Scott Tibbs

Trump is always the center of the political universe

By Scott Tibbs, March 27, 2023

The flimsy and politically-motivated prosecution of Donald Trump for alleged "hush money" payments has put him right back into the center of the Republican Party and politics in general. Trump and his supporters successfully forced Ron DeSantis to become the captain of the Kobiyashi Maru when they started demanding DeSantis "speak out" against the prosecution of Trump for the Stormy Daniels "hush money" scandal.

No matter what choice DeSantis made, he was going to be portrayed as "weak." If he denounces the prosecution, then he is just another Republican orbiting Trump and doing Trump's bidding. If DeSantis is in that category, why vote for the imitation when you can have the real deal? If he decides not to say anything, Trump's loyalists become angry and DeSantis is portrayed as "weak" for not standing up against the weaponization of government and the politicization of law enforcement.

As far as DeSantis being "weak" or unwilling to "fight the Left," that is simply not accurate. This is a man who has ran directly into political fire for several years now. DeSantis raised the ire of the Left and Hollywood by protecting parents' rights in education, falsely accused of criminalizing any discussion of homosexuality. DeSantis fired a rogue prosecutor who pledged not to enforce Florida's abortion ban. DeSantis even took on political and cultural juggernaut Disney and made them blink. Let's not forget that Donald Trump joined with the Democrats who were demonizing DeSantis for opening Florida earlier than other states after the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Political analysis aside, this prosecution has always been absurd. The basis of the charge was that Trump paid off a porn actress to hide his adultery, and then did not properly report the expense to the Federal Election Commission. But this is an intent crime: If Trump can argue there were other reasons for the payment, such as not hurting or embarrassing his wife, then the charge falls apart. To continue to pursue this is absurd, and shows how the corrupt district attorney is only interested in "getting" Trump. The Orange Man is very Bad, after all.

Some Trump critics would argue that Trump got away with other things, so pursuing this is justice. No, it is not. If we tell prosecutors they can weaponize their office because the target "got away with other things," we have obliterated the rule of law. Each case can only be prosecuted on its own merits, not based on some sort of vendetta or "karma." Leftists, who have (correctly) called for criminal justice reform, ought to be the most vigorously opposed to this abuse, but they are consumed with hatred for Trump.

If the 2024 primary becomes a test of loyalty to Donald Trump, then Trump will win in a walk. Nobody is or can be more loyal to Trump than Trump himself. If the 2024 primary is about electability and policy accomplishments, DeSantis has a much stronger chance. As of right now, however, it is still Trump's race to lose. For all of his vindictiveness, childishness and lack of discipline, Trump's greatest strength has always been his enemies making unforced errors in their fury. This falls into that category. Can Trump be disciplined enough to use this to his advantage, and will it matter at all in nine months when people start voting? We shall see.

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