Trump and MAGA followers put democracy and liberty on the line

Posted 6 August 2023 at 7:58 am


Just like the Chinese curse, these are “curious times” to live through.

Republicans claim to be the Law and Order Party. But if that’s true, its new dominant MAGA element are the real Rinos (Republicans in name only). Real Law and Order Republican patriots  – both witness and special counsel alike – have described to grand juries what Donald Trump did.

Think of the pickpocket who tells you “I didn’t mean to steal, I just had my hand in your pocket and on your wallet.” Photos, tapes, acts, speak for themselves. Presenting false certificates as official electors is fraud.

It appears the special counsel has Trump blocked. For example, he can not rely on legal advice from his lawyer co-conspirators. The independent prosecutor indicted Trump for what Trump did, not what he said about losing.

The best defense to this indictment may boil down to taking the stand and claiming “I was too ignorant to understand that I lost the election and too stupid to understand that schemes like these are criminal and don’t work.”

Of course the people who should know – his Attorney General Barr, his White House counsel etc. – claim they warned him. But sorting out what’s true is what trials are for.

Both of Trump’s impeachments and two of his indictments now are about staying in power.  That tells a lot about him and the coalition he pulled together under the MAGA banner.

I think it’s fair to say that before Trump that most of us did not realize how many people would  team up with scoundrels and bigots to get retribution and take other people’s rights away.   Trump is the first President to run on a platform promising retribution. DeSantis says he going to be “slitting throats.” Don’t like something or someone, they will go after it for you. The movement seems to be about power and not governance.

This indictment will provide several sign posts. Do old-fashioned law and order Republicans have a place in MAGA? Will all the jurors faithfully apply fact, logic, sort out lies and follow the relevant law? How many people will pay attention and figure out that MAGA slogans and leaders are on a course to ground the ship? (Televising the trial so Fox and Newsday can not falsify would help.)

The speaking indictments and testimony are now part of recorded history. MAGA-allied politicians who sacrificed their honor will eventually go down as whores no matter what the verdict – the spotlight of history tends to be very unkind. Our bedrock tradition of peaceful transition of power presented was a mere nuisance to these co-conspirators. That cannot be unwritten without book burning.

We will get insight into the fate of MAGA. Will MAGA someday fade into history just like the “Know Nothing” party of the 1830 to 1850s. It too was a conspiracy-driven, nativist, bigoted party characterized by discrimination, suppression and  retribution. Will history repeat itself? Can anything so closed minded long survive? History tells us dictatorships eventually fall. But when?

I have followed Donald Trump’s career since he bought the Commodore Hotel in the 1980s.  Time and again, with every set back, he wormed his way out leaving destruction in his wake.  Some see that as strength. Some see bravado and threats like that  as the hallmark of a mobster.  So after the verdicts come in what will people think about him and, by extension, MAGA?

It seems to me that living in an idealized past, destroying things to get there, is living the Chinese curse we must avoid. Looking towards, and preparing for, the future is the recipe for building better together.

All  these responses to Trump’s indictments will inform us all. But in the end until these MAGA created schizophrenic divides are resolved, democracy and liberty are on the line.

Conrad F. Cropsey