. I don't see much wrong with Harris, but she hasn't kept much of a high profile. I had high hopes for Buttigieg, but he's been stunningly unimpressive as transportation secretary. Hopefully some of the state governors will rise to the occasion eventually -- I'm not very familiar with most of them.

Annie: I acknowledged that there would be bad things about Youngkin, or any Republican, as president. However, DeSantis has made attacks on free expression a central part of his "brand" in a way that none of the others have.

The current polling clearly has Trump and DeSantis as the "big two" Republican contenders. If Trump goes to prison and DeSantis fades for whatever reason, there'd be no clear front-runner, just a hodge-podge of minor candidates fighting it out, whose number would rapidly grow as other hopefuls joined the race after the fall of the big two made their efforts look less hopeless. In that situation, the party would have a much tougher time unifying, and the eventual nominee would be a lot weaker.

18 March, 2023 06:09  
Blogger Mary said...

Yes indictment is looking more likely, but conviction is a whole other thing and I don’t know the legal situation if a person can run for President with an indictment but no conviction…yet. Then what happens if he is elected and then is convicted? Unlikely a sitting President would be convicted..

18 March, 2023 06:16  
Blogger run75441 said...


Predicting his arrest? It should be an inevitable conclusion. Will trump at least see a jail cell, given a new set of clothes, and be taken off his diet of McDonalds? Not likely . .

Grant was arrested for speeding down the street in a horse and buggy after being warned earlier by a Black police officer. Same officer arrested him the second time he was caught.

I do not see much happening to trump like it should. It will reinforce his followers of being above the reach of the law. And of course, they are not.

I believe the best course of action is too bankrupt trump. Bring him down a few levels to where he can n longer buy influence.

18 March, 2023 08:45  
Blogger Glen Tomkins said...

"if Trump is out of the picture because he's in prison by then"

Why would being in prison put him out of the picture?

18 March, 2023 09:45  
Blogger Mary Kirkland said...

I'll believe it when I see it.

18 March, 2023 13:39  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Mary: If he's on the verge of being indicted, it's very unlikely that a conviction would be delayed until after 20 January 2025. If it takes that long, it would be a huge embarrassment for the justice system. I know a prosecution for inciting January 6, or even election interference in Georgia, will be more complex and slow, but if he can be convicted in New York, he can be sentenced and kept out of circulation (and politics) while those cases are being finalized.

Run75441: We'll see. We've never had a president commit such acts, certainly not in modern times, so there's no precedent. I think the attorneys general here understand what's at stake if Trump escapes justice. The reason this has all taken so long is that they're being very careful to get everything right.

It would be very hard to permanently bankrupt somebody with Trump's fund-raising prowess. Nor would mere bankruptcy be even remotely justice.

Glen: If he's in prison, he won't be able to access social media or otherwise communicate with followers. I don't know whether it would legally bar him from running for president, but he wouldn't be able to run much of a campaign. Even if he somehow got elected, that wouldn't nullify his conviction and sentence -- he wouldn't be released from prison to take office. (In such a case, most likely his vice president would take office on the grounds that he was unable to do so.) Nor could a presidential pardon help him, for a state-level conviction. Realistically, a major party is not going to nominate a presidential candidate who's in prison. Even most of his supporters would realize it was pointless.

Mary K: Let's wait and see.

18 March, 2023 15:36  

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