One might think that the arraignment of an ex-President of the United States for the first time in American history would be a day of metaphorical fireworks if not actual violence. Instead the day was routine, not wild. If one did not know that something historically momentous was occurring one would not know it from the events at the Courthouse. Maybe it was just another O.J. or some other Hollywood figure arriving to plead his case.
The real fireworks began after the arraignment. In one short day, the defendant travelled from being on his home turf where he is in-charge to a courthouse where the judge makes the rules to being back home-sweet-home in New Jersey. Quite a whirlwind experience.
What are the lessons to be learned from this day and its aftermath?
1. The media-hyped threat of violence has been overblown. So far there have been two cases in New York and now one in Florida with no violence in sight. Certainly there has been social media chatter about violence and there always is the possibility of a lone wolf, mentally ill or not, of exploding in violence. But so far there is no sign of any repeat of January 6. My prediction still is that this pattern will continue with subsequent arraignments. By this point in time, people are used to the idea of him being arraigned. It has become no big deal. It isn’t as if he is being hauled off to prison or even to jail. He is still free to roam around the country and without an ankle bracelet or having to surrender his passport.
2. The loudest voices have come from Congress … or at least these are the people the media interviews or whose tweets they read. These people can be subdivided in different groups:
The people who are going to be indicted themselves or at least subpoenaed as attention shifts to January 6 and the fake electors
The people who genuinely lack the mental necessities to understand the magnitude of the criminal actions undertaken by the Loser
The people who are political cowards who know that he is guilty through and through but lack the courage of their convictions
The people who seek to exploit the crime for their own gain by being front and center in the media to vouch for the criminal.
These people thrive on making a spectacle of themselves secure in the knowledge that supporting the Loser is no crime but an obligation.
3. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the prosecution wins the battle of public display hands down. The bathroom image resonates with everyone. When the Unpresidential Library (Fox & Friends and the Unpresidential Library April 30, 2018; The Unpresidential Library: The Adolescent Room July 30, 2019; Presidential Shrine versus Unpresidential Library for the Former Guy March 2, 2021) is built dedicated to the criminal activities of the Loser President, this image will hold a prominent place. During his career, the Loser has been the master media manipulator. With the bathroom boxes, he may have met his match.
4. It would appear that the document boxes are his stuffed animals, Linus blanket, and night light all wrapped into one. His staff called them his “beautiful mind boxes.” In the past I have used the phrase “beautiful mind” to refer to MAGAs and Sean Hannity (MAGA’s Have “A Beautiful Mind:” There Is No Cure, February 20, 2023; What Do Seth Rich and the Ukraine Have in Common? Answer: Sean Hannity October 6, 2019; Hannity versus Mueller: Who Is the Better Dot Connector? January 29, 2018). By that, I was referring to Hannity’s skill in connecting the dots to see conspiracies that did not exist, for example, Seth Rich. The immature child who could only connect two dots therefore outsourced this higher level of thinking to Hannity who could connect multiple dots.
5. The most damaging and scary words come once again from the Loser himself. The axiom of when you are in a hole stop digging, does not apply to the immature child with the emotional maturity of a three-year-old who is being told play time is over and it is time to face the music. He now is facing the most dangerous time in his life. He knows that he is guilty on all counts. He knows that his own words will be used against him once again. And he knows that there can be real consequences, yet he cannot stop nor can his lawyers stop him.
As one listens to the Loser fulminate, one has legitimate cause to be concerned for the fate of the country. His platform for 2024 is quite clear:
Lock her up
The stolen election
Whether or not these items align with either the Republican Party or the country, does not matter. They are what he wants. He will campaign on these slogans and given the plurality-primaries of the Republican Party, they well may carry him to the nomination.
6. Chris Christie is exactly right when he calls Donald Trump a child loser… even prior to the arraignment. Considering how the Loser handled the news of his loss of the election, one should really expect he would go ballistic as soon as he recovered from the trial ordeal. Christie needs to carry that description forward whenever he talks about his opponent. The loser is a child who is behaving exactly like a child when the parent (the law) tell him playtime is over.
Unfortunately Christie remains a lone voice in the wilderness. Almost all the other candidates are hanging back, letting the process unfold. If enough of them took to social media and campaign appearances to similarly denounce the three-time child loser who is leading the party over a cliff, then perhaps the dynamic would change.
7. All the witnesses against him will be Republicans and/or people who worked or who still work for him. The constant drumbeat of one witness after another exposing the criminal activity of the Loser will deliver a powerful message of guilt. We already had one trial where his own words provided some of the most compelling evidence against. The same will be true this time. Whether it is his own public words about classified documents from the 2016 campaign, his own public words about owning the documents and declassifying them in his mind, to the actual testimony of a wide array of people, it is easy to see why this is a slam dunk case that will only take a few weeks.
Exactly who will the Loser call as a witness? He certainly won’t testify himself on his own behalf. His lawyers will tie him up and gag him before they would allow that. It will be challenging enough coping with his social media messages and campaign appearances. It is no wonder his some of his lawyers have abandoned ship and other lawyers have refused to even board. Each and every day bears the risk that their will further incriminate himself and dig himself even deeper into the hole he dug for himself.
His rhetoric is likely to become ever more vehement, vicious, and vituperous as the steady drumbeat of arraignments, court appearances, and cases continues. There will be a cumulative effect on him, his apologists, and even MAGA as the legal saga continues. One should keep in mind that he never will be able to defend himself in court and there will be more and more restrictions on what he can say out of court. At some point, it may even sink in that yes, it is a witch hunt and Jack Smith is his Dorothy.