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Dark Side Last Updated: Feb 7, 2024 - 1:41:11 PM


Trump Isn’t Even Hiding His Plans to Go “ROGUE”
By  Susan B. Glasser, New Yorker, January 18, 2024
Jan 20, 2024 - 2:29:17 PM

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That was fast. Donald Trump’s victory in the Iowa caucuses was so big that the story now is not so much who might win next week’s first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary but what will happen after the 2024 race for the Republican nomination is over. In the days since Iowa, Vice-Presidential speculation has kicked into high gear, the revenge campaign against Trump holdouts has begun, and the remaining debates before the vote in New Hampshire were cancelled after Trump and his remaining sort-of-serious opponent, the former South Carolina governor, Nikki Haley, refused to participate. It’s not a competition, it turns out, so much as a romp.

Still, the usual caveats about Iowa, some of which are very Trump-specific, apply. The former President’s big win—many news organizations called it an outright “triumph”; CNN hailed his “stunning show of strength”—came on the basis of a vanishingly small portion of the electorate, in a vanishingly small, wildly unrepresentative portion of the country. By the time all the breathless cable-news coverage was over and the media horde of a thousand journalists had moved on, Trump had received support from a mere fifty-six thousand caucus-goers, amounting to some seven per cent of the registered Republicans in the state and just three per cent of over-all registered voters in Iowa. More people voted for Muriel Bowser in Washington, D.C.,’s last mayoral primary. All told, Iowa represents less than one per cent of the nation’s population—and next week’s New Hampshire primary comes in a state that is even smaller.
As for Trump’s daunting margin of victory, it’s true he climbed above fifty per cent and left both Haley and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis some thirty points behind. It’s also true that a small but significant percentage of the Republican electorate—even in deep-red Iowa—will refuse to vote for the quadruply indicted former President who has led the G.O.P. through multiple national-election defeats in recent years. Never Trumpers are not a substantial force in this year’s G.O.P. primary; at the same time, Iowa proved that they still exist as a 2024 voting bloc and could—once again—help swing the general election to Joe Biden.Excess hype aside, Iowa was a moment to be marked: the official 2024 launch of what looks to be Trump’s unstoppable march to the nomination. He is on track to become the first Republican to be the three-time nominee of his Party since Richard Nixon, and the first ever to win the nod three times consecutively. Not even Republican icons such as Teddy Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan managed the feat, though both Roosevelt and Reagan tried. Along the way to the history books, Trump has already rewritten the rules for modern political campaigns—refusing to debate, barely bothering to engage in retail politicking, and declining to offer a policy platform beyond a program of personal vengeance, a generalized commitment to the racial, religious, and class-based grievances of his followers, and a pledge to dismantle as much of the “deep state” federal government as possible. This is straight out of the aspiring dictator’s handbook for winning elections.

And, yet, Trump’s victory in Iowa was big enough, and predictable enough, that there was an almost awkward lack of new revelations. The polls foreshadowing his supersized win were more or less right; his opponents were as weak and divided and spineless as they had seemed in advance to be; the Associated Press and the networks did not even wait an hour into the caucusing before declaring Trump the winner. David Axelrod and George Will were in violent agreement about the “feral” nature of Trump’s repeat candidacy. Is there anything left to say about all this other than, Wow, are we in trouble?

 
 
The more unexpected political news this week might have been among the Democrats. Vice-President Kamala Harris, after three years of nearly unrelentingly bad P.R., did so well summing up the high stakes of the 2024 election in an interview on “The View” that even Trump’s former White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, was moved to praise the effectiveness and “style” of her message about the threats Trump poses to women’s reproductive freedom and to everyone’s democracy. McEnany did this on Fox News, in a fast-talking rant so unambiguously positive about Harris’s delivery that I had to watch it a couple of times to make sure I had heard correctly. At another point in the interview, Harris was asked how worried she was about the possibility of a Trump return to power. “Scared as heck,” she replied. Which, really, is the only possible answer.

Looking ahead to New Hampshire and whatever lies beyond, there remains a sort of comforting familiarity to the horse-race coverage. After all, the Republican nomination contest is not finally, officially, for real over; how can it be when New Hampshire hasn’t actually voted? Will Haley somehow pull out a victory or is it already preordained that “she’s gonna get smoked,” as Chris Christie predicted last week when he dropped out and then refused to endorse her? Is DeSantis toast? Will either of them make it out of January and on to South Carolina before bowing to the inevitable and dropping out? These are easier questions to contemplate than the one that 2024 is actually punching us in the face with: Will Trump, after everything, be returned to the White House?

A punch in the face it is. Trump has never been one for subtlety. Hence, perhaps, the most notable statement to emerge in this Iowa caucus week. Not Trump’s pretend-nice victory speech on Monday night, or even his oh-so-predictable sneer at Haley’s given first name, Nimarata—which the former President misspelled, naturally. But his 1:57 A.M. screed on Thursday announced in the clearest terms possible for a man who is ranting in all caps on social media in the middle of the night what kind of President he aims to be—a leader unfettered by law, free to “CROSS THE LINE” and even to act as a “ROGUE COP” if that is what he wants to do. “ALL PRESIDENTS MUST HAVE COMPLETE & TOTAL PRESIDENTIAL IMMUNITY, OR THE AUTHORITY & DECISIVENESS OF A PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES WILL BE STRIPPED & GONE FOREVER,” he declared. Turns out that his lawyer’s response last week in a federal appeals court was not just an overly zealous answer to an insane hypothetical about how far Trump’s assertion of Presidential immunity should reach: Trump really does seem to believe that the President of the United States is entitled to order Navy SEAL Team 6 to assassinate his political rivals.

Take comfort, if you will, that the Supreme Court, with its three Trump-appointed Justices, will no doubt soon have its say on this question and that few are expecting it to agree with Trump’s demand for “FULL IMMUNITY” from prosecution for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, or anything else. In the meantime, let the hundred and fifty words of Trump’s posting be a warning, as powerful an antidote imaginable for the feeling that, perhaps, everything is going to be O.K.


Source:Ocnus.net 2024

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