Donald Trump and his defense team at his arraignment. (Photo: Seth Winig AP)
If democrats were smart, Donald Trump would be a disgraced former president, forgotten by all but his most ardent admirers. But they aren't smart and they may have given him a political resurrection.
Donald Trump is back in the news. He is facing a 34-count indictment for paying people to be silent about his private life. What should be fodder for the gossip pages has instead resulted in criminal charges, an historic precedent for a former president. The amount of news coverage is surpassed only by the level of glee created by scenes of his arrest.
Trump is certainly a polarizing figure, more so perhaps than any other president. His unexpected win over Hillary Clinton in 2016 resulted in trauma for millions of people who have never recovered, and they still allow the man they dislike to live rent free in their heads.
As this columnist has pointed out, neither Trump nor any other president has ever faced consequences for their worst offenses, crimes against humanity. George Bush invaded Iraq, Barack Obama destroyed Libya. Both men enjoy popularity and have no reason to fear any kind of censure for killing thousands of people. Trump also committed such crimes in office, such as killing up to 40,000 Venezuelans through his sanctions regime, and assassinating Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. As with his predecessors, those crimes go unpunished.
Trump’s prosecution is obviously political. He is charged with falsifying business records, which can be treated as a misdemeanor, but Manhattan’s district attorney says he sought to avoid taxes and influence an election, allowing him to charge Trump with felonies. The Justice Department already declined to charge Trump with election interference. It seems that District Attorney Alvin Bragg looked for something, anything, that would rise to the level of a felony charge. One doesn’t need to be a Trump supporter to conclude that thumbs were on the scales of justice.
The arraignment was a typical media and political circus. Conservative Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene came to protest and proclaimed Trump’s innocence, while Congressional Black Caucus member Jamaal Bowman showed up for the purpose of shouting her down. Bowman yelled that Greene should, “Take her ass back to Washington,” and added with rhetorical flourish, “Do something about gun violence. Do something about affordable housing. Do something about childhood poverty.” The same could be said of Bowman, who along with his colleagues does nothing to address any of those issues, and who refuse to confront Joe Biden who was marketed as “the most progressive president since FDR,” while emergency SNAP nutritional benefits end and millions may be thrown off of Medicaid, as the pandemic era automatic enrollment ends.
Bowman and others of his ilk make far too much of the impact of the Trump indictment calling it, “... one step toward accountability,” and adding, “... America needs a reckoning and I think Trump is essential to that reckoning, when you consider his rhetoric, his behavior and his policies.” This country certainly needs a reckoning, for many reasons, but there is nothing about Trump being criminally charged for offenses that had nothing to do with his office, that addresses the terrible wrongs that are committed by this system every day.
Trump has already announced he is running for president again. The charges don’t prevent him from running, winning or serving again. The republican establishment want to be rid of him, but they are caught in a bind because republican voters are still Trump supporters. He could win the nomination again and given the apathy and disappointment created by the phony “most progressive president since FDR,” Trump could win again. His case may not go to trial before the November 2024 election and we face the prospect of a presidential candidate campaigning while facing charges. Trump has upended the system before and he could do so again.
The phenomenon known as Trump Derangement Syndrome has returned with a vengeance. People who should know better are applauding his legal troubles, completely forgetting that he was counted out in 2016, only to emerge victorious with the help of Democratic Party incompetence and overconfidence.
If democrats want to be rid of Trump they should have done a better job of meeting the people’s needs. So-called progressives like Congressman Bowman should have taken on their party leadership and made demands on behalf of the people they claim to care so much about. But Bowman and others went down the line with Biden and were silent as he refused to do anything about student loan debt and helped him to undermine railroad workers by preventing them from going on strike.
Instead of action we get posturing outside of a courthouse and going along to get along with their discredited leadership. Actually they are all discredited, not fit for any purpose other than trying to fool the public.
As for Trump, he has been politically resurrected by cynical forces. The latest polls show him leading his main challenger, Florida governor Ron DeSantis. We all deserve better than Trump or Biden too for that matter, but those working to get rid of Trump may have ensured that the 45th president will be the 47th as well.
Margaret Kimberley is the author of Prejudential: Black America and the Presidents. You can support her work on Patreon and also find it on the Twitter and Telegram platforms. She can be reached via email at margaret.kimberley(at)blackagendareport.com.