Category Archives: Law

Is Trump Toast?

My snarky neighbor, Kurt Schlichter, thinks so. And wow, he seems to dislike him even more than I do, if such a thing is possible.

I did note on Twitter this weekend that if there’s anything Trump and his incompetent boobish minions understand less than how delegate selection works, it’s how to run a third-party campaign.

[Update a few minutes later]

Trump’s lies are a loyalty test for his followers:

The Donald Trump of the last week is the exact same Donald Trump many of us saw a year ago or five years ago. He’s always been full of sh*t. He’s always been a total ignoramus when it comes to public policy, lacking the simple sense of patriotic duty to do his homework on the issues. He’s always been a nasty and boorish cad. He’s always pretended to be a conservative while working on liberal assumptions of what conservatives want to hear.

His “punish the women” comments were of a piece with his refusal to condemn the Klan on CNN. It’s not that he wants to punish women who have abortions — I’d bet he’s paid more abortion bills than he will ever sign — it’s that he thinks that’s what pro-lifers want to hear. It’s not that he’s a Klansman or that the pillowcases at Mara Lago come with eyeholes cut out in advance. It’s that Trump thinks lots of his fans like the Klan and he wants to pander to them.

I have heard first-hand stories from people who’ve worked with Trump about how he disparages women’s appearance routinely. That’s who he is. If you’re attacking him because he retweeted a bad picture of Heidi, that’s not you being principled, it’s you getting cold feet. Indeed, I am sure that the same opportunism that has caused so many supposedly principled conservatives to hitch their wagons to Trump is now causing some of them to question their choices, not because Trump has changed but because the climate might be changing around them.

By all means, if Trump continues to unravel (a huge if), please abandon Trump. But don’t think for a moment that the rest of us will automatically take your word for it when you say this or that statement changed your mind about the man. He hasn’t changed, your calculations have.

But can I go back to Michelle Fields for a moment? I think that whole affair was really instructive.

Trump is a master of a kind of passive aggression — though it can often just seem like plain old aggression. When caught in a lie, Trump doesn’t merely stick to the lie, he enlarges it. Not only did Lewandowski do nothing wrong, he saved Trump from an assault! That pen could have been a bomb! A bomb!!! (Remember when he suggested a protester who charged the stage was with ISIS?)

By embracing and enlarging the lie, Trump gives his most ardent fans no escape. They must either fall in line with yet another comfortable story about how their leader is both supremely right and a victim of deceit or open themselves up to the possibility that this one instance of deception and boorishness isn’t unique but utterly representative, which it is.

I think many of us have known people like this. Inveterate liars and other kinds of sociopaths test the limits of polite society. They break the implicit bargain that says you can get away with lying only so long as everyone agrees not to notice. Obvious lies are insults, because they rest on the assumption that the person being lied to is either too stupid to recognize the lie or too weak to say anything about it. In this sense, Trump has been insulting his biggest supporters from day one.

It certainly appears that way.

[Update a while later]

More thoughts from Roger Kimball:

The point, as Andrew McCarthy observed in a much-read column, is that Trump is the effect, not the cause of the deterioration of our shared political assumptions. Many people believe that Trump is leading a new populist movement. In fact, he is the garrulous Howdy-Doody puppet of forces he represents but does not control. As Gurri observes, “the dizzying rise of Trump can best be understood as the political assertion of a newly energized public. Trump has been chosen by this public, . . . and he is the visible effect, not the cause, of this public’s surly and mutinous mood. . . . The right level of analysis on Trump isn’t Trump, but the public that endows him with a radical direction and temper, and the decadent institutions that have been too weak to stand in his way.”

I think that’s right. Gurri believes that the public’s “surly and mutinous mood” has something to do with a new “revolt of the masses,” one brought about partly by the decadence of our political institutions but also, and more pointedly, by the destabilizing spread of instant if superficial connectedness wrought by the internet.

The problem is neither Obama or Trump, but an electorate that could make them president.

[Update late morning]

Dear Trumpkins, this is why people don’t like you.

They confuse “political incorrectness” with mindless crude boorishness.

[Update a few minutes later]

No, Joe Scarborough, “Republican” is not synonymous with “conservative.”

Will Hillary Be The New OJ?

Thoughts from Roger Simon:

Hillary is much better protected. She doesn’t need Johnny Cochran or the rest of the “Dream Team.” She’s got something even more powerful than low-rent appeals to racism and phony charades about gloves that are somehow too small. She’s got the president of the United States and the mainstream media in her corner. Working together, as they so often do, they have the ability to pervert justice, as we used to say, nine ways to Brooklyn. With their help, the chances of an indictment are slim, of a trial even thinner.

Were there to be a trial, however, and even if there weren’t, the real defendants would be the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law. They disappear if Hillary gets off — as does our country as we know it. I have written this before, but I can’t write it too many times. It’s that serious.

But in fairness to the other side — you are concerned about “fairness,” aren’t you — I will offer Hillary’s esteemed attorney David Kendall a properly mendacious catch phrase à la Cochran with which to wrap his summation dramatically: “If the emails are merely suspect, you must elect.”

I know it’s not as pithy — doesn’t have quite that certain je ne sais quoi — as “if the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” (Readers may have better suggestions.) But it should work under the circumstances.

And Ron Fournier seems to think (for some reason he has difficulty explaining) that presidential candidates should get special dispensation. I wonder if the political party matters in hat formulation?


[Update a few minutes later]

This seems related, somehow: Clinton superdelegate disbarred while awaiting prison. Funny how that sort of thing happens to so many people associated with the Clintons.

[Update a while later]

Hillary’s delusional media courtiers.