It should come as no surprise that the subject of today’s article is not last night’s debate. In fact, this article is being written hours before that event. I try to write about issues of consequence and none of the participants will be the 2024 Republican nominee. Donald Trump will and as much as I dislike giving him more press, I cannot ignore his recent antics.
Trump is in what is essentially the penalty phase of a civil trial in New York. His legal team messed up and he is stuck with a judge (vs. jury) trial. The judge hearing the case is the sole arbiter. So, you would assume attacking and upsetting him would be a bad strategy for Trump. Well, that’s exactly what Trump has done. In exasperation, Judge Arthur Engoron directed the following statement to Trump’s attorneys: “I would beseech you to control him if you can.”
The sane among us are wondering what Trump is actually up to. I think there may well be method to his apparent madness. I envision it as a tree with several branches that may or may not be taken. Let’s explore each of those limbs.
The first is the one he has been on for some time: the scam limb. Trump raises a ton of money off his antics which play well with the lowest common denominator of his base who constitute the bulk of his small dollar donors. Those small donations add up to millions.
Another branch that he is on has two prongs: the delay branch. It has long been his legal strategy (and remember Trump has a losing record with cases that actually go to trial) to simply delay. In this case he is also holding open the card of delaying long enough to return to the White House and protection from prosecution. The branch of the branch if you will.
Part of the delay game is the appeals process. Trump will always appeal any adverse verdict or action. He is banking on eventually reaching the Supreme Court where Clarence Thomas and most likely Samuel Alito will do anything that he wants. He is then banking on the three justices he enabled to vote his way. I’m not so sure that will happen. I think the “Trump Three” may view loyalty the same way Trump does. They got what he could offer and they have it for life. They don’t need him. I’m not sure a Supreme Court appeal will be granted cert let alone be decided in his favor.
Then there are the two further out branches. The first is the insanity plea. His actions both in and out of the courtroom would not seem to be those of a sane man. I, while admittedly not clinically qualified, would be hard pressed to find him sane. Keep in mind this is a man who has committed legal suicide on the witness stand. While Trump may well fancy himself as a good liar – could he actually believe his own malarkey? – someone who tries to justify tripling the square footage of his own apartment citing the roof and elevator square footage sounds a bit delusional to me.
The last branch has largely, and in my mind foolishly, been ignored. What is to stop him from simply fleeing the country at some eleventh hour when incarceration seem inevitable? This is a guy with his own private airplane and has a lot corrupt friends in high foreign places. He just has to hope one of them will accommodate him.
One tree with a lot of branches. It will be interesting to see which are selected.
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