Moonshots: Trump's war, Biden strikes back
How to combat the return of Trump? The most effective strategy would be to do what Trump suggested be done to Hillary Clinton. Lock him up.
The 45th President of the United States seeks to become #47. It has not happened since Grover Cleveland, who was #22 and #24, and never happened before that. What has happened before is violence at the Capitol. Republican Herbert Hoover lost his 1932 bid to Franklin Delano Roosevelt largely because Roosevelt and Democrats blamed him for Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s brutal handling of the Bonus Army camped out on the National Mall. Depression-era Americans also blamed Hoover for their plight. The Bonus Army consisted of former WWI soldiers, who during their war took more casualties from the Spanish Flu pandemic than from the Huns. Current political messaging notwithstanding, the Trump era is not the first pass of history’s hand on our nation in these kinds of events.
Joe Biden, who is out of the country dealing with consequential world events, had his staffers take to Twitter in a preemptive strike. FDR would have done the same thing to Hoover in 1932, if we’d had Twitter then. Biden is closer to Hoover than Trump, both in his response to economic turmoil and in his deep unpopularity. Trump fashions himself an FDR, a man for the people. History is a funny thing when it recycles.
We should take Trump seriously. His campaign is based on what it’s always been about: himself. But his psychological link to his followers remains strong, and what happens to Trump encourages them to take those events personally. The more Trump is persecuted (prosecuted, deservedly), the more his followers believe they are being persecuted.
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Trump’s speech was said to be “unusually subdued” and free of the supercharged rhetoric that he’s known for. That didn’t stop the fact-checkers from poring over it, though they didn’t uncover a treasure-trove of giant lies, only the typical spinning you’d expect from a Republican, with the exception of Trump’s accusation that “Obama took a lot of things with him,” which was clearly false and an obvious attempt to cover up his own legal troubles.
How to combat the return of Trump? The most effective strategy would be to do what Trump suggested be done to Hillary Clinton. Lock him up. An indictment and conviction would stop Trump’s campaign pretty well, but simply tying him up endlessly in court might distract enough to give other Republicans some room to run. But the risk is that Trump would win in court, or fail to be convicted. I don’t think Trump would make an effective martyr—he doesn’t have a sacrificial cell in his body. But being persecuted and persevering would give him a powerful message. So if the DOJ or Fulton County DA Fani Willis hauls Trump into court, they need to have an ironclad case.
A “free” Trump, who may regain his Twitter platform at the hand of “free speech absolutist” Elon Musk, could conceivably pick off his opponents one by one as he did in 2016. Many Republicans would rather endure Trump—as nightmarish for the nation as it would be—than suffer their own political fortunes to decline along with the GOP.
Trump’s strategy, if he has one, is to offer the GOP a choice: him or death. His campaign is a moonshot, and the GOP will have to make some hard choices to be free of his devil’s bargain.
What we can’t count on is Joe Biden to fight Trump. Twitter is not the place to fight Trump—though Trump used it effectively against the very elite media who populate the place, as a troll. This is a Republican battle. The best Democrats can do is listen to what the people say and stay away from the bright line of insanity they seem so fond of crossing.
Congratulations to NASA for launching Artemis 1, the first man-rated rocket the U.S. has launched to the moon since the Apollo era. It took three tries, with a hurricane intervening, but this is a worthy achievement.
Ukraine and Poland…
U.S. sources have claimed that two rockets which exploded in Poland were not launched by Russia, but were Ukrainian rockets sent to intercept the Russian missiles. President Biden echoed that, saying it was “unlikely” the missiles were from Russia.
NATO has taken the same line, not blaming Russia, while blaming Russia.
"Let me be clear, this is not Ukraine's fault," said the secretary general. "Russia bears ultimate responsibility as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine."
Whether the rockets were Russian or not, this seems to be a reasonable course. Poland’s response to Russian rockets killing Poles on home soil would be predictable, and savage. Saying the rockets were an unavoidable accident fired by Ukrainians in defense, then blaming Russia for launching 90 missiles targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure achieves the dual goals of keeping the war from widening, and keeping the pressure on Russia.
If the rockets were from Russia, telling the world would not be in anyone’s interest.
"How to combat the return of Trump?"
For us grassroots voters, the option that we have available to us is to encourage friends and family to register as Republicans and defeat the man in the primaries by voting for his strongest challenger. After this last election's shellacking of Trumpy candidates, the GOP may have been sufficiently jolted to not just let this become another coronation.
Tom Nichols takes the line that reporting on what Trump is saying is important, to continue shining a light on "the crazy" so Independents and non-Trump GOPers will vote against him.
I dunno if that's a good idea or not, but it's probably better than ignoring Trump.