So the Democrats decided to indict Donald Trump after all. (I assume that Alvin Bragg would not have proceeded without a green light from higher-ups in the party.) Here, as in so many other areas, we are in uncharted waters. The Democrats have launched a sort of blitzkrieg against our traditions, our Constitution, our culture (at least, our culture as it was), and every form of restraint that makes civil society possible. They have unleashed a wind, and seem serenely confident that they will never face a whirlwind. I don’t know, maybe they are right. I do know that after today, our country will never be the same again.
In the short term, the indictment will help Donald Trump politically. Perhaps that was the Democrats’ intention. But I don’t think any of us can foresee how it will play out. Legally speaking, the indictment is a joke. No doubt Trump will try to have it dismissed, but I don’t know enough about criminal procedure in New York to have any idea how long that will take, or what his prospects of success are. Bear in mind that any motion to dismiss will most likely be heard by a Trump-hating Democratic judge. If the case makes it to trial, it will go before a New York jury that probably will consist entirely of Democrats and–once again–Trump haters. There is no way a conviction can be ruled out. Appeals would follow, likely taking a year or more.
No doubt Trump will get a political bump in the short term, but what if the case is still going on when the primary season begins? Will Republican primary voters really want to nominate a candidate who is in the midst of a criminal proceeding that theoretically could send him to jail? I don’t know.
But I do know that today is an evil day in America’s history. The Democrats are behaving like a party from a pre-Enlightenment, pre-constitutional era. Seeing themselves in the driver’s seat, they are making a naked grab for totalitarian power across a broad range of issues and institutions. Indicting a former president on frivolous grounds is shocking, but it is of a piece with the strategies Democrats are following in Washington and across the country.