The Vast Bipartisan Pretense of Trump’s Demise

The vast bipartisan pretense that the Trump era is over continued through the universally predicted ignominy of the second impeachment of him. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), whose misfired brainwave the impeachment was, intruded upon a press conference of the House managers, and harangued the audience for nearly 15 minutes with her theory that Donald Trump is an evil and disgraced man who attempted the violent overthrow of the United States government, that his acquittal was really a conviction, and that the Republicans who declined to remove him from an office he no longer holds were “cowards” who sought public office because they weren’t qualified to do anything else. 

The real problem the Trump-haters have is that the Trump phenomenon is alive and well. Not only is it lurking everywhere in the country; not only has the maniacal Democratic and NeverTrump coalition’s effort to legitimize the results of the November presidential election failed to convince anyone except themselves; this fatuous impeachment exercise is the end of the fervent five-year Democratic media effort to make the defamation of Donald Trump a substitute for all other government and politics. That ship has not sailed; it has sunk.

Trump failed to assemble the proper team on the ground to identify voting irregularities as they occurred, taking videos of them, and arranging believable witnesses and a formidable legal case already developed when the much-predicted ballot harvesting and helicopter mass vote-drops in the middle of election-night flipped the Electoral College by turning the results in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin (at the least). 

Of course, Trump did not, as he claimed, win the popular vote and the Democrats did not steal millions of votes. It remains one of the mysteries of this formidable and talented man that he commits such needless mistakes and carries his famous “constructive hyperbole” to such self-damaging extremes. 

Some Inconvenient Facts

In this latest tidal wave of official solidarity throughout America’s governing political class, there was once again a doomed attempt to banish from recollection several inconvenient facts.

First, there are very serious doubts about the integrity of the election result; they will not go away and the truth will never be known. 

Something like this happened in 1960 and President Eisenhower invited his vice president, Richard Nixon to contest the election against John F. Kennedy, but Nixon, a traditional patriot, thought this would be too disruptive to the country at the height of the Cold War. There have been other elections where the ostensible winner received fewer votes than his chief opponent, (1824, 1888, 2000, 2016), but in the only one where a candidate was almost certainly cheated, 1876, Samuel J. Tilden conceded the election to Rutherford B. Hayes, on condition that several measures conciliatory to the Southern states be taken. The conditions were accepted and carried out by Hayes.

The only occasion where the apparent winner lost and there was an appearance of chicanery and the parties were unreconciled was in 1824. There were four candidates and, although Andrew Jackson led, he did not have an Electoral College majority. Two of the other candidates, John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay, united in the House of Representatives where Clay was the speaker, and Adams won the election. Clay then became Secretary of State, and Jackson was elected in 1828. That is the closest there is to a precedent to 2020 and the Trump-haters are understandably distressed by it.

The second inconvenient fact is that the Supreme Court abdicated. 

The high court’s reluctance to get involved in political controversy is understandable but in this case, there was no one else suited to settle the question. In declining to hear the case from the attorney general of Texas against the swing states where the results were controversial, the Supreme Court temporarily abdicated the judicial branch’s coequal constitutional role. Without adjudication of these vital electoral issues contested by the other two branches, the constitutional balance breaks down and the electoral process becomes dangerously illicit and potentially undemocratic. 

If the Supremes had heard the case and decided against the president for well-explained reasons, even that would have been the end of the controversy. Once the court ducked its responsibility and the principal Republican legislative voices in the states and in Congress revealed themselves as NeverTrumpers, coming out of hiding after four years and declined to challenge the proposed Electoral College delegations from the contested states, there were bound to be difficulties.

The Era of Trump Hate Is Ending

The third inconvenient fact, the truth of which we dare not speak, is that 85 percent of Americans despise the Congress. They recognize the United States Capitol is a great national monument but they consider its principal inhabitants to be incompetent, dishonest, self-serving, and cowardly. 

Scores of millions of Americans noted the fleeting spectacle of members of the Congress hiding under their desks on January 6 wearing their ludicrous flame-resistant headgear. No one approved of the violence or the vandalism, but that glimpse of America’s legislators facing a physical challenge confirmed the low opinion the great majority of their countrymen has of those legislators.

On Saturday, after the Senate verdict came down, Republican spokespeople most closely identified with the Bush presidencies spoke as if the Trump era was over and it was just a matter for the party to put new leadership in place. Darrell Issa, the esteemed veteran California congressman, spoke of uniting the best aspects of Trump, Reagan, and Lincoln. The supremely inconvenient fact is that Donald Trump has by far the largest political following of anyone in the United States, and the attempt to deny him the ability to seek reelection has failed. 

The first signs of the disintegration of the Democratic fairyland came this week with the self-destruction of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the likely recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom, the shambles of the Lincoln Project, the ludicrous departure of Biden press aide T.J. Ducklo, as the financial derring-do of Hunter Biden continues to be a matter of high interest.

If this administration is successful, Trump will become politically irrelevant. If it isn’t, Trump either will be or will effectively choose the next president. In either case, the five-year Democratic era of Trump-hate will not hold the national audience any longer. 

The ex-president is wise to remain publicly discreet; to judge from the Biden Administration’s first three weeks, Trump is following Napoleon’s advice not to disturb an enemy while he is in the act of making a mistake. 

There will be many mistakes and this impeachment was one of them. With the slightest perspective, it will be seen as a mudslinging operation based on a preposterous charge of an incitement he did not utter to an insurrection that nobody sought, in pursuit of the removal of the ex-president from an office he no longer held. It would be difficult to conceive of anything more asinine and only the maladjusted response to the Trump phenomenon could drive the loopy and desperate Pelosians to such an imbecility.  

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About Conrad Black

Conrad Black has been one of Canada’s most prominent financiers for 40 years, and was one of the leading newspaper publishers in the world as owner of the British telegraph newspapers, the Fairfax newspapers in Australia, the Jerusalem Post, Chicago Sun-Times and scores of smaller newspapers in the U.S., and most of the daily newspapers in Canada. He is the author of authoritative biographies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, one-volume histories of the United States and Canada, and most recently of Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other. He is a member of the British House of Lords as Lord Black of Crossharbour.

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