A Necessary One And Done

We love the format in sports: the one and done tournament. In the playoff format we love nothing better than the deciding game. (Seventh game of the World Series anyone?) Why would we ask anything less for democracy?

Donald Trump finds himself in a very similar situation to a one and done tournament with a multitude of simultaneous opponents. It appears that criminal charges in Manhattan may again be on the table. We know New York AG Tish James has him in her sites (although her office’s charges will almost undoubtedly be civil). Then there is Fani Willis in Fulton County, Georgia – which I think is the most likely and dangerous threat of a Trump defeat in court resulting in a criminal conviction. Just off the top of my head we also have at least two investigations going on at Justice.

In many of them the question will be: Is it wise to indict a former president and current declared candidate? (Although his 2024 campaign is anything but a juggernaut at this writing.) If we take a brief look at history and consider the impact of not indicting the answer is a resounding YES.

We need go no further back in history than the Nixon administration. Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon and he skated. (I supported Ford’s decision at the time and with the benefit of hindsight realize both he and I were wrong.) Nixon going unpunished for his crimes (and they were much lesser than Trump’s) eventually gave us Trump. I, like most Americans, believe there is a significant, although not absolute, deterrent effect of punishment. For almost all intents and purposes Nixon went unpunished. He certainly didn’t do prison time.

Trump has always been and still is a misogynist. He may hide it just a bit but, like his late father, he is also a racist. I have to admit I would love the irony of a Black woman taking him down and I see it as a very real possibility. His core supporters share his prejudices and would consider that less than valid. So be it.

The pre-emptive attacks on the FBI, Justice Department and Special Council are not accidents. Trump is attempting to rile his core base in the hope that it will intimidate those named into inaction or a “soft landing” for him. One of the quickest and surest ways to lose a democracy is to be intimidated by a strongman or small group of thugs.

An honest citizen is concerned with the crime. The criminal is more concerned with who called 911. Just watch for the actions of Trump’s congressional abettors and they will reveal themselves. Their purpose is dual: save Trump and save their own hides. It’s much more comfortable to serve in the House of Representatives than the Big House.

Keep in mind this is all from the self-proclaimed law and order candidate of the back the blue party.

Like all of my readers I’m impatient. Yet I understand the challenge the investigators and prosecutors have. They want to be 100% air tight in their cases. From Trump’s perspective he has a bunch of quality opponents all coming at him simultaneously. Remember it’s a one and done and only one has to defeat him. If you look at Trump’s won/lost record in court when he is challenged by a quality opponent he is well under a .500 player.

Trump has done a great job of dodging “bullets” to date let’s make sure that at the end of the “tournament” he is not the winner. Ultimately there is no choice but to indict. What if Trump 2.0 (or should I say Nixon 3.0) is smart and successful? Democracy – and make no mistake that is what is at risk – can’t take that chance!

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