Trump Going to Jail? It Would Boost Trumpism!
The rule of law is no restraint on Mr. Trump – its only legitimate purpose in the eyes of the Trumpistas is to shackle his opponents.
- Chances of Trump’s presidency ending in his indictment and arrest have increased. Bookies put the odds at 25%.
- Trump’s “love” of the US is merely symbolic. He may have hugged the flag, but the President actually loathes the US as it is constituted.
- The rule of law is no restraint on Mr. Trump – its only legitimate purpose in the eyes of the Trumpistas is to shackle his opponents.
- For Trumpism to thrive, Trump needs to take on a mythological character. This will only be possible if he goes to jail.
- We are now at the very beginning of the Trumpian Revolution. We may yet look back wistfully at this halcyon time.
Chances of Donald Trump’s presidency ending in his indictment and arrest have increased. Bookies put the odds of Trump leaving the White House before the end of his term at 25%.
Ominous as that sounds, Mr. Trump doesn’t have to worry much about that. A resignation by Trump will almost certainly be followed by a pardon from newly installed President Mike Pence.
Trump will be pardoned
There is just one problem: Such a pardon can only cover federal crimes. No President can issue a pardon in criminal cases at the state level that are likely to be filed.
This is why the recent testimony by Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen matters so much. Cohen revealed the scope of cheating and swindling during President Trump’s business career.
As the world awaits the conclusion of the Mueller probe, Cohen’s testimony may also have shifted the focus of Trump investigations away from Mueller’s probe of collusion with Russia.
The new focus will be on the Southern District of New York, which is looking into Trump’s business dealings.
Ominous as all of that looks for Mr. Trump, jail time doesn’t have to mean the end of a political career — at least in a subversive, radical movement such as Trump’s.
The ideology of Trumpism is rooted in playing fast and loose with the constitutional order of the United States. Their “love” of the United States is merely symbolic. Donald Trump may literally have hugged the U.S. flag at a recent public appearance, but the President and his loyal followers actually loathe the United States of America as it is constituted.
In particular, the rule of law is not deemed to be a restraint on Mr. Trump – its only legitimate purpose in the eyes of the Trumpistas is to shackle his opponents.
This is why his crowds cheer when Trump attacks fundamental American institutions, not just the free press or elections but law enforcement agencies, the courts and even the currently much cherished military.
In addition, no matter how much Donald Trump has been fawning on Putin, in Helsinki and elsewhere, Trump’s followers have been able to compartmentalize all that disgrace and embarrassment quite successfully.
A Trump of the mind
It is as if in his supporters’ minds, two Trumps can peacefully coexist. They know he’s a liar and a cheat and a swindler and a self-dealer. They are at least tangentially still aware that he has bankrupted a number of businesses and his ventures.
All those casinos, vodkas, steaks, airlines and universities — have been either scams or failures. Trump has been bailed out by shady Russians with connections to their country’s security services.
He’s a libertine, married to a succession of models (two from Eastern Europe) who he was quick to betray with sex workers. Even the MAGA crowd can’t ignore the avalanche of facts.
Yet, there is also a Trump of the Mind. This one is a successful businessman who, in their eyes, plays multidimensional chess while everyone else is playing checkers. According to this legend, Mr. Trump has selflessly given up the management of a highly successful business empire and a lavish billionaire lifestyle to make America great again.
This Trump of the Mind is the reason holier-than-thou evangelicals can support a real-life unrepentant sinner , blue-collar workers in the heartland can see a New York real estate developer as one of them, business executives can place their hopes in a serial bankrupt and military people can pledge political allegiance to a draft dodger and traitor.
Trump is only interested in Trump. In a recent speech, which was apparently the longest oration in American presidential history, Trump spoke at the Conservative Political Action Committee meeting in National Harbor, MD, for more than two hours without drawing breath and consulting no notes. The subject was himself.
A paradoxical thought
For Trumpism to thrive, Mr. Trump needs to take on a mythological character. This will only be possible if Trump himself goes to jail.
Then, his “noble” mission — to stick up for his people — will be confirmed. The Trumpistas’ enemy — currently denominated as “deep state” – comes in a variety of names: Liberal elites, socialists, Jews, the World Government etc.
In this budding legend, all those dark forces are trying to silence him for one sole purpose – because he speaks the truth. He is a martyr, a Jesus Christ figure.
Trump: Like Sarah Palin – but as a man!
The truth is that it is a movement that matters, and it is the movement that ultimately finds its Duce to lead them. It was evident already back in 2008, the year when the Tea Party came into being.
The movement tried to make Sarah Palin into its leader, but she fell short. Probably because she is a woman she stood no chance in this political milieu that is dominated by aggrieved misogynist white males.
Trump is old. He may be certifiably senile. That won’t matter. Another Duce will arise in his place, who will fashion himself as Trump’s proper heir. It will likely be another buffoonish figure, such as Fox News host Sean Hannity. (Make a note of it: I was the first to suggest this).
Don’t misread Trumpism
Liberal talking heads on TV are cheerily declaring that the end of Trumpism is nigh. According to them, Trump is going down. After all, his former campaign manager is already in jail and the President too will eventually follow.
The reality is that we are now at the very beginning of the Trumpian Revolution. We may yet look back wistfully at this halcyon time.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, a jail term for Trump will not put an end to the movement he heads. It may even breathe a new life into it.