It looks like Republicans want to believe Trump is above the law

by A. Altieri D’Angelo

Donald Trump was convicted of falsifying business records to conceal another crime. The crime violated a New York State election law that makes it illegal for “any two or more persons” to “conspire to promote or prevent the election of any person to a public office by unlawful means.”  “Unlawful means” includes violating federal campaign finance laws, falsifying other business records, or violating tax laws. NYS prosecutors charged Trump with 34 offenses, and he was found guilty on all counts.

Many Republicans severely criticized the guilty verdict. They claimed it was a political show trial worthy of an authoritarian regime. Senator Mitch McConnell stated, “These charges never should have been brought.” Senator Susan Collins of Maine expressed concern about “the political underpinnings of this case.” Former Vice President Mike Pence stated the outcome was an “outrage.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida said, “If the defendant were not Donald Trump, this case would never have been brought, the judge would have never issued similar rulings, and the jury would have never returned a guilty verdict.” Senator Marco Rubio of Florida complained that President Biden was behind the indictment and verdict.

Republican Party leaders called upon all member local district attorneys and state attorney generals to indict Democratic Party leaders in their jurisdictions. “Fight fire with fire,” said Marco Rubio. (Not all Republicans, however, joined the chorus line of criticism. Senator Romney and former Governor Nikki Haley have not come out in support of Trump. Larry Hogan, former governor of Maryland and candidate for the Senate, stated, “The verdict should be respected.” But a Trump adviser responded, “You just ended your campaign.”)

The various claims made by Republicans do not survive scrutiny. The allegation that President Biden and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are targeting Trump is false. The DOJ is currently prosecuting several cases, including those of Democratic Party leaders such as Senator Bob Menendez (N.J.), Congressman Cuellar (Texas), and Cori Bush (Missouri). We must also remember the multiple DOJ-led trials of Hunter Biden. According to experts, the DOJ has investigated almost an equal number of Republicans and Democrats since 2000. However, it appears the DOJ has more Democrats under indictment during the Biden administration (including Hunter Biden).

(One must ask, how can Republicans justify declaring that Biden has weaponized the DOJ when his son could be convicted and sent to jail? Will they acknowledge the DOJ’s even-handed approach if Hunter is convicted? No. There is no evidence to support such accusations.)

Trump has accused the jury and the judge of being conflicted. He alleges the trial was not conducted impartially. These claims are deceptive and untrue.

The most important aspect of this whole drama is that no one in the Trump camp has publicly stated that the former President did not commit the crimes for which he was tried. Sadly, his supporters have come to expect a dishonest and above-the-law approach from Trump.

It is noteworthy that before the trial started, 56% of polled Republicans indicated a conviction would cause them to rethink voting for Trump. After the verdict was rendered, only 28% of Republicans stated the jury’s decision would affect their vote. Trump supporters are saying it does not matter that Trump broke the law; he should not be convicted even though they know he committed a crime.

(The latest polls show that 51% of Americans agree with the guilty verdict. However, 66% of Republican voters say the decision will not impact their vote for Trump.)

The Trump base continues to become more comfortable with the idea that a convicted felon could become President of the U.S.

The real issue for many conservatives is they consider any negative statement about Trump to be a rejection of their values. They see Trump as the defender of a way of life they believe is under threat. They will accept his illegal acts if he returns to power and protects their values. The U.S. Constitution is now a barrier to these people. If they could, they would eliminate it and give all the powers of the government to Trump. Trump would become the one thing the Founding Fathers worried about- a despotic ruler above the law.

Trump’s various trials will restart in 2025. He may lose every case (assuming he is not elected President in November). But Trumpism will not fade anytime soon. It will take years to eliminate Trump’s influence on American politics. Trump’s base will continue to treat Trump as one who is above the law and, if Trump is not around, find a suitable replacement to have the same power.

The only way to defeat Trump and his supporters is to beat them in every election from now on.

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