Jack Smith versus Donald Trump doesn’t seem a fair fight
Did you guess the names of the litigants from the title of this piece? I bet you did. For better or worse, they’re the ones who’ve been on our minds for months now.
And to be honest, Jack Smith versus Donald Trump doesn’t seem a fair fight. On the one hand, we have special attorney Smith: a tightly-focussed, highly-motivated, extremely-competent litigator, who seems determined to squeeze every ounce of justice out of the crimes Trump allegedly committed. The man is a killer prosecutor plain and simple.
On the other hand, we have Donald Trump: figuratively a thick-skulled, fat little piggy, squealing his way into and around the many legal traps spread across prosecutor Jack Smith’s vast and treacherous terrain.
But things are very different in the political realm and the court of public opinion. Unlike so many of his fellow attorneys, Smith seems reluctant to venture into that territory. So it’s not a place where he seems likely to shine. Witness the public appearances he’s made so far. It’s hard to say what it is, but when he’s in front of a live camera he just doesn’t look like the killer-prosecutor his press photos and reputation have established him to be. And that could mean trouble.
Because no matter what happens in the courts of law, the voting public is going to be the ultimate judge and jury. Anyone who thinks otherwise is dreaming. And as we get closer to the election, things are going to get really messy – to make an obvious point – in part because that’s where Trump will ultimately shine.
But what may not seem so obvious, are Trump’s strengths in the legal realm – all stemming from the fact that the man is a full blown narcissist. It may seem crazy to say this. But that so-called “liability” may have its legal advantages for someone like Trump.
Take for example those public rants of his, the ones that are so often ridiculed in the press. And what about the fact that he just can’t seem to stop making them, no matter the consequences of his rantings about himself and his issues.
To this point, most of the analysis seems to be focussing on the degree to which Trump is destroying his potential legal defences with what he’s saying. But to me those remarks bolster his real defence: the fact that he is such a sick and dysfunctional human being.
According to the bulk of the analysis, the most incriminating aspect of Trump’s comments is that his own statements prove he knew he lost the election. In fact that seems to be the primary indictment of those actions, as well as perhaps the key pivot point in the prosecutor’s case. But again, to me those statements and the fact that he’s willing to make them so publicly, only further demonstrates his narcissism and resultant dysfunction.
So I suppose the ultimate question has to be, which is it? Is he really that dumb or really that sick? Or is he really in fact some kind of netherworld genius fooling us all with his narcissistic brilliance?
I seriously doubt the evil genius thing, as my book The Contrarian Candidate tends to indicate. To me the truth is that he just can’t seem to get it through his head that other people don’t love him the way he loves himself – and certainly not the way he expects them to. And why would we be surprised by that?
After all, we’re talking about a man who, before he got to be really big, was known to call local entertainment reporters in New York pretending to be a man who was good buddies with Donald Trump (and thinking he could get away with that). And he did that solely to tell those reporters what a great guy Trump was, and what a stud he was with the ladies. Think about that for a moment. We’re talking here about someone who is sincerely and sickly in love with himself, everything about himself – to the point where he can’t even seem to imagine that others would not see him and the world exactly as he does.
So could someone like that ever really come to terms with, and allow himself to truly accept something as publicly humiliating as the loss of the 2020 presidential election? Because we’re talking about perhaps the most humbling defeat anyone has ever suffered – the loss of what was likely the most publicized election in history.
There is some reason to believe he is truly not able to digest that fact. And regardless, there is plenty of reason to believe that his supporters on a “jury of his peers” would be unable to believe he lost the election – if only because they don’t believe it themselves. Which means that knowing for certain that Donald Trump has the ability to truly believe he lost the election, is likely beyond a reasonable doubt – at least in the minds of potential jurors. And you know what that means.
What it certainly means is that anyone looking for a quick and easy way out of the Trump era, via a sudden and resounding conviction in the courts of law, had better think again. It’s not going to be that easy. It never is. Trump is going to have to be convicted in the court of public opinion. And that starts with an election defeat.
Admittedly, that defeat is likely to be unconvincing to most of his supporters. But at least it would (hopefully) keep him out of the Whitehouse, and to some extent off the minds of the country – at least for a while. And then perhaps there will come a time when he can be properly prosecuted in a court of law. But either way, at this point Trump’s legal worries don’t seem to be bothering him politically, quite the opposite.
In fact many pundits and some opponents believe the Mar-A-Logo raid to be the turning point in this season’s election. Because before that happened Trump seemed to be on the down side of his political career. Even some of those notoriously “timid” house and senate Republicans seemed to be leaning towards admitting they were over him. But that ended the instant the Mar-A-Logo “raid” hit. And those public political murmurings have not since returned. But an election defeat would almost certainly start them up again, and in a way that no conviction in a court of law likely could.
Either way, if you strike the king you’d better kill him. And for the time being Trump is king of the court of public opinion – and a powerful king at that. So a trial is highly-unlikely to strike a fatal blow.
And it isn’t just his solid position among Republicans, or his ever-apparent narcissism, that make a definitive conviction unlikely. Because on Trump’s side is also the fact that there are legitimate concerns about the way his prosecution has been pursued. And that includes the fact that two state attorney’s general ran their most recent election campaigns on a promise of prosecuting him. And I ask you, could that look any more political?
Actually it turns out it could, given the fact that Georgia AG Fani Willis has since brought indictments on the same crimes Trump has already been indicted for federally. And she is doing it on the rather suspect pretext that a Georgia conviction is less likely to be rendered moot by him personally. Aside from all the lawyerly opinions as to the utility of that move, does she really believe that if elected president, Trump would stop at such a technicality? And what would that do to the country?
And then of course there is the speed with which those prosecutions are being pursued, set against the year and a half AG Merit Garland delayed in appointing a special council to investigate Trump. If it’s such an obvious and urgent matter, then why wait so long? And look at all the ways Trump’s prosecution has differed from those of other RICO-type crimes.
Those prosecutions generally start from the bottom, and squeeze their way up to the top – like a tube of tooth paste. Because the more you squeeze those on the bottom, the more comes out with which to squeeze those nearer the top – until you get to the very top.
You don’t start at the top and work your way down. Which is what Smith appears to be doing by indicting Trump before any of his Whitehouse staff or other co-conspirators. Why is that? Even legal experts who support that move agree it is being done to speed up the trial. So what’s the sudden rush?
Even a baby raised by wolves can figure that one out. And so can Trump supporters.
The only thing that can explain the current prosecution and its methodology, is politics. And his supporters have every right to raise it as an issue. And what does that do – other than elicit more feelings of contempt for the institutions of state.
And to make matters worse, this all seems to have slipped the watchful eyes of the media, focussed as they are on seeing Trump come to justice. Which to Trump supporters is further proof that the world is out to get their incorruptible hero. And all of that is just one more way of saying hello to at least four more years of Donald Trump – whether inside or outside the Whitehouse.