Alan Zendell, June 1, 2022
After predicting that there was no way an ignorant, immoral narcissist like Donald Trump could win the presidency in America, I don’t make predictions anymore. I clearly misread what is obvious in retrospect. Barack Obama’s two terms in office did not represent the maturation of the American electorate as I believed – it merely drove those motivated by bigotry, hate, and xenophobia underground to await the coming of their prophet.
Veni, vidi, vici! Like Caesar, he came, he saw, and he conquered, but while Caesar led a victorious army, Trump lied, did his utmost to undermine law and order, and pandered to anyone who would vote for him. Caesar was a self-appointed autocrat who wielded as much power as any leader ever did, yet he ultimately fell. Trump is only a wannabe dictator struggling to remain relevant in the party he shanghaied, in a nation with a deeply entrenched legal system and respect for law and the Constitution.
Sometimes we infer conclusions from exhaustive research and analysis. Others, we go with our guts, and mine has been telling me since January 6, 2021 that Trump’s influence is waning despite all the noise he makes. It’s a weird irony that while the McConnell wing of the Republican Party is engaged in a fight to the death with Trump’s faction, most of McConnell’s noise is an attempt to obstruct and defame everything President Biden attempts to do.
The result is that all their approval numbers suck. That tells me three things: Americans need to spend more time learning the truth instead of marching in lockstep to Facebook bots; America is susceptible to being swept off its feet by the next charismatic hero who pops up; and all three leaders are one bad incident away from becoming irrelevant. That’s especially true of Trump. His supporters are loud but far fewer in number than they used to be – after all, it takes quite a level of adrenaline-based anger and stupidity to continue to support someone who attempted to stage a coup on national (actually world-wide) television.
The question has always been whether Trump, who throughout his life has been able get others to do his dirty work and keep his own hands clean, stepped in it this time. New York City has dropped its investigation of his business practices, falling victim to what most of Trump’s opponents have – it costs a fortune to defeat someone like Trump, and the Manhattan District Attorney doesn’t have one. The State of New York is continuing with its investigation, but even if it succeeds, its findings will likely produce civil liability rather than felony indictments. And the Justice Department? I believe Merrick Garland will act with dispatch and integrity, but if his actions depend on support from Congress, all we’re likely to see is useless theater in the mold of Trump’s two impeachments.
I have long believed that all it will take to finally derail Trump is one felony indictment. He may never spend a minute in prison, but either a plea bargain or a successful prosecution should convince all but Trump’s most diehard, racist supporters that he has no business ever holding office again. I have also believed, since the 2020 election, that the jurisdiction most likely to indict Trump was the State of Georgia, and that now appears to be the case. Assuming the recently convened grand jury recommends a criminal indictment against Trump, and the case actually goes to trial, I’d buy a ticket to watch the testimony of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
Remember him? A staunch Republican deeply embedded in the administration of a red state, he was mercilessly attacked by Trump and his minions for failing to illegally overturn the presidential vote in Georgia. We all saw and heard him stand up to Trump’s attacks in defense of the most sacred part of our Constitution – the right to free and fair elections. The integrity Raffensperger demonstrated repeatedly in open, uncensored, television interviews and addresses was courageous and impressive. It’s not clear whether he was a party to the extreme gerrymandereing of Georgia’s electorate, but there’s no doubt that there’s a red line he won’t cross for political gain, much like John McCain casting the deciding vote to save Obamacare.
Georgia’s investigation into Trump’s overt attempts to steal the election results from Georgia voters was Round 1. Round 2 will be the grand jury deliberations. Since grand juries usually deliver whatever prosecutors ask for, and this one never would have been convened if investigators weren’t convinced Trump committed a felony, I am eagerly looking forward to Round 3.
Just when the future of democracy looks darkest, there may be enough good guys in white hats to save us.