Lock ‘em up! Either presidential loser faces jail time or being swatted by punitive harassment

Let’s hope Never Trumpers vote before lawful protesters, dissenters and critics are sent to the gulag.

Image Credit: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency /Getty Images

Trump, as loser, faces legitimate penalties galore; but Biden, as loser, faces vindictive DOJ retribution not for crimes but for not winning.

In a receding golden age, losers in the White House sweepstakes packed up, swallowed defeat, and retired with comfortable pensions and fat book contracts. Now, any non-MAGA presidential loser must in advance bank a war chest to offset punitive, wholly lawless Trump prosecution. What a vicious, un-virtuous cycle implying any future MAGA president can then ambush any losing “enemy” – real, perceived or imaginary. Other than opinions, what can a retired Biden scribbling in archives do to an empowered Trump? 

The contrast here is that Trump, allergic to democratic strictures and fairness, defies majority rule, legal statutes, justice, the Electoral College and confirmed, fair elections. Indeed, as the MAGA contagion spreads across a third campaign, blinkered Trump crusaders demand elections should not only decide leaders (if they win!) but are public witch trials on the losers moral and legal culpability. That makes even daring to challenge, let alone defeat Trumpism, wickedness itself, deserving harassment. “If you go after me, I am coming for you,” from a Trump tweet, echoing constant revenge manias that he will pay back ten times any opponent. “Revenge is mine,” saith the Trumpster, forgetting that God was there first.

No one should doubt that such retaliation, however unAmerican, is already baked in. Repeated Trump promises dictate that Biden, though like Obama relatively scandal-free as president, should have his career public service crowned withDOJ inquisitions. What a charming prospect looms if the unstoppable Outlaw-in-chief takes over, then gets his way and becomes the rampaging Jailer-in-chief.

Impeachment squared

Here we go again. What the ignoble Rethug House failed to unearth – any Biden violations worthy of impeachment – Trump now gleefully hands off to his corrupt Justice Dept. prosecutors turned persecutors. Will America really fall that low? What paranoid Trump nonsense projects –  perennial victimization from deep state treachery – he will turn on its head, using his divinely-ordained power to crush “disbelievers.” Okay, Trump is at best only dimly aware of any power higher than himself, no matter. Thus does the Trump era further corrupt fair elections – awarding himself carte blanche to put foes in the stocks.  Does that not defy both the Constitution and American traditions?

Mark another historic first to what a top, just elevated Trump loyalist considers the “post-Constitutional” world. As in, screw the Constitution, the transparent law of the land, authorized agencies, or essential checks and balances on power-mongering. If Trump wins, he’ll have to rewrite the oath of office: only the epic hypocrite would openly commit to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Au contraire, for he will only “preserve” what keeps him out of jail and serves his imperial predations. “Post-Constitution” is a highly-presumptuous cover-up for finally “draining the [Dem] swamp” by obliterating fierce opponents, just like autocracies do. Retribution is MAGA’s deluded response to specious grievance and the alleged, nefarious “decline of America.” Yet, implicit here we find good news: Trump’s open bragging about his ultimate quest to be an all-powerful king, accountable to no one else.

This historic novelty (at least in America) envisions the unnerving reality that whoever loses this election will either face many more trials and likely convictions (the Trump dilemma) – or have to fend off punitive DOJ investigations (the Biden dilemma). So perversely, winning for Trump becomes the only way to avoid the long arm of the law (especially by a constant loser) and to demonstrate pure MAGA regressive rule. All that involves is force-feeding its abortion-hating, gun-loving, billionaire-friendly Christian nationalism on everyone. 

The election comes down to this simple crossroad: Trump is all about scatter-gun, self-serving authoritarianism that wildly violates the law, whereas Biden steadfastly reinforces the basic structural realities of our legal and political systems. Trump believes in elections no more than he does law as the ultimate decision-makers. After all, he always knows in advance (via magical, internal emails?) the “true, legitimate winner.” His hypocritical campaign charade is only intended to lock down power, then, like Hitler and others, commandeer as much force as he can get away with, for as long as he can. 

The American nightmare vs. American dream

Clearly, if Trump loses, his future is undeniable, with countless ways to end up with an actual prison sentence, in fact or with home detention. If Biden loses, and Trump runs rampant, the Dictator-for-more-than-a-Day boasts his first focus: a vicious, weaponized purge against the “crooked” Biden, his family and Democrats (protected in part only if they win the House and control impeachment). MAGA’s radical post-constitutionalism is no more than a creepy, evil power grab, a “sweeping expansion of presidential powers” that will blast away tested safeguards. 

When building a fascist structure, the autocrat begins with lies and manipulation, then vicious attacks on the legitimacy of democratic institutions and, having suckered enough immediately disempowered voters, lurches into retaliation purge mode. What distinguishes Trump from other wannabee autocrats is the brazenness and threats of violence IN ADVANCE as his path to one-man rule. Other more electable, smarter strongmen wisely obscure their real agenda with propaganda only about the sacred purity of native blood, nationalism, the menace of outsiders, and the instability, even messiness of democratic procedures. Successful tyrants don’t pre-announce scary, chaotic, domination syndromes.

Repression the overt Trump Way

And the nightmare is readily on the horizon, as the Washington Post reports that rightwing reactionary and Trumper par excellence, Russ Voight, was just appointed the “policy director for the 2024 platform committee.” According to Marc Short, formerly chief of staff to VP Mike Pence, “I am concerned that he is willing to embrace an ends-justify-the-means mentality.” Vought, Short added, embraces “tactics of growing government and using the levers of power in the federal bureaucracy” to fight political opponents. Q.E.D., for that fear highlights exactly what Trump and enablers have brashly promised if elected. 

So much for nuance, displaced by sinister braggadocio: “Elect dictator Trump and willfully abandon your rights and sovereignty. In return, no one ever has to worry about immigrants, foreigners, uppity minorities or the terrible deep state of Marxist Democrats.” This cynical promise is from a politician who has never won over the majority, tracking approval ratings from day one. Gosh, despite the ceaseless propaganda and mendacity, maybe the people can be right about what they don’t want. Let’s hope Never Trumpers vote before lawful protesters, dissenters and critics are sent to the gulag, perhaps alongside Russian suspects. It’s always cheaper when shipping out trainloads. 


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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.