Throwing a former president in jail is bananas. If that happens, we’ll certainly look a lot more like a banana republic.
On Thursday evening, a Manhattan grand jury indicted former President Donald Trump on charges related to hush money payments made to pornographic performer Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 presidential election. Though the details have yet to be released, the case against Trump seems murky at best. It really feels like they wanted to find something, anything to give them an excuse to arrest Trump.
This news marks the first time in American history that a former president has been criminally indicted.
Are we really going to put a former president—who is now currently running for president–in jail over an embarrassing but convoluted paperwork situation?
One presidential candidate, the socialist Eugene V. Debs, made a presidential bid from a jail cell. The third-party candidate had been charged with sedition by the Woodrow Wilson administration in World War I for urging people to ditch the draft in a public speech. Whatever can be said of Debs, it was hardly a proud moment for the country.
Debs was quickly pardoned by Republican President Warren G. Harding who campaigned for a return to “normalcy” and actually meant it, unlike the current commander-in-chief.
For those on the Left who openly support the Trump indictment, one of the go to lines has been that “nobody is above the law!”
A series of Democrats echoing the same message amid Trump's indictment: nobody is above the law. pic.twitter.com/pwsdK6mhpX— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) March 30, 2023
Is that so?
That would make slightly more sense if the man prosecuting the case wasn’t Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. The George Soros-connected district attorney became infamous for a day one memo highlighting how under his leadership, many serious crimes wouldn’t be prosecuted. The list included “resisting arrest, fare beating, prostitution, and trespassing.”
Bragg backed off a bit from that memo once the story went national, but his tenure has nevertheless been filled with cases of going so soft on crime that he should be doing commercials for Charmin toilet paper. He’s significantly reduced charges in grand larceny cases and he’s given light slaps on the wrist to notorious gangbangers with mile long rap sheets.
“Since taking office on Jan. 1, Bragg has downgraded 52% of felony cases to misdemeanors–compared to 39% in all of 2019,” reported the New York Post. “Between 2013 and 2020, under District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., the percentage of cases the office downgraded had never exceeded 40%, according to data made public by the DA’s office.”
In New York, almost everyone is above the law. Everyone but Trump, apparently.
It couldn’t be clearer that Bragg’s case is almost entirely politically motivated. I’d guess that most people who support the indictment likely know this too. That they are for it anyway says a lot about the current political climate.
This is quite clearly the direction left-wing thought is going in America. The people on the “wrong side of history,”—at this point most Republicans and conservative-leaning people—are the real criminals, the real enemies. Murderers, thieves, and gangsters are merely products of our racist, unjust system, you see.
Remember when President Joe Biden gave his angry, red speech yelling about how “MAGA Republicans” are a threat to democracy? What better way to show that than to put the original MAGA Republican in jail.
Now, Trump hasn’t gone to jail yet. It’s hard to see Bragg’s trial being much more than farce. This whole circus will certainly win him some fans among leftists in Manhattan, so maybe that’s all he wants here.
But one way or another this is a terrible moment for the country.
Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have been chippy lately, but DeSantis nevertheless explained why this indictment is so disturbing. He also announced that his state would not assist an extradition request from New York.
The weaponization of the legal system to advance a political agenda turns the rule of law on its head.— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) March 30, 2023
It is un-American.
The Soros-backed Manhattan District Attorney has consistently bent the law to downgrade felonies and to excuse criminal misconduct. Yet, now he is…
Jailing political opposition on shaky charges is the kind of thing we expect from corrupt dictatorships. It’s a precedent that tends to repeat itself, as it has in places like Haiti, where cycles of coup and repression become so common as to be expected.
So, what will be the result of Bragg’s decision to indict? The message he’s sending isn’t that “nobody is above the law,” it’s that the “law” is out to get you if you disagree with the regime, whether you are guilty or not.
That’s a dark road to embark on. We are approaching a Rubicon that will be very hard to uncross once the die is cast and criminally charging political opponents is normalized.
People will begin to give up on self-government, they’ll assume that electoral defeat means tyranny or worse. They’ll resort to bullets over ballots. A dictator who protects you and jails your enemies will be seen as the lesser of two evils.
We don’t want to live in that nightmare.
Is this the moment our American republic became a banana republic? Maybe not quite. But the clownish Manhattan district attorney and his left-wing cheerleaders are doing their best to bring us to that pathetic end.
Jarrett Stepman is a columnist for The Daily Signal. Reproduced with permission. Original here.