The news that former president Donald Trump was charged and arraigned – again – last week by the Joe Biden in-justice department didn’t exactly strike the political world like a
thunderclap from nowhere, but the development nevertheless can’t help but affect this year’s Republican party presidential primary race.
As if it weren’t obvious before, it’s now crystal clear that the Democrats and their deep state allies will stop at nothing to get Trump, including bringing him up on criminal charges for exercising his sacred First Amendment Free Speech right to disagree with something the government did (in this case, declare that he’d lost the 2020 election and swear it wasn’t “stolen”).
Everyone – and this includes his accusers -- knows Trump was nowhere near the Capitol grounds on January 6, 2021, and was not physically part of the protest that set off the melee and confusion, but nonetheless, he was treated as though he were one of the throng of red, white and blue Trump supporters there to express their displeasure – and disbelief -- at the election result.
Special Counsel Jack Smith indicated the DC grand jury found evidence to charge Trump with conspiracy to defraud the United States and conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, suggesting the then president was working with others to undermine the republic. If this were the case, why not just assert he committed treason?
Conservatives figured it was bogus. Trump’s rivals mostly condemned the government’s action. But it also begs the question: is it finally time to rally around Trump? Republican observers will go back and forth on the question, but others still insist that Trump shouldn’t be president again no matter what. It’s one thing to hold firm behind a position, but to pick “No Trump!” as your hill to die on?
In an opinion piece titled “Pence is right: The indictment confirms Trump should never be president again”, Jack Elbaum wrote at the Washington Examiner:
“Our Constitution is often referred to as the greatest, most liberty-ensuring document ever devised. The reason is simple: It puts hard limits on the amount of power one person is able to accumulate. It institutes checks and balances that are designed to ensure one corrupt actor is not able to disrupt the entire system. It is a work of genius, and most Americans recognize that, which is why Trump's disregard for his responsibilities under it is so disgraceful. When sworn into office, he pledged to ‘protect and defend’ the Constitution. But trying to so blatantly overturn an election and subvert the processes that have allowed our country to endure is unforgivable.
“National Review points out that ‘Public office is a privilege, not a right.’ And so while it may be unclear whether or not this indictment successfully proves Trump committed a crime, the indictment makes it abundantly clear that, at the very least, he ought to lose the privilege of holding elected office. In electing an individual, the American people vest a special trust in him — not only to guide our nation in a proper direction but also to respect the institutions built up over the course of many generations. Trump has violated that trust time and time again.
“To reelect Trump, a man who has utterly betrayed his responsibilities to protect and defend our Constitution, would be to betray our own responsibilities, too.”
The brief bio at the bottom of Elbaum’s piece lists him as a summer fellow at the openly hostile (to Trump) Washington Examiner (or at least the editorial staff is antagonistic). It’s curious that the author quotes National Review, because he’d fit in there as well. I don’t take serious issue with anything Elbaum wrote, but he seems to be caught in a time warp listening to Liz Cheney speeches on a loop that are completely detached from present reality.
If nothing else, practically speaking, Trump is being hounded by a corrupt elite that cares nothing about the Constitution, its powers, its limitations, its framework, implicit warnings against abuse, etc. The same people who were the purported victors in the “legitimate election” are now the ones pushing every last button and bending every last rule to hound someone they fear out of power.
As for whether Trump’s past “behavior” makes him unfit for office, well, it’s not up to you or me or Elbaum alone to decide. Trump is a Republican candidate in the 2024 presidential field and it doesn’t matter whether former vice president Mike Pence, who admittedly is embroiled in all of this, thinks his old boss is so nutty that he shouldn’t be allowed near the Oval Office again.
Most Trump fans, I believe, would concede that Trump’s actions on and around January 6, 2021 were not his finest hours. When news of the riot got out, Trump should’ve acted immediately to spare himself and his MAGA movement any further embarrassment. At the very least he should’ve surmised that the few violent “protesters” within the crowd weren’t doing his presidency any justice.
Everyone should’ve figured that most congressman and senators from both parties were preoccupied with saving their own skins and wouldn’t do more to prolong what appeared to be a losing Trump cause at that point. Trump did eventually agree to leave town. He should’ve come to that realization in the early afternoon of January 6 and he would’ve spared himself a lot of trouble.
But politically speaking, the events of that day were a long time ago. Democrats impeached Trump again. Seven RINO Republican senators voted to convict him, but it wasn’t enough. Trump laid low for a period, then slowly began reviving the notion that he could make a comeback. Not only is that idea alive and well, it looks as though Trump will, once again, for a third time, win the GOP nomination.
Arguing Trump shouldn’t be president again, at this point, is pretty fruitless. For if Trump were somehow prevented (morally or otherwise) from running again, then what’s the alternative? Joe Biden for another disastrous, country-destroying presidency? Or Kamala Harris? Or Gavin Newsom? Or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? Or Hunter Biden defender Rep. Dan Goldman?
It's one thing to stand on a soapbox and whine that Trump is such a cretin that he doesn’t deserve to be elevated again, but our fellow citizens will be the arbiters of who will be the next president, not the purists who would rather be right than admit that the alternative is pretty darn awful. Their favored candidates in the GOP field just haven’t captured the imaginations of the voters. Maybe there’s still time to do so, and perhaps this latest indictment will be the difference.
I’m not optimistic for them. I hope they’re not betting the proverbial farm that Trump will lose.
Politics is the art of managing small snippets of disagreement within the science of balancing principles and the law. The former demands flexibility and an ability to work all sides of the room; the latter commands rigid adherence to “the rules” and discipline to understand the difference between right and wrong.
Political differences won’t govern in the end. Trump was within his right as president to do what he did towards the end of his first term, and it doesn’t really matter how many of his underlings – including his vice president – heartily disagree with the way he handled things. The Never Trumpers forget that there was lots of evidence of funny business, and Trump was merely asking for a delay to ensure that the “truth” came out, whatever it happened to be.
Instead, the DC swamp establishment rubber stamped the “result” and called it legitimate when they actually didn’t know much about anything. Differences of opinion. Or it could’ve been that Trump wanted the Supreme Court to actually hear the evidence before issuing a “we can’t touch this” decision.
Beyond this, is it time to rally ‘round Trump? Going into this election cycle’s primary campaign, I believed that it would be beneficial, if not vitally necessary, for Trump to have challengers. I thought so because one, I wasn’t sure Trump would have the policy discipline to do anything other than relitigate past wrongs in his first term in the court of public opinion, and, two, I felt that Trump’s foundation probably wouldn’t be all that strong to begin with on his third try for the GOP nomination, which he claimed was his all along.
I admit I was (partially) wrong on both counts. Trump has continued to air his grievances about 2020, but he’s also been putting out position videos with a host of proposals that would help get this country turned in the right direction again after four years of gross corruption, incompetence and outright evil at the hands of liar senile Joe Biden and the do-anything-for-power Democrats.
People like Elbaum may still harbor doubts about Trump’s personality and style, but do they really question his desire to try and fix the government (assuming it’s even fixable any longer)? This isn’t a “congeniality contest” here. Trump, at the very least, is a proven leader who gets results, and that’s exactly what America needs right now. Biden has wrecked everything from the culture to the economy to the bureaucracy to the immigration enforcement forces.
How bad does it have to get before the Never Trumpers will simply side with the good guys and put aside all the pettiness and fear? It may not quite be the moment to dismiss the primary process, but it definitely is time to cease with penning op-eds arguing that the Democrats are right about Trump. Both sides can’t be correct. There’s a time for the good guys to win. That time is now.
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