I didn’t watch last week’s CNN Town Hall featuring former President Donald Trump; I knew I couldn’t stomach it. Judging by the clips I’ve seen, the former president showed himself to be who he is: a delusional, fascist megalomaniac. Such characterization is obviously inflammatory, highly pejorative, and perhaps melodramatic; I leave it to you to decide whether you agree it is warranted.
While any number of liberal-leaning commentators have intoned that the CNN broadcast was a political gift to President Joe Biden – a claim which would seem to have some merit with regard to the disquieting effect that Mr. Trump’s obvious illiberal instability might well have on Republican-leaning voters in the metropolitan suburbs of swing states – I also sensed a bit of whistling past the graveyard. The most disconcerting part of the clips I’ve seen isn’t what Mr. Trump said — he is, if nothing else, consistent – but rather the raucous approval his obvious lies and slurs received from a crowd that, while Republican, came from New Hampshire – a state generally considered to be populated by sensible, upright New Englanders who one would have thought would know better. Although certainly not inconceivable that another candidate could yet wrest the Republican presidential nomination from him, it appears that Mr. Trump, to the enthusiastic alleluias of his cult, is resurrecting.
We’ve had about 27 months’ respite: 27 months in which we had the luxury (?) of concentrating on the substantive global and domestic challenges we face; 27 months in which we could dream that the spell Mr. Trump has cast over a segment of our citizens would dissipate; 27 months in which we could hope that those who provide Mr. Trump lip service support either out of tribal party loyalty or fear would find the courage to denounce and disassociate themselves from him; 27 month in which we could wish that his legal problems would disqualify him. We aren’t going to be that lucky. [Special Counsel Jack Smith’s delay in bringing charges against Mr. Trump either for his part in the January 6th insurrection or for his misappropriation of classified documents has, given Mr. Trump’s maneuvering, now made any future indictment, no matter how strong the evidence, appear a political prosecution. Mr. Smith – as Special Counsel Robert Mueller before him – has erred (and this is coming from a lawyer, mind you) by being too lawyerlike. Now, I fear it’s too late.]
All who know me know my fondness for the television series, The West Wing, the account of a fictional President Josiah Bartlet and Mr. Bartlet’s White House staff. At several points during the series’ multi-year run, the character Bartlet admonished his staff, when their focus had been diverted: Break’s over. Time to get back to work.
Mr. Trump has made his objective plain. He and his supporters intend to institute an American Apartheid. (I think the same can be said if Republicans nominate another MAGA, such as FL. Gov. Ron DeSantis, who, while lacking Mr. Trump’s animal magnetism, would have the same ultimate goal and carry less baggage to the race.) They cannot be reasoned with, they cannot be persuaded; they can only be outvoted. Although I concede unease about a second term for an 82-year-old president, and retain deep misgivings about Vice President Kamala Harris’ readiness for the presidency, these are the cards we’ve been dealt. Any obvious physical diminishment by Mr. Biden, a deep recession, a perceived border crisis, a pivotal presidential debate moment, or some other notable event could tip a closely-divided electorate in key Electoral College swing states to Mr. Trump or another MAGA. The crucible appears to be upon us. It is time for those who believe in American democracy to get back to work.
One thought on “Break’s Over”
Agreed, but I still hope for DeSsntis to get close enough to Trump number wise where he feels threatened and goes kamakazie splitting the Republican Party.