A Bit of Trump Trial Campaign Advice

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 30: Former U.S. President Donald Trump walks to speak to the media after being found guilty following his hush money trial at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 30, 2024 in New York City. The ... NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 30: Former U.S. President Donald Trump walks to speak to the media after being found guilty following his hush money trial at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 30, 2024 in New York City. The former president was found guilty on all 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first of his criminal cases to go to trial. Trump has now become the first former U.S. president to be convicted of felony crimes. (Photo by Steven Hirsch-Pool/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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Donald Trump’s superpower is his impunity. He can do or say things that would end another politician’s career, marriage, freedom, and so much more. But he emerges always unscathed. It’s the root of his opponents’ revulsion and the anchor of his devotees’ devotion. That’s because Trump, as we’ve noted many times, is about power. And impunity is one of the great expressions of power. When you see Trump and his toadies turning their rage up to 11 you know they can see, if only intuitively, that the most damaging part of Trump’s conviction is the loss of the aura of impunity it represents, the damage to his brand.

He committed the crime — one we knew about and which Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to and later went to prison for all the way back in 2018. Trump was charged with the crime. He want on trial for the crime. A jury of his peers found him guilty on every count. Done and done. No levitation in defiance of the laws of gravity. No skating on the crime a mere underling did time for. Guilty. Done and done.

Very off brand. Sad!, as the man himself might say.

Now, apparently, Democrats are divided on whether to step back from Trump’s felony convictions or pull them into the political fray.

It is crazy to think that if you were running a campaign against a convicted felon this wouldn’t be a prominent part of your campaign. Any other suggestion is too absurd to contemplate.

It’s true that it might not make sense for Joe Biden to discuss the details of the case. But why would he? They don’t matter. Trump is guilty. The jury said so. It’s over. As of yesterday convicted felon Donald Trump is a convicted felon.

But let’s go back to Trump’s now damaged superpower of impunity. Trump’s play is always dominance. The weapon of choice against that puffed-up pro-wrestling-like dominance spectacle that is at the heart of Trumpism is mockery. And this provides such a wonderful opening.

Trump was convicted of a felony. So the trial was rigged. Just like when Donald Trump lost a whole presidential election. Remember that? And he said that was rigged. He couldn’t just take it like a man (or woman) like the other … what, 44 guys who lost, and just admit he lost? And remember back in 2016 when it looked like he was going to lose, well … that election was rigged too. And then he won so it wasn’t rigged anymore. And the lawsuit that dissolved his company for decades of serial fraud. Also rigged, surprisingly!

Don’t we all know that guy? From our own lives? It’s not his fault? Someone always set him up? It was rigged!

And why stop there? Remember the convictions of Bannon and Flynn and Manafort and Stone and good lord almost every one who’s ever worked for him? All rigged. And what about the time he pulled up a U-Haul on the White House lawn and made off with a few hundred boxes of classified records and kept them in random rooms at his beach resort. Also rigged? Yes, would you believe that prosecution was also rigged! We know this guy.

The way to constantly inject Trump’s felony conviction into the campaign, other than remembering that “convicted felon” is now his first name, is to simply make his pathetic whining, excuses and demands for never-ending life mulligans the center of the campaign against him. He’s a disgrace but more than that an embarrassment. It won’t be hard because he’ll be making this claim non-stop through November, just a constant cue up for the same lethal mockery. It is the heart of his politics to always be jacking the conversation up to higher and higher levels of drama, even when the drama is his own menace, indeed especially when the drama is his own menace. That’s his power. What cuts him down is to zero in on the pathetic excuse-making and whining, a trait all of us associate with the most odious and pitiful people we’ve ever known. And let that pull the disgrace of his many crimes and prosecutions along with it.

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