So a Democratic Party operative has once again indicted Donald Trump on transparently foolish grounds. The result of the Democrats’ seeming obsession with Trump is that he continues to dominate headlines and suck up oxygen nearly three years after he lost the presidential race in 2020. This is truly extraordinary.
Did Jimmy Carter dominate headlines in 1983, years after he was thrashed by Ronald Reagan? Was Walter Mondale a fixture in the press in 1987, after being clobbered by Reagan in 1984? Were the papers full of commentary on Michael Dukakis in 1991, three years after he was obliterated by George H.W. Bush? How about John McCain and Mitt Romney? Did the conventional (liberal) press obsess over their every move years after they lost their presidential bids?
No. We are seeing something unprecedented. A presidential loser has been elevated to the front rank by a combination of Democratic Party apparatchiks like Alvin Bragg and Jack Smith and Democratic Party newspapers like the New York Times and the Washington Post–and, to be fair, pretty much all the others, along with the Associated Press. These outlets delight in putting Trump on their front pages, in tall headlines, whenever he is indicted or otherwise makes “news.”
Why? Why is Trump being treated so differently from all other losing presidential nominees? Is it because the Democrats are afraid of him, as some Republicans like to say? It doesn’t seem so. The Democrats are not so stupid that they don’t understand that the more they attack Trump, the more Republicans rally around him. Indeed, that seems to be the point: the Democrats are keeping Trump in the forefront, and they use him as an excuse not to cover the serious Republican candidates: Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, Nikki Haley and the others.
Unless you think the Democrats are too dumb to foresee the obvious consequences of their actions, their strategy is evident: keep Trump in the limelight, freeze the other Republican candidates out of news coverage, do everything they can to make Trump the Republican nominee, and then crush him in the general election.
When is the last time a presidential nominee lost his race, then was re-nominated and came back to win? I believe the only such instance is Grover Cleveland. Others–William Jennings Bryan, Adlai Stevenson–have failed. I think the Democrats are happy to take their chances on a Cleveland-like resurrection and run against Donald Trump.
The chief advantage of running against Trump is that the failures of the Biden administration, which are both legion and catastrophic, will be almost irrelevant, because Biden will not be the Democrats’ nominee. They will run a fresh face, most likely Gavin Newsom but perhaps someone else, against the retread Trump. The election, on that scenario, will be a referendum on Trump, and Trump will not come close. It will be a Democratic sweep, a remarkable achievement following one of the most pitiful administrations in American history.
That, I think, is the Democrats’ plan. Keep Trump in the headlines of friendly newspapers, indict him, attack him. Make him the central issue in the 2024 campaign. And then reap a victory that is entirely foreordained, since Trump lost in 2020 and can’t possibly win in 2024.
In my opinion, many leading Democrats are evil. But let’s be fair: they didn’t take control over virtually every American institution by being stupid. When it comes to politics, they know what they are doing. And what they are doing is trying to make Donald Trump the Republicans’ sacrificial lamb in 2024. That said, I can’t explain why Republicans would want to go along with the Democrats’ plan.