Donald Trump was summoned to the capital on Thursday to face historic charges. Many people are likely under the impression that he is accused of inciting the January 6 riot, but this is not the case. The word “insurrection” appears nowhere in the indictment, a striking omission after three years of breathless hysteria about an “attempted coup.” Instead, Trump is being prosecuted for highly abstract political offenses. Jack Smith tips his hand at the top of the charging sheet, where he blames Trump for creating illegal “mistrust” in the process and giving his supporters “false hope” (this not being the first time Trump created “unsubstantiated hope”) that he would remain in power after the 2020 election.
Trump is being punished for refusing to recant his belief, a reasonable one, that the political process was fatally corrupted in 2020 and that Biden, consequently, is illegitimate. The indictment is a shot across the bow at anyone who shares Trump’s “false” unbelief in “our democracy.” Of course, when “our democracy” was perverted from its natural end, as it was during the Trump interregnum, the rules shifted dramatically. Back then, it was courageous to call the president a traitor and a usurper; it was “resistance” rather than “coup.”
In 2020, Democrats censored a major scandal about Biden and imposed sweeping administrative changes that resulted in an abnormally messy, delayed, and opaque vote count. But it’s Trump who caused “mistrust.”
Now, Democrats say it’s crazy to speculate that there is anything political about the prosecution of a presidential candidate in an upcoming national election. Come on, do you really think Jack Smith would arrest the chief political enemy of his boss if he didn’t have a good reason? Hold on a moment: his boss? Jack Smith is independent! He doesn’t work for Joe Biden. Stop spreading lies. He works for….well, who exactly?
The Trump indictment is politics at its purest. Machiavelli would have no trouble understanding it. But Democrats would have everyone believe the “rule of law” magically enforces itself. In the pollyannaish world of “our democracy,” the corrupt motives that have driven political elites throughout history to faction, intrigue, conspiracy, assassination, slander, bribery, and the like do not exist. There are two kinds of people: the good guys, people like Jack Smith, and the bad guys, like Trump.
It is easy to see why tyrants find this childish, facile reality appealing: it turns political will into law. In this imaginary world where “no one is above the law,” it’s incomprehensible that Biden is targeting his political enemy, because Trump is the bad guy, and anything bad that happens to him, or his supporters, must be the impartial administration of justice. If it seems like things aren’t quite fair, and the only ones being held “accountable” belong to one political party, that’s just a coincidence, or rather, a consequence of natural law.
Among Democrats, Smith is an archangel sent from above, like Robert Mueller before him, to slay the Orange devil and finally end the unwelcome convulsions he brings to the established order. Of course, Smith not actually being a supernatural being, it is more likely that he is what he appears to be to the adults: a dirty Star Chamber prosecutor dispatched to do the bidding of his masters. Like his predecessors, he is a jaundiced character with the capability to see a conspiracy wherever needed. One imagines he would charge the sun if he could, as it shines its kind beams on Mar-A-Lago, too.
It is perfectly logical that Democrats, being in power, should want to deny the people the right to think of politics as political. But when speculation about the conspiracies of elites in the capital is no longer permitted (and why speculate, when the rulers are so benevolent?), there is no longer self-rule. Smith enters the halls of infamy with the extraordinary imprudence, arrogance, and pettiness of his enterprise, at once historic and incredibly stupid, which would destroy the Lockean basis of the United States, the consent of the governed, and replace it with a more primitive kind of authority. In most times and places, people have been ruled by despots. Trump is now all that remains standing in their way.