On Saturday, shortly after the publication of his article, Linker tweeted the following in response to his detractors:
I personally don’t mean to insult Linker, but I also don’t believe that Linker really gives liberals and Democrats enough credit. In the piece, Linker makes several assumptions about what he feels liberals and Democrats do and do not expect from a Trump impeachment. But instead of seeing the undeniably attractive prospect of seeing Trump (as Linker puts it) “frog-marched before the country and the world,” I believe liberals understand the potential negatives well, and in fact they’re prepared. are To deal with them.
Linker’s first point is that after a successful (or failed) prosecution of Trump, Democrats would have set a “precedent” for future Republican administrations to retaliate, if nothing else, for prosecuting their Democratic predecessors. in spite of. I agree that they would treat this as an “example”. This is their essence about what Access to any criticism of their own party, but most liberals are already resigned to that fact. In anticipation of a Republican House majority, incumbent House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and others in his hard-line caucus have already said they would hold such show trials and sham investigations of President Joe Biden’s Justice Department appointees, and Even President Biden himself will be impeached, all staged for Fox News and full of all sorts of accusations they can concoct. If Trump or Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis become president in 2024, the process will no doubt be accelerated and exacerbated by a fully armed and politicized Justice Department.
But that will likely happen regardless of whether Trump is prosecuted, and fear of such a corrupt arming of the Justice Department by Trump or his clones is not grounds for refusing to uphold the law. could To do otherwise is to succumb to the ethics of a mafia-style, vindictive executive branch: it means, in effect, submitting to the state through blackmail or outright threat. When you submit to blackmail you surrender not only your integrity but your freedom to fear, and a government (or country) whose political institutions are influenced by fear of the consequences of following the rule of law. , the government is not sustainable. It is simply a capitulation to the power of a fascist regime, in this case such rule being imposed by a violent and delusional mob. It is by definition unacceptable to anyone who wants to live in this country as it currently exists, or as it was originally intended to exist. Indeed, the threat of such retaliatory tactics should be an incentive, not a deterrent, to prosecute Trump.
Still, Linker, while acknowledging the fundamental primacy of upholding the rule of law, suggests that the consequences of prosecuting Trump could be as “unsettling and risky” as pursuing justice against him. :
As soon as the Mar-a-Lago raid was announced, we got a glimpse of those alternative risks. Within hours, prominent Republicans had issued inflammatory statements, and those statements will likely grow louder and more inflammatory during any trial, both by Mr. Trump himself and by members of his party and its media. The ones…
If the case ends in Mr. Trump’s indictment and trial, the Republican argument will be more than what we’ve heard day in and day out from his administration. His defenders will claim that everyone ostensibly committed to maintaining the impartiality of the rule of law is actually motivated by rank bias and a drive for self-aggrandizement. It will be directed at the Attorney General, the FBI, the Department of Justice and other branches of the so-called deep state. The spectacle will be spoiled, essentially convincing most Republican voters that appealing to the rule of law is a sham.
But the nightmare won’t stop there. What if Mr. Trump declares another run for president as he is accused of and the trial turns into a circus showing Washington’s swamp power and the need to put Republicans back in charge to drain it? Believe in form? This would be a risible claim, but potentially politically effective. And he may well continue the campaign even if convicted, possibly running for president from a jail cell. It will be Mr. Trump versus the system. He would be reviving an old American archetype: the folk-heroic outlaw who seeks to overthrow the powerful in the name of the people.
But the potential for “folk-hero outlaws” is exactly why we have a judicial system in the first place. Seasoned criminals from Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd to John Dillinger have long been afforded the “folk hero” treatment in popular culture despite their heinous deeds. History shows that the way to deal with such notions is not to surrender their popular status, but to prosecute them vigorously.
And that’s where I think Linker forgets that the judicial system – especially the criminal justice system – for all its faults, is clearly designed to deal with the kind of people who ‘s screams keep getting “louder and more frantic”. If indeed our criminal justice system is incapable – or worse, afraid – of addressing corruption, corruption, and outright criminality of the kind Linker suggests, then our country is truly a lost cause. We cannot simply assume out of fear that it will fail. It may very well fail, but allowing the system to succeed or fail is better than willingly neutralizing it in the face of a “populist” charlatan, however strong his appeal, and No matter how “high” his followers may be. In a country of more than 330 million, those “high” adherents remain a tiny fraction of the masses.
And while Trump has certainly polluted the federal judiciary (especially) with ideologues, their ideology and loyalty to Trump himself has already proven less important to them than the so-called conservative (“federalist society”) principles that They adopted in their turn. Visits The judge who approved the search warrant at Mar-a-Lago was, after all, a Trump appointee. And the Supreme Court, completely dominated by Trump/Bush appointees, has not been particularly receptive to Trump’s grandiose claims of election fraud and executive privilege.
To be fair, Linker’s concerns up to this point in his argument are worth considering, even if, as I suspect, they have already been considered quite carefully by Democrats. Where he leaves the train of logic is in his suggestion that because our institutions (including our elections) require a basic level of good faith and compliance, the GOP’s conscious choice to violate them in any way That requires Democrats and other Trump opponents to rethink them. Enthusiasm in enforcing the rule of law. Linker says:
Think of all the times during Trump’s presidency when well-meaning sources inside and outside the administration undermined their credibility by offering threats and mounting evidence of wrongdoing and criminality.
It’s not clear what the linker is referring to, but the records of both of those cases, including the Mueller investigation or the House committee investigating the January 6 riots (which is the most significant investigation of criminal wrongdoing by are) accepting his vague structure in . administration) speak for themselves. Mueller’s report revealed an unprecedented willingness, knowledge and deliberate participation by Trump officials in weaponizing Russian intelligence to sway the 2016 election in Trump’s favor. The only reason Trump himself was not prosecuted for those actions was an odd adherence to the old Justice Department policy of not criminally prosecuting the president, and a corrupt use of the pardon power by Trump himself. They are hardly justified in preventing further prosecution of the administration.
But the January 6 rebellion was the final straw, the Rubicon that cleared all doubts about impeaching Trump. That day is often described as an attempt to “overturn” the election. It was actually much worse than that: it was a violent, coordinated attempt to overthrow the American government. duration All ideas of tolerance regarding the existential threat this man and his base represented to this republic went by the wayside that day, and everything we’ve learned since then confirms it.
Linker concluded by urging Democrats to “adjourn Dream of a post-presidential perp walk in favor of allowing the political process to run its course. But in the very next sentence he Undermining his own argument by assuming the obvious: if Trump runs and loses in 2024, both he and his followers will claim it’s because of some kind of “fraud” and (apparently) threats or will strengthen the claim through a coherent pattern. Domestic terror and violence. The reality, of course, is that they will do so whether he is prosecuted or not. Linker seems to believe that by refraining from prosecuting Trump now, Democrats will be able to improve or reduce the violent tendencies and delusional tendencies of his followers in the future. In this, he is dead wrong.
Democrats and liberals are under no illusions about what these people are capable of. Trump and the GOP under his thumb are now of the same piece: They’re bullies, and they like it. They will stay that way until they are pushed back. Complacency or tolerance doesn’t work, it only encourages them. In very simple terms, they face and must be told the following: “No.”