Last week was a very bad one for Donald Trump. There were two rather small (one, most likely, temporary) victories and a lot of losses. In fact, I think I’m seeing the beginning of the end. Alas, the end is not soon.
The biggest blow came Friday when a Grand Jury indicted Steve Bannon on two counts. I will make this, in my mind, not so bold prediction: Bannon will flip before he serves any appreciable prison time. What makes me say that? Several things.
Unlike Trump, Bannon is smart; he is evil but he is smart. That leads me to believe that he knows Trump is a moron (if you choose you can add Rex Tillerson’s expletive adjective). That tells me he really doesn’t respect Trump. Join the club, Steve.
Like Trump, Bannon is a user. Over his political career he has latched onto several people and “rode” them as long as they benefitted him. Why would he envision Trump any differently?
Unlike Trump, Bannon actually has a political philosophy. Trump just wants to survive and grift; Bannon wants to achieve certain political goals, with a little self enrichment included along the way. When Trump loses or is about to lose his political clout, he will no longer be useful to Bannon and Steve will desert him.
Bannon will not flip fast, if in fact he does – which is not a definite. He will play the delay game hoping Trump gets back in power and can bail him out again. However, Bannon knows he has an ace in the hole with law enforcement – he can trade giving up Trump for saving his own hide.
The words coming out of Georgia and New York are that prosecutors are steadily moving toward criminal charges against Trump. That leads into my conclusion scenario – more below.
While Bannon is currently in the “staring role” other Trump allies are feeling the net closing around them. Many of his lawyers find themselves facing disbarment threats. Several political allies are facing similar subpoenas to the one that Bannon was indicted for defying. Trump has to wonder if there is a weak link(s) in that chain.
There is a plethora of civil suits only one of which was recently dropped. These are of lesser concern to Trump; if really pressed he can simply repeat history by making a financial settlement. As long as his fundraising and scams (is there much of a difference?) continue to go well he can stiff the lawyers and pay off the plaintiffs.
Trump’s major strategy is based on running out the clock and maintaining control over the Republican party. If the Republicans take back the House the 1/6 Committee is history. If they take back the House in 2022 there will be more Trump endorsed members than ever and the current leadership is not exactly a profile in courage when it comes to standing up to Trump (or for democracy). Further down the road Trump is thinking he can get reelected in 2024. That would shield him from investigation and prosecution.
While Trump may to an extent control Washington, he does not control the local and state level prosecutors in Georgia and New York. I can see him ending up effectively exiled in Florida depending on Ron DeSantis to fight extradition for him. Would you bet your future on DeSantis? I certainly wouldn’t!
Would it really be that surprising to see DeSantis – I’m sure in a slick way – abandon Trump thereby (in his mind at least) paving the path for him to be the 2024 GOP nominee.
It could go a lot of ways before it is over. I will be among the many watching. Right now it looks bad for Trump, but there a lot of “innings” left in this ballgame.
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