Four surprising phenomena related to the current impeachment proceedings are becoming abundantly clear, at least to me, as revealed by my non-scientific sample of one:
First, (and perhaps most significantly) the Army of Equality (Democrats) does not seem to realize how brutally they have been conned into continuing onward to an impeachment trial. Trump certainly does not want “the third American President to be Impeached” to be recorded in the first sentence of his obituary (“It’s a dirty, filthy, disgusting word…”); however, he is now willing to accept that reality because he realizes an impeachment trial will force the Senate—at taxpayers’ expense—to provide a platform on which he will stage the Greatest Presidential Campaign Rally of All Time to the biggest audience in the history of television. (Anticipatory fact check: the audience would have to eclipse the between 1 to 2 billion people who watched each of four Muhammad Ali fights in the 1970’s, the 1.9 billion who watched the 1985 “Live Aid” concert, and the 650 million who viewed the 1969 moon landing)
Second, Trump will not provide exculpatory evidence of any kind at his impeachment trial because he does not need to. He knows the Army of Liberty (Republicans) will acquit him, 100% guaranteed; instead, he will use this massive campaign rally to excoriate the Democrats (“It’s all a hoax,” et al, ad nauseam). Joe Biden will be especially brutalized by irrelevant and likely fraudulent but nonetheless cutting attacks offered as a “defense” for Trump’s unconstitutional behaviors, and not having the opportunity to fight back, Joe will end up so bloodied and bruised that he will not be able to beat a drum, let alone his primary opponents.
The campaign attacks on the Democrats, and Biden specifically, that will be offered by the GOP as defense would never be admissible in a traditional trial; however, no one, not even the Chief Justice, will be able to eliminate the irrelevant, attacking sound bites that will spew from the President’s Men. You know the statement that judges use to diminish such statements in a traditional trial, the “The jury is instructed to disregard those last remarks” admonishment? How effective is the same admonishment from the Chief Justice likely to be for the possibly hundred-million We the People jurists who will not only have heard the President’s Men’s fraudulent, deliberately misleading, and impossible-to-not-hear sound bites, We the People will be subjected to them again and again in our favorite media echo chambers.
Even as I write this, Rudy Giuliani has been in the Ukraine illegally “digging up dirt” on the Bidens and arranging for agents of Oligarchs (read: the Russian Mafia) to fabricate false claims of Ukraine interference in the 2016 election, all of which the President hopes will be presented at the Senate Impeachment Trial/Trump Campaign Rally. Giuliani is spitting on the Rule of Law with near TOTAL TRANSPARENCY because he knows the Rule of Law will not be used against him due to the likely promise of Presidential Pardons, which means the Rule of Law has effectively ceased to exist in the United States. See: The Rule of Law and Tinkerbell.
Third, the Impeachment battle is NOT a battle in the centuries-long war between the Army of Equality (Democrats/Progressives) and the Army of Liberty (Republicans/Conservatives), which I have perceived it to be prior to this writing (see: The Foundational Cause of Our American Discontent, From the Treetops, The War Between Equality and Individual Freedom); rather, the Impeachment battle is a battle in the three-year-old war between the We The People who wish to preserve the Rule of Law as defined by our Constitution in order to preserve our Democratic Republic, versus the We The People who want an abrasive, rude, lying, vindictive President whose words and actions are evidence of his general ignorance of and powerful disregard for the Constitution. A surprising, to me, critical mass of the latter We the People love him because they see him as someone who is like them, someone who they can celebrate for doing something they have always wanted to do: run roughshod over the people they characterize as America’s “Elite,” a group that Trumpers believe—and not without some appropriate justification—has disregarded them as “deplorables.” Many of the Trumpers that are referred to as his “base” apparently adore a TV President with qualities right out of the pages of The Godfather, or perhaps, the pages of Hillbilly Elegy. You choose…you know, select the character who doesn’t take shit from anybody.
The fabulously accurate and remarkably well-documented case against the President for his multi-faceted, self-acknowledged abuse of power will not change the minds of Trump’s base. Ever. But having to hear Trump shout thousands of times from the end of the trial until Election Day 2020… “I was ACQUITTED! I’m INNOCENT! The Democrats HATE AMERICA; they’re TRAITORS!” …may cause many of the We the People who have been sitting on the fence to be persuaded to vote for Trump.
Fourth, the nature of the impending battle—the equivalent of the Yorktown, Gettysburg, Midway, and D-Day battles to the survival of our Republic—was something never envisioned by the Founders. They did understand the impossibility of completely resolving the whole Equality v. Liberty brouhaha, but they relied upon, as Thomas Jefferson wrote to George Mason in 1791: “(the hope) that we have not labored in vain, and that our experiment will still prove that men can be governed by reason.”
While the Founders did understand the mighty power of The Press, which is why they “guaranteed” its freedom, they could never have begun to imagine the mightier brainwashing power of TV. At this time in our history, for many of We the People, TV ratings are a true measure of that power. Donald Trump’s actions suggest he not only understands this, his actions suggest his ratings (as measured by rating services and selected polls, imagined or otherwise) are foremost in his mind. He is the perfect amalgam of P.T. Barnum— “There’s a sucker born every minute,” and “I don’t care what the newspapers say about me as long as they spell my name right” —and Trump’s most important mentor, Roy Cohn:
Roy Cohn had become the premier practitioner of hardball deal-making in New York, having mastered the arcane rules of the city’s Favor Bank (the local cabal of interconnected influence peddlers) and its magical ability to provide inside fixes for its machers and rogues. “You knew when you were in Cohn’s presence you were in the presence of pure evil,” said lawyer Victor A. Kovner, who had known him for years. Cohn’s power derived largely from his ability to scare potential adversaries with hollow threats and spurious lawsuits. And the fee he demanded for his services? Ironclad loyalty. (How Donald Trump and Roy Cohn’s Ruthless Symbiosis Changed America by Marie Brenner)
Trump’s assault on TV ratings is two-fold: 1) follow Barnum’s dictums to constantly keep your name (spelled correctly!) and advantageous lies in front of as many suckers as you can, and 2) follow Cohn’s strategy of scaring potential adversaries to death, so they will not dare to do anything that might assail Trump’s ratings (Trump: “Anybody hits me, we’ll hit them ten times harder”).
All of which leads me to reiterate the notion that the next eleven months will be an existential battle between the Army of Reason and the Army of Ratings.
REASONITES will be fighting for the Constitution and the Rule of Law. RATINGITES will be fighting to re-elect a totalitarian oligarch because, like true sports fans, they passionately adhere to the emotional conclusion driven by their low self-esteem: “When my team wins, the person I wish I was also wins.” This primal “I win if my candidate wins” notion matters more to the Ratingites than does the fact that their candidate does not care about the Rule of Law unless it can be used for his own political/personal advantage. But here’s a warning for anyone who supports any leader committed to the elimination of the Rule of Law (note: you will have to decipher the implied warning for all of us from playwright Robert Bolt’s, Sir Thomas More in “A Man For All Seasons”):
And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!
(You may wish to read what the Declaration of Independence noted about a man who behaves like Trump at this link: 2020 Quickie.)
Unless things change dramatically over the next few months in the war between Reason and Ratings, it is beginning to seem more and more plausible that for the second Presidential Election in a row, Democrats, despite pursuing the high ground of what is right under the Rule of Law, are likely to steal, once again, defeat from the jaws of victory.
(Featured images are from Pixabay)