Doesn’t the forever Scoundrel-in-chief expose Trumpism as rank, deviant criminality?

The main “freedom” sought by this scam freedom fighter (and lackeys) is to commit more crimes.

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Doesn’t a sullied resume, covered in convictions and without offsets, produce a double loser?

The next election is a referendum on whether voters favor normative politics, warts and all, or an anti-democratic, misogynistic, racist, law-busting autocrat-in-training. No compliment that wacko American politics presents the unappealing choice between slow-walking, incremental reform (or regression on militarism) or a grenade-heaving sensationalist lacking any notions of what America means and has meant to the world. 

Think control and order vs. chaos; the Constitution vs. free-wheeling, outlaw derangement; the rule of law vs. the rule of a scandalous, sleepy narcissist now obsessed only with staying out of jail. In short, America chooses between a surprising scandal-free, unimpeachable, marginally popular incumbent and a divisive, performative jail bird dancing as fast to stop breaking world records for convictions, impeachments and punishments. 

Yet, whatever the permanent Trump whine (and misleading pundit opinions), Trump is not a flailing victim without impulse control. As one judge said, he’s a “sophisticated litigant” – arguably with a fantasy addiction to winning. Collecting indictments like hunting dogs draw tics, what guilty convict doesn’t scoff at trials that can sting his liberty and treasure, confirming his chronic loser-dom? True, he’s a loudmouth braggart who covers up worst felonies by confessing to “second-level” misdemeanors, but a cornered, desperate character must grasp at straws to arrest further legal and campaign disintegration. 

Shredding your own “outsider” patriot image

Apparently, a life-time of conspicuous lawbreaking – across rape, defamation, multiple frauds and election disorder – no longer disqualifies. But the grossest hypocrisy still counts. The center stage of Trump’s endless trials and convictions directly contradicts the image Trump worked so hard to manufacture: “the successful, self-reliant, super-rich, non-politician who takes no prisoners to protect patriotic Americans.” Instead, we see huge money crunches, hundreds of millions to pay lawyers, thus dependence on craven billionaires, begging like a carnival barker to sell Bibles, and the outrage of promising to pardon murderous, totally unpatriotic Jan. 6 outlaws. The main “freedom” sought by this scam freedom fighter (and lackeys) is to commit more crimes. How do serial convictions not jeopardize his electoral muscle, especially failing to offset disgruntled Trumpers running for the exits? 

There are legitimate, reform outsiders, and then there are outlaw outsiders. As Trump convictions confirm his notorious image as a vicious “outlaw outsider,” must not constant criminality harm the MAGAs? What “legitimate outsider” unilaterally violates every norm, sensible or not, to keep his head above water? For the uncouth, that means continual, crude displays “outside” perpetual court houses, huddling with inept, outside lawyers and begging for outside money – all to merely escape the intrusive arm of the law. No discredited, ever more extremist outlaw – now at the “mercy” of courts – claims enough “stay out of jail” cards to defeat a prudent incumbent. 

Elections matter

The biggest question today, even beyond Trump’s guilt: how many unsettled centrist voters will back the three-time election Loser-in-chief forever humiliated by trial after trial? What constituency, however uncomfortable with Biden, chooses crazed criminality, devoid of plausible deniability, as the nation’s CEO? Moreover, what Trump trickery before 2024, short of Biblical miracles or divine intervention, can redeem his chances as a national candidate? Finally, doesn’t more diminished Donaldism jeopardize his shell game deceptions and the hijacked Rethug party, risking House and state majorities? Even rabid, unprincipled gerrymandering cannot stand against a fierce enough majority.

As more skeptical GOP leaders back off the increasingly disastrous Trump’s vanity run, so much for already fragmented party solidity. Sticking to his radical Tea Party roots, Trump the dictator-to-be is still stupidly selling only what ultra-MAGA types demand – less rule of law, less democracy and less visibly dark-skinned folks in power. Despair about losses already incurred drives current unhinged grievance – and looming exposure on democratic and abortion disruptions will only shrink the base. 

That’s why democracy cannot abide kings, scam or real, or inherited aristocracy. A Trump kingship will cement his alliance with our most backward oligarchs, a good many who’ve already “stolen” much of America to gain fabulous wealth. Along with foreign bad guys, these billionaires share the Trump-Putin mania to punish foes, whether by abusing the courts or jailing dissenters who dare to oppose this latest reincarnation of divine rights. Yes, what national candidate wins by promising to go from bad to worse?

Can America ignore the criminal Trumpist core?

For all the Sturm and Drang – as the Trump felony tsunami overpowers even his endless lying machine – only one ultimate test looms: what raises or reduces his electoral leverage in 2024? All else is noise. Chris Sununu, the out-going governor of New Hampshire, recently wrote that were Trump nominated, “Republicans will lose again. Just as we did in 2018, 2020 and 2022. This is indisputable.” If Trump loses, and badly, that would pommel Trumpism  – derailing the Great MAGA Menace. Only Trump the naked emperor is so arrogant to think himself immune from all accountability, especially as he goes after judges and juries. It’s as if Al Capone, to which Trump has compared himself, dared run to public office. That crook was smart (or honest) enough to know that even mob bosses (or dictators) are not invincible against public anger. 

I foresee more notable Republicans and centrists joining the crowd that reject Trump, discard the confused, pathetic RFK, Jr, and even endorse Biden. As in 2020, where would even a smarter candidate find replacement voters in key states for those leaping to safety? And now in full fury comes the abortion wars, the kind of political lightning rod that draws from all quarters, especially women and the young ambivalent about Biden, Israel, and perceived dotage. Dems, especially in close House and Senate races, are dying for Trump and abortion fanatics to be nominated. Not only do Dems lick their lips at transparently wrong-headed politicians, they’d like nothing better than destroying the top of a self-destructive ticket tarnished by crimes against the state, against elections, and against women. 

Centrists, already fleeing the radioactive Trump fallout, abortion extremists, and do-nothing-but-get-in-way House Republicans, will elect the next president, the next House and I think keep the Senate Democratic. And we have yet to assess the full tsunami of the abortion ban vote – and the surge driving the pro-choice, pro-parental rights, pro-legal precedent electorate. That would well bury those “low-frequency” voters who elected the 2016 president. As if Trump and battered GOPers don’t have enough to worry about. 

For me week by week it looks like projections this election must be close are increasingly suspect. I argue that Trump has peaked as a national candidate (and recent polling agrees, with a 5% Biden surge this weekend). Lies, scams, PR stunts, contradictions, hypocrisy and constant losses only go so far. This year may end much happier than it began. 

FALL FUNDRAISER

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For over a decade, Robert S. Becker's independent, rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, history, implications, messaging and frameworks. He has been published widely, aside from Nation of Change and RSN, with extensive credits from OpEdNews (as senior editor), Alternet, Salon, Truthdig, Smirking Chimp, Dandelion Salad, Beyond Chron, and the SF Chronicle. Educated at Rutgers College, N.J. (B.A. English) and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D. English), Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, then U. Chicago) for business, founding SOTA Industries, a top American high end audio company he ran from '80 to '92. From '92-02, he was an anti-gravel mining activist while doing marketing, business and writing consulting. Since then, he seeks out insight, even wit in the shadows, without ideology or righteousness across the current mayhem of American politics.

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