With Trump, Elections, not Courts, Will Bring Accountability

Politics United States

            Marble Falls     In the world of Donald Trump, former President of the United States, it’s another day, another indictment, sixteen lawyers and what do get, another day older and deeper in debt.  The latest indictment, the United States of America vs. Donald J. Trump, issued by the Justice Department is arguably the most serious since it charges him directly, working with six co-conspirators, in attempting to defraud the government by lying about the election results and seeking to overturn the results on January 6th and via extralegal attempts to appoint false electors in the states.

What should we make of all of this, and what will be the political impact?

On one hand, we have righteous calls that in our legal system, everyone has to be held accountable for their actions.  More than a thousand January 6th insurrectionists have been arrested, many of them tried, and a fair number sentenced for their actions.  How could the ringleader, cheerleader, and provocateur who stood to benefit the most and stirred the pot to boiling not be forced to face the bar?  The cry here is for equal justice for all within our system without exemptions for the high and mighty, even the highest and mightiest, the President of the United States.  The problem with this argument, unfortunately, is that absolutely no one believes it.  We don’t have a system of equal justice, and virtually everyone in the country knows there is a huge double standard for the least infractions of the many compared to the high crimes committed by elites.

Trump and the people on the other side of the argument understand this well, and they embrace the existence of the double standard with impunity, making arguments about political vendettas and even free speech.  The Republicans from top to bottom have recognized the fact that we are not a system that works by the rule of law, no matter their vociferous claims, but one that is all about power, and they have wielded this knowledge from the Supreme Court on down.  Trump doesn’t believe in the law, he has proven that for decades, and he – and his base and supporters – know that justice is a myth.

The indictments and legal maneuvering are not tests of democracy.  They are tests of our broken legal system.  The accountability mechanism for a democracy is elections, not the courts.  Let’s be serious.  No matter how many charges are filed federally or in states against Trump and his associates, he knows, and we must all realize, that realistically even in the worst-case scenario, he is not going to jail.  He’ll spend no time behind bars.  Sure, if found guilty, he’ll make a deal and get probation.  Maybe he’ll have to pay some fines and court costs.  Even if that happens, it will be years down the road with appeals up and down the system, perhaps finally handled by his personal Supreme Court.  Who will argue there is equal justice then, when everyone in the country will know that they can be imprisoned for not paying a traffic ticket, but you can be president and try to overthrow the government and walk away without a day in the slammer?

The only accountability that is still real is at the ballot box, and that’s what all of us need to remember.  The first poll of the 2024 cycle by Sienna College and the New York Times, holds that right now, despite all the sound and fury, Trump and Biden are in a virtual dead heat, which proves my point.  For Trump, his fan club and base, and the Republican Party to be held accountable, he has to beaten badly in November 2024.  Many don’t seem to recognize this fully.  We have some on the moderate to liberal-left, still jabbering about other candidates than Biden, whether a Kennedy or a no name off-brand “no label.”  At this point, with Trump’s enormous lead over any potential Republican primary challengers, the Republican nominee is a lead pipe cinch, and it’s Trump.  The Democrats need to recognize that, get over any cuts and bruises, and saddle up for Biden like he’s the second coming.

For any who want to beat Trump, get a grip, it won’t be in the courts.  The whole legal system will be a distraction and stage for classic narcissistic displays of grievance and performative whines of targeting by Trump, which will continue to mobilize his base and turnout.  For any who want real accountability from Trump, time is short, and the road ahead is perilous, but it will only be in the election. and everybody will have to be all in to win.