The left and establishment Republicans would like you to believe that the alleged criminality of Mr. Trump’s actions brought about this history-making conflict, but in truth, the fever pitch of our national politics has led us to this unprecedented place.
In his book “The Right: The Hundred-Year War for American Conservatism,” Matthew Continetti sketches the challenges that gave rise to the American conservative political movement and the intellectual wars for control of the conservative movement and, ultimately, the Republican Party.
It began with the 2000 presidential election. “What happened in Florida set the tone for the next several decades of American politics,” Mr. Continetti says.
Conservatives viewed the Florida recount ordered by Democratic candidate and then-Vice President Al Gore as “an attempt by Gore and the Democrat-appointed judges on the Florida Supreme Court to override an election.”
The 2000 election revealed a “closely divided nation whose opposing factions viewed each other as not just mistaken but illegitimate,” he says, and “the echoes of 2000 continue to reverberate.”
At the time, Democrats disparaged then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush’s win, claiming that he was “selected, not elected,” referring to the Supreme Court decision to stop an unlawful Florida recount.
The Democrats had sowed the ground with constant public questioning of our election process.
Flash forward to 2016, when the presumptively “inevitable” first female U.S. president, Hillary Clinton, viewed her defeat as a sign that the election process must be damaged.
Rather than looking inside herself and confessing her own role in falsely accusing Mr. Trump of being a Russian asset, she and her campaign engaged in a coordinated (one might say racketeer-influenced) effort to deny Mr. Trump the presidency and, once he was elected, to hobble his administration based on fabricated smears of Russian collusion.
Her media allies picked up the fabrications and ran with them, resulting in a wasteful special counsel investigation by Robert Mueller and scores of government lawyers who, after spending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, proved none of the allegations.
You would think Mrs. Clinton might have gained some humility from her brush with legal jeopardy for potential criminal charges over her mistreatment of classified information. If so, that might have prevented her from participating in the brazenly dirty trick of targeting her political opponent.
Instead, the “get out of jail free card” that Mrs. Clinton received in July 2016 from then-FBI Director James Comey offered her the consequence-free outcome to which she has become accustomed in her decades of public life, merely emboldening her.
Having accused Mr. Trump of “breaking norms” and of attempting to use the power of the federal government to pursue his political opponents, one might expect the Democratic-controlled organs of federal and state government to think twice before breaking norms and using the power of the federal government to pursue a political opponent.
The charges against Mr. Trump have been brought this year, just as the 2024 presidential election season heats up, for the simple reason that Mr. Trump is the leading candidate for the Republican nomination.
All of the indictments rely on novel legal arguments and tenuous theories under open-ended statutes in an effort to kneecap the GOP presidential front-runner.
So why aren’t Republicans rallying around Mr. Trump and his co-defendants?
Mr. Continetti supplies the answer. The political struggle exists not only between Democrats and Republicans but also between conservatives and nonconservatives in the Republican Party.
If leading Republicans together renounced the weaponization of government for political ends, the American people would more readily see what the indictments really are: Projection by Democrats of their own wrongdoing in the guise of democracy and under the color of law.
Corporate media headlines blare on about “election lies,” “election interference,” “racketeering” and the like. And the projection continues as indictments by Democrat prosecutors in Democrat jurisdictions seek to interfere in the 2024 election cycle that is underway.
Right on cue, perennial leftist hack John Dean tells us that the indictments are “bigger than Watergate.” Mr. Dean, of course, has immediate newsworthiness every time a liberal journalist needs proof that the story du jour is “bigger than Watergate.” (If ever Mr. Dean finds a story that is not bigger than Watergate, that would actually be news.)
In this case, Mr. Dean has reached the right conclusion, but his reasoning is flipped. These “bigger than Watergate” indictments implicate not Mr. Trump but the Democratic-controlled organs of government.
Remove Mr. Trump’s all-caps personality and no-holds-barred counterpunching, and you can see this for what it really is: political warfare calculated to deny the Republican front-runner a nomination and, failing that, to deny him victory in the general election.
If that isn’t coordinated election interference, then nothing is.
• Gayle Trotter is an attorney and political analyst based in Washington. Follow her on X, formerly Twitter, @gayletrotter.