Why Democrats Don’t Want to Indict Trump

Donald Trump

Last week on Counterspin, Janine Jackson mentioned some potential reasons why the Democrats and the country at large don’t want to charge Trump for laws he almost certainly broke. She mentioned concerns that Republicans would scream and holler and that it would be presented as partisan by the press. I think these are real issues but I don’t think they are the main issue.

I think Democrats are concerned that if they charge Donald Trump with crimes, there will be retaliation. As soon as Republicans are back in power (which will almost certainly happen partially in the next year and then fully less than 3 years from now), Joe Biden and other Democrats will be charged with crimes as simple payback.

And, of course, it won’t matter at all that there is no substance to such prosecutions. It won’t even mean that no dirt will be dug up. Look at what the Republicans did when Bill Clinton allowed them an open-ended investigation. After years of digging, they found something real. It was bullshit. But it was real and it led to the most disingenuous impeachment in history.

It’s Not Turnabout

The problem is that you can never depend upon Republicans to act in a reasonable way. And that’s especially true if you are reaching out to them and trying to deal with them in good faith. They see it as simple weakness. They go for the jugular.

So not indicting Trump will not lead to the Republican Party saying, “You know, they treated us well when we were in power. Let’s do the same now that we are in power!” If anything, it will be the opposite. But more likely, it doesn’t matter. They will try to throw Biden in prison if Trump is indicted and they will try to throw Biden in prison if Trump is not indicted.

Systemic Problems

But this isn’t just an issue of some Democrats being abused. The larger issue here is that we live inside a completely fucked up political system. We know that a fascist party is going to be back in power soon. Really doesn’t matter what goes on. Our system is designed to be anti-democratic. And through the machinations of conservatives over decades, it is far less democratic still.

There is literally nothing the Republicans could do that is so bad that they won’t be re-elected every couple of terms. Look at Richard Nixon. He resigned and disgrace in late 1974. In 1976 the Republicans lost the White House in a very close election. And in 1980, they won it back in a landslide and held on to it for 12 years.

George W Bush was an absolutely horrible president who committed war crimes. And that got him two terms as president. Then America, in its great wisdom installed a reality TV star who is stupid, ignorant, small-minded, and vicious because that’s who we are.

And I think the odds are better than even that our country will elect him again in 3 years.

Minority Rule

So it’s not like the Democrats’ concern that a corrupt government will go after them are unfounded. I don’t think it does us a lot of good to focus on the weakness of politicians. We should focus on the fact that we have a government that will change every couple of terms. And it does not matter how horrible and incompetent that party is.

Of course, that might all change when the Republicans next get power. They could legislate this country into single-party minority rule. Watching how much Republicans love Viktor Orbán makes me believe that is the plan.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

11 thoughts on “Why Democrats Don’t Want to Indict Trump

  1. Seems there’s never any good news these days if you’re a free-thinking liberal. I work for the courts on behalf of judges so I’m not exactly allowed to volunteer in political causes. So I can only sit and hope while preparing for the worst. Yet I’m a relatively well off white(ish) man – I’ll make do regardless of how messed up the system gets. As I get older, that’s really all I have to take solace in.

    • I think about this all the time. The things I worry about don’t affect me personally. If need be, I can run off to Ghana. It’s this damned empathy that screws it all up!

  2. If they will “do it” to us anyway, what is the point of holding back? Prosecuting Trump and as many of his enablers as possible is the right thing to do, and it’s good politics. The people it will anger are never going to vote for Democrats. The Democratic base is getting demobilized by all the dicking around by the 1/6 committee and the Justice Department. I know, you don’t have to explain it, that it takes time and resources to develop a case that will win. That is law, not politics. The politics is arrest the motherfucker, take his advice and smack his head into the doorframe of the cop car you are loading him into, and remand as a flight risk. And his family, and as many of the worms who worked for him as you can lay hands on. Pretty fucking tired of hearing Pelosi promise “I will never stop fighting for youuuuu!” when that doesn’t seem to mean anything real. As you said in your post, there is on tomorrow. A week in general population prison and some of these pudding soft rich fucks are going to sing. And if not, I just want to know they lived it. Do I sound angry? I’m always angry. And I am afraid. I don’t think there is a way forward that does not involve bloodshed. And I don’t want that. I’m not a fucking Republican. I don’t have jack off fantasies about living in an action movie. They are going to kill people. Minorities, vulnerable communities. They do it already. It will get worse. The police won’t help because they are largely sympathetic. The Democratic gerontocracy just wants to get back to the neoliberal nineties. They have no vision beyond that. Direct action will become necessary. I wish I saw an alternative. I have not become radicalized. This is the same me you have conversed with for years. And all I have on my calendar for the week is to go to work and care for my family.

    • Several frothing-at-the-mouth eager Republicans hoping to jump to the top of the attention line have already said that if Republicans take one or both houses in November, they’ll move to impeach Joe Biden. On giving a cush job to his kid (unheard of) or mishandling Afghanistan (ditto) or… whatever. It never matters.

      I think it does matter that, for years, those of us who are liberal Democrats have been told “the centrist candidates are the ones who know how to get deals done with Republicans, once in office.” Methinks that ship sailed at least a decade ago, if not more.

      Your anger is understandable, justified, and commendable. Anyone who doesn’t feel it to some degree is bananas!

      • At least one major figure wants to impeach him on the grounds that he does not support Ivermectin as a treatment for Covid

        • Right… which is insanity. You can buy ivermectin at farm supply stores, it’s not illegal. Eat it if you want. Nobody’s stopping anybody who wants to do this (or eat dog food, try smoking catnip, etc.) The loons are convinced that the FDA not recommending horse dewormer as COVID treatment is just one more example of liberals hiding “the truth.”

          Well, maybe. I haven’t revealed to anyone my basement full of baby horses I’m grooming to be sex slaves. But only because it’s a disaster, so far. The horses just poop everywhere and show no interest in human-animal sex, no matter how many videos of “My Little Pony” and “Equus” I try to get them to watch.

        • I just heard about someone pushing a law to make it illegal for a doctor to try to stop a patient from taking it. You know, because the right is so in favor of free speech!

      • For the first 6 years of this blog, I was trying to write a book about how the New Democrats were largely responsible for the loony Republicans. The idea was that the NDs took the only reasonable position on the right. The Republicans had only two choices: become leftists or fascists. I still think there is something to that. But going all the way back to the 1950s, the conservative base has always been the same. I guess I no long think there is any difference between conservative and fascist. But the Democratic response of technocracy and reasonableness is not politically winning. Strap in folks; the next 20 years are going to be bad.

    • I do feel radicalized. The 1/6 committee seems like it is determined to wait until after the election to come out with a report. Or maybe even allow it to go into the next term so it gets killed by the Republican majority. Not that it will matter. As long as Republicans don’t admit to any wrongdoing, the press will just shrug and pretend it’s just a partisan battle.

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