Contributed by Joe Montero
Donald Trump has finally been arrested and charged with criminal offenses and faces 37 counts of having committed federal crimes. This is over the theft of sensitive classified documents. Not surprisingly, Trump protests his innocence.
“We most certainly enter a plea of not guilty,” his lawyer said in the Miami court.
The defence rests on a counter accusation of victimisation. Trump alleges that he is the victim of a conspiracy hatched by the deep state, because he is popular, really won the last presidential election, and will win the one in 2024 easily. The implication of these allegations is that the deep state wants to stop him.
It’s not as crazy as some would have it. In a nation where the faith in the political system and those who represent it has plummeted, Trump’s words strike a chord. This is something that many of his critics with a voice to be heard conveniently ignore or fail to understand.
Photo from AP: Donald Trump in Miami
Trump’s strategy is clever, and it might just propel him into the White house once again.
Another mistake made by many of his critics is the illusion that American law is the defender of justice and applies. Tell this to poor and non-white Americans. The yare the one’s who feel the rough end of a justice system weighted against them.
Civil rights lawyer Alec Karakatsanis observed in an astringent Yale Law Journal piece a few years ago, that the US’s brutal “punishment bureaucracy” unfairly disadvantages poor people and people of colour – throwing them in prison for minor offenses and making a mockery of the idealistic idea that our criminal justice system is objective.
Donald Trump is in a good position to manipulate this. He has the privileges and the means to turn the law to his advantage, with his army of lawyers, deep pockets to buy justice, judges he appointed, control over the Republican Party, a cult following, and the political power that comes from being the public face of a powerful faction of Wall Street and the political elite he claims to against.
Whether Trump is really guilty or not, the case is political in nature. More so when it is a Democrat administration versus the Republicans. Trump can take advantage of the lacklustre performance of President Joe Biden and the failure to deliver on a host of promises.
This is a time of growing political polarisation brought about a falling standard of living for many, while a few do extremely well. Trump pretends to represent this part of the nation. He doesn’t. neither do his Democrat rivals around the Joe Biden campaign. Theirs is not a battle for democracy. This is a battle over which faction of Wall Street, and the political elite is going to be dominant.
Here lies the danger. In the absence of a truly genuine alternative, one that will bring about the scale of change needed, the field is ripe for a demagogue promising to bring about this change.
If he succeeds in wining the presidency in 2024, the united sates and the rest of the world will pay the price. The nation is likely to shift that much closer to an open dictatorship of the Trump faction. This will not solve the problems faced by most Americans. It will make them worse.
Other nations face will face the hard question of how to respond to an ever more brutal regime. Will there still be any way for Australia, for instance, to keep on rationalising staying in the orbit of this power? Is Australia going to follow down the same dark tunnel or achieve some real independence?
Trump’s legal battle in Miami is important. Mostly because it will help to shape the future. If he wins, it will be well place to win next year. If he loses, he will be cast as the martyr, and this will be used to rally the troops with new enthusiasm and determination. He wins either way.
There is only one antidote. This is to build a real alternative he economic and social issues crying for answers. This isn’t going to come from the political elite. It can only come by communities organising and mobilising themselves to make change a reality. There are those who are trying to plant the seeds for this to happen, and they deserve whatever support the world can give them. This is the real battle for democracy. Once which goes much further than which faction of the ruling class will continue to misrepresent the people.