It’s been an eventful week. Boris Johnson, the prime minister of the United Kingdom, was forced to resign. Shinzo Abe, the former prime minister of Japan, was shot dead while delivering a campaign speech. And Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Sri Lankin prime minister, offered to resign after thousands of protestors stormed his residence and burned it to the ground.
On the home front, various groups unhappy with some recent rulings by the Supreme Court have offered bounties for people who report on the whereabouts of the justices. A 73-year-old man in North Philadelphia was set upon and beaten to death by a pod of rampaging black teens. And it was widely reported that Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, would be traveling to Utah to meet with conservative donors.
It was that last item that really set the collective heart of the punditocracy all pit-a-pat. You could tell this by the number of reporters who breathlessly described the event as a meeting with “mega-donors,” “mega” being the favored intensifier du jour. It means, “This is serious. Pay attention.”
For those with an active imagination, what that event signaled was the prospect—glorious or terrifying, depending on the political coloration of the reporter—of a DeSantis candidacy for president in 2024.
That would suit me just fine. I think DeSantis is one of the very best governors in the United States. He is also the one most often spoken of together with the word “president.” The prospect terrifies anyone on the Left who preserves even a slender tether to reality, for it is clear that set against a drooling, senile puppet such as Joe Biden or a clownish relative of Nancy Pelosi like Gavin Newsom, DeSantis would wipe the floor, dry the dishes, and tidy up the laundry with them.
For many on the Right, DeSantis is the handkerchief with which they can mop their furrowed brow. For he is conservative. He is quick on his feet. And, above all, he is not Donald Trump.
People often say that Trump lives “rent-free” in his opponents’ minds. This is true. But he has some impressive waterfront property in the minds of some of his supporters as well. They supported Trump in 2016. They say, many of them (most of them if truth be told), that they will support him again in 2024 if he is the candidate. But deep down they don’t want him to run. He is too “divisive,” you see. He doesn’t know how to govern. And—the coup de grace—January 6.
Until a few weeks ago when Loopy Liz Cheney (R-RINO) really got going with her show trial entertainment, the word was that DeSantis would not run if Trump did.
I say “the word was.” What I mean is that someone said that and many people repeated it. Who knows if it was true. It was part of The Narrative. But many of Trump’s fair-weather friends—Mick Mulvaney, for example—have stuck their fingers in the air and believe the breezes are blowing against Trump. Maybe they are.
But the point is this: many of the people whom Bill Kristol apostrophized with the phrase “decent and elevated conservative” don’t want Donald Trump to run. I understand their anxiety. For most of the 2016 campaign, I was anti-Trump. Ted Cruz was my guy. I wrote a dozen or more columns making fun of or warning about Donald Trump.
Then Cruz dropped out. The contest then was between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. As I think I wrote then (if I didn’t, I should have), I would have voted for the terrier who lived across the street from me before I would vote for Hillary Clinton, at that time the most corrupt person ever to make a serious run for the presidency. (It’s possible that Joe Biden has her beat on that trophy: the jury is still out.) To me, it was no contest. One had to (well, I had to) support Trump.
At first, I was pro-Trump faute de mieux. He wasn’t Hillary. That was enough. But the more I paid attention to what he said, the more I liked what I heard. On judges. On energy policy. On immigration. On Democratic-run cities. On identity politics. On “the swamp.” And above all, on “Making America Great Again.” The more I saw of him, the more I liked him. I admired his energy. To me, the “mean tweets” were a feature, not a bug. I thought he gave some of the best presidential speeches, in form as well as substance, in modern history. And his tenure: as I said over and over again, I thought he had the most successful term of any president in recent memory, maybe ever.
But what about now? Do we even know whether Trump will run? I always haul out Harold Wilson’s remark that “a week is a long time in politics” on such occasions. No, we do not know. Unexpected things happen. But if we are right in extrapolating from current trends; if the midterms go as expected; if Trump’s health remains strong: then, yes, I think he will run. Another indication, just in: he just repainted and renovated his Boeing 757, known the world over as “Trump Force One.” Why would he do that if he wasn’t planning to put it to work?
But what about the protests at the Capitol on January 6, 2021? Were they not an inexpugnable blot upon Trump’s escutcheon? Should we not, as Loopy Liz Cheney wants us to do, recoil in horror?
No, I don’t think so. And here’s where the great Stan Evans comes in. Evans was one of the most insightful, and certainly one of the funniest, political commentators of his generation. He specialized in saying outrageous things that at first seemed like comical exaggeration but, on reflection, appeared as sober reality. For example, Evans said he never really liked Richard Nixon until Watergate. Only then did he warm to him.
I liked plenty of things—most things, actually—that Trump did as president. But it is really only in the aftermath of January 6, I see now, that his true greatness takes shape.
The January 6 show trial is, as every honest person knows, simply an extension of the Mueller Russia-Collusion hoax. It is another effort by the Swamp to destroy not just Trump but the entire populist spirit that he gave voice to.
That is why our Stasi—what used to be known as the FBI (secret police are always changing their name: what is now the FSB in Russia was the KGB and before that the NKVD in the Soviet Union)—has been so assiduous in rounding up and jailing people who were in or around the Capitol that day. (See Julie Kelly’s superb reporting on this outrageous violation of constitutional rights.)
Drunk with power, Cheney arranges for dawn raids and sudden arrests of people associated with Trump. It is disgusting. It is evidence of the extent to which America has slid into the fetid precincts of the police state. The Star Chamber over which she presides is not a “hearing.” It is a show trial with one multifaceted goal: to destroy Trump and the populist revolt he instantiated. It is a malodorous, deep-state initiative that has nothing to do with “finding the truth” and everything to do with pursuing a partisan vendetta.
Everything associated with it should be vomited out of the mouths of the body politic. Only thus will the poison of the anti-Trump, which means the anti-American, pathology be purged. Cheney’s aim is to forge a tablet of shame to hang around Trump’s neck. I say, celebrate it. Trump had nothing to do with his (unarmed) supporters traipsing through the Capitol. But the more we see of Cheney and her unhinged lieutenants, the better those protestors look. If Trump is the candidate, I’ll vote for him not in spite of January 6, but in part because of it, especially the deep-state response to it. I know Stan Evans would have wanted me to.