By Roger L. Simon
My immediate reaction on hearing that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg maneuvered the indictment of Donald Trump in the “hush money” case surrounding Stormy Daniels was that the out-of-control Bragg had just elected Trump as the 47th president of the United States.
My second thought was the fear that he may have instigated a civil war.
But I’ll go with my immediate reaction. It’s better for all of us.
As the Zen Buddhists say, “First thought, best thought.”
Law professor Jonathan Turley is already calling the indictment “legally pathetic,” and that’s about the size of it. You don’t have to be a professor to figure that out.
This is the weaponization of our legal system taken to the nth power: Trump Derangement Syndrome gone berserk.
Most Americans—even many Democrats, though some will be afraid to say so—will see this instantly as a purely political prosecution, as it so obviously is.
What Bragg, in his high dudgeon, probably didn’t think about was that the Republicans actually won the popular vote in the midterm elections by 5 million. He probably just added another 5 million or 10 million—possibly even more.
He may have even extended that Republican majority outside the reach of whatever cheating that his party is alleged to have done or be capable of without genuinely starting a civil war.
It will be interesting to see what Trump’s primary competition on the GOP side will decide to do at this point.
Ron DeSantis would be smart to rally around Trump and decline to run. That would be seen as patriotic and redound well for the Florida governor in future presidential elections, making him a front-runner for 2028.
He has already announced he will fight Trump’s extradition from Florida, but he should also consider carefully declining to run this year, because if he continues with his 2024 plan, the reverse could easily occur and make him politically extinct on the national stage.
It’s difficult to see how he can directly criticize Trump at this juncture without alienating his party’s base.
Also, if the Florida governor drops out, the other aspirants must follow.
This is no ordinary situation and takes an extraordinary and courageous response.
If there ever were a case when “the whole world is watching,” this is it. American democracy is on trial and from the very fact of this indictment, it’s failing miserably.
Can you imagine what the likes of Xi and Putin are thinking, world leaders who already see democracy of any kind—constitutional or otherwise—as a hopeless and, to adapt Turley’s word, pathetic system?
They know better than we do the extent of the never prosecuted Biden family alleged corruption that, on its face, makes whatever Trump did or didn’t do with Stormy years ago monumentally trivial.
They also, given their histories, know what comes from show trials, how effective they can be in the evolution of a totalitarian state.
Now, we are about to have one of our own.