Trump Indictment: War by Other Means
politicians can never admit defeat
One way to understand the indictment of Donald Trump for various misdeeds with respect to classified documents is through the words of Óscar Benavides, president of Peru in 1933-39.
For my friends, everything; for my enemies, the law.
Ain’t that the truth. For Democratic voters: free stuff; for lefty activists: government grants; for special interests: subsidies and contracts; for Democratic politicians: get-out-of-jail-free cards. For Trump: The Law.
Some people think that the pursuit of Trump is a cunning strategy, because it will unify MAGA Republicans behind Trump and everybody else behind Biden, and so deliver the 2024 election to Biden.
Maybe so. But I would say that the bigger picture is that politics is war by other means. I think that the war is not going too well for Democrats, and this is primarily because most of the things that Democrats have done over the past century is to Make Things worse for ordinary people and there is one thing that is really difficult for politicians to do, and that is to back down and say: we were wrong.
So it is natural for Democrats to pull out all the stops against Trump this year, and whoever else is running on the GOP ticket next year. Until it doesn’t work.
Here’s another take. The Zman has a piece on Ukraine and the “narrative” that the Ukrainians are winning.
That is the important part about understanding the power of narrative within the Western managerial elite. Disconfirmation is always met with an organized effort to force the contrary information onto the narrative. Maybe the narrative is tweaked to account for the new data, but the final chapter never changes. The good guys always win in the end and the West is always the good guys.
We are the good guys; we will win in the end; anyone that disagrees is a traitor. This is always the way of politics.
Zman brings up World War I.
One of the enduring mysteries of the Great War is how the rulers on both sides kept at it despite the obvious futility of the war. Both sides remained convinced that the other was running on fumes. All they needed to do was keep up the pressure and the other side would eventually crack.
No: not a mystery. Any political leader must always insist that victory is just around the corner, that this is no time to panic, that all will be well in the end.
A political leader that admits defeat is finished. So political leaders everywhere sacrifice everything — young men, treasure, prosperity — rather than admit defeat. That goes for wars, programs, beliefs: everything.
That’s how I understand the Trump thing. Our rulers experience the Trump phenomenon as inconceivable. Because if Trump wins, and the ordinary middle class becomes the center of politics, then the Age of the Educated is over. No more fighting for the Oppressed; no more World Wars; no more Climate Crisis; no more lovely grant money; no more mostly peaceful protests. Just ordinary people living their ordinary lives.
And so, our ruling class will keep on keeping on until it gets defeated. It may be in an election; it may be in a revolution; it may be in a civil war; it may just run out of money; it may be because liberal woman all of a sudden decide that they are not being protected by the Democratic Party.
Could there be a world in which politics was demoted, government spending was cut, activism was sneered at, and Pride Month was ignored? Could be, but I don’t know how we get there.