What now, America? In the aftermath

What now, America? In the aftermath Featured

IT'S been two weeks since Trump was ignominiously enrolled into the pantheon of America's celebrated criminals. Forty-eight hours after the verdict, his campaign reportedly raised $46 million. This amount remains unverified. Granted, I would surmise this came from the contribution of the "basket of deplorables," who may have overcompensated for ignoring the call of their cult leader to storm (pun unintended) the New York Storm Daniels cum-business-records-falsification trial venue with the MAGA hordes. The coalition of Proud Boys, QAnon and the motley fringe White Supremacists did not materialize in massive street protests in major cities. It may be recalled that Trump summoned his base for a show of force, reminding the American people that they should not tolerate his indictments, his criminal trial, this witch hunt, and, least of all, his guilty verdict. He invited them to a party. No one came — except for the daily vigil of a handful of the dregs of New York, and the butt-licking congressional leadership headed by Speaker Mike Johnson along with Elise Stefanik, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, and the intermittent presence of favorite son, Eric. Ivanka, the daughter, and Melania, the wife, were never present at the proceedings — not even on the day he was declared a felon.

A felon by American jurisprudence has some unique features. He has lost his right to vote — at least in some states where his participation in the democratic process is impaired. This really doesn't mean much, as he has, in some ways, raped democracy.

Federal law prohibits felons from possessing firearms. Not much of a restriction as he continues to be protected by the Secret Service for life as a former president, even when behind bars — a logistical nightmare.

And a convicted felon is denied entry or banned from visiting 38 countries (including the US) except in countries like North Korea, Iran and China, among others.

A dysfunctional democratic process

But Trump will be the Republican choice for the US presidency. And there is a good chance he will accept the nomination while behind bars. His sentencing by Judge Merchan will be on July 11 — a few days before his anointment at the GOP convention. Federal laws don't proscribe a convicted felon from running for public office — even the US presidency. The US Constitution provides only three qualifications for the presidency: being a natural-born citizen, a resident of the United States for at least 14 years, and must be 35 years old by the time he is elected. The criminal Trump certainly meets these qualifications.

Trump's distorted legacy

From 2015 to 2016, when Trump burst into the American political consciousness, elections in America have been forever distorted. Politics, as practiced in most countries, is oftentimes dirty, but there are rare occasions when issues are discussed and debated, and political conversation involves the public — with some candidates elevating the discourse to a higher plane. But the advent of social media and the requisite sound bites gave precedence to branding and popularity, impelling drastic changes to the nature of political combat.

I can recall the first televised US presidential debates of Kennedy and Nixon in 1960; the subsequent Reagan and Mondale in 1984; Bush and Dukakis in 1988; and Obama and McCain in 2008, where American domestic and international issues were elucidated for the audience — both local and foreign — and the candidates staked their positions clearly and unambiguously.

The presidential debates of 2016 were altogether different. The politics of personal insults which Trump introduced during their GOP presidential aspirants debates, where he decimated his GOP rivals — ushering in the era of name-calling: "Little Marco" Rubio, "Lyin" Ted Cruz, "Sleepy Ben" Carson, "Low Energy" Jeb, "Fat" Cris Christie, etc. spilled into the Trump vs. Hillary free-for-all. Decorum flew out the window when Trump opened with a statement, "...if Hillary can't satisfy husband (Bill Clinton), what makes her think she can satisfy America?"

Hillary's retorts were no less devastating: "You could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call 'baskets of deplorables' ... racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic ..."

Since then and carried over to the Biden vs. Trump debates in 2020, personal insults, name-calling and "gotcha" arguments have ruled the day. And the polarized voters carried the divide to the streets — MAGA Magots vs. Trump Deranged Syndromes (TDS).

30,000 lies

In the course of the Donald's presidential years, the Washington Post's fact-checking project claims Trump uttered a total of 30,573 lies and countless conspiracy theories. Michael Beschloss, presidential historian, declared: "I have never seen a president in American history who has lied so continuously and so outrageously as Donald Trump, period." Trump started the series of prevarications right after his inaugural address when he pushed his spokesman Sean Spicer, on false claims about the size of his inauguration crowd being the largest in history, despite photographic evidence to the contrary. And up to the time when "...he has spent the final weeks of his term blitzing the American people with falsehoods and far-fetched conspiracies as part of a failed attempt to overturn the election he lost — cementing his legacy as what fact-checkers and presidential historians say is the most mendacious White House occupant ever." (NBC News, Dec 31, 2020, Jane C. Timm)

Everyone has a favorite. Mine is one at a time when hundreds of thousands of Americans were dead of the virus. President Trump, in his daily briefing at the height of the pandemic, addressed the squirming Dr. Deborah Brix, who served as the White House Covid-19 response coordinator: "... suggested the possibility of an 'injection' of disinfectant into a person infected with the coronavirus as a deterrent to the virus ... supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or some other way..." (New York Times, April 24, 2020)

Laying the predicate for 2024

There is a bizarre pattern to Trump's pronouncements and demeanor. During the culling out of presidential aspirants in 2016 — the panel was asked if they will support the winner of the GOP primaries. A gentleman's agreement was forged. Trump was the lone dissenting voice.

In the 2016 debate, he was asked if he would abide by the electorate. He said no! "'Crooked' Hillary can't win, and if he (Trump) did, he would "lock her up!" He won the electoral college, though he lost the popular votes.

In the 2020 election, he declared unequivocally: "I will win by a landslide. If Biden wins, the elections can only be rigged!" Biden won.

And he proceeded to propagate the great lie that he won. Biden and the Democrats cheated — intimidating Vice President Pence into reversing the electoral votes, leading to the Georgia election interference and the Jan. 6, 2020 Capitol attack, for which he is now indicted for both.

There is a method to Trump's madness. Or he is just insane. He is now laying the predicate for the 2024 elections. If Biden wins, the elections are rigged. But Trump will lose. Americans are not that stupid to vote a felon into the presidency.

Or are they?000
Read 155 times Last modified on Friday, 14 June 2024 06:07
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