The Oval Prison Cell

Real libertarians and anarchists are thrilled right now by the prospect that the two major-party presidential nominees next year might both end up campaigning from prison. That would be a fitting and morally educational spectacle.

Now, the milquetoast libertarian merely wants government to shrink, but the ones who really “get it” want government completely discredited, then eliminated. So-called libertarians who balk at that sort of talk—who are often found in high places because they’re essentially harmless—are barely distinguishable in spirit from the government flunkies with whom they eternally play-fight. They crave respectability and hew to a residual, fundamentally authoritarian hope that governing can be done with dignity.

Rather than fostering an air of dignity, the Democrats plainly intend to keep pushing Trump’s legally thorny Mar-a-Lago documents-storage issue as long as possible—though what they really want is to convict Trump of the specific, separate crime of “insurrection” because that’s the one crime conviction for which would explicitly constitutionally forbid him to become president again. Democrats will happily bend truth, history, and law to fend off that possibility, so their incentive is immense to keep revisiting J6 and make it sound more thoughtfully organized than it likely was.

The real irony in Trump’s legal baggage, though, is that the first of his two impeachments (both brought by the then-Democratic House, neither resulting in conviction in the then-Republican Senate) was for his audacious inquiry, urged by legal activist groups the world over, into Biden’s shady dealings in Ukraine, which are nonetheless now becoming increasingly clear to the world. No wonder the Democrats were panicked enough to impeach.

The name of Biden’s son Hunter’s business associates, Hunter’s laughably generous art buyers, and the Ukrainian energy company Burisma with which Hunter—and apparently Joe—worked are likely to echo in public discourse long after the public has forgotten the corrupt mainstream media’s feigned outrage over Trump making pushy phone calls on such topics or casting aspersions on Ukrainian-American government official Alexander Vindman.

Yet Trump’s phone call to Ukraine about Biden was painted as 2020 election interference by the Democrats, more than a few of whom likely know (as do many Republicans) how much of the world’s illicit business dealings pass through Ukraine. History may well record that the first impeachment of Trump was really a failed preemptive attempt to prevent the impeachment a few years later of Joe Biden.

The big strategic question each party is now asking is not how many ethical violations they’ll countenance but whether either party can get rid of its frontrunner in time to conjure up a replacement who can win the 2024 presidential election. This question determines not only what preparations are being made for intra-party primaries but how harsh network executives let their news divisions’ reporting on the parties’ respective scandals become.

It’s not obvious, from journalists’ utterly corrupt perspective, that they should be as hard as possible on Trump, for instance, since they may well fear that DeSantis or someone else could prove more palatable to voters, handing 2024 to the Republicans, and they don’t want that. Better to have Trump to kick around and give the late-night “comedians” fodder for another season of forced laughs.

It’s also not obvious, from the press’ corrupt perspective as brazen lackeys for the Democratic Party, that they should continue to soft-pedal the problems of the Biden crime family. After all, if the liberal establishment stands a better chance of retaining power by running someone other than Joe in the 2024 election, it’s best they get Joe out of the way as quickly as possible. Any investigation of what the law actually says about Biden energy-company cronyism or favor-seeking purchases of overpriced art is plainly secondary to the electoral odds-making.

Luckily for anarchically-inclined observers I mentioned earlier—and for America—the job of wrangling a strategically-optimal course of action out of either party may be too much to achieve. Just as the Republicans could plainly see in 2016 that they needed to rally behind a single non-Trump candidate in the primaries if they wanted to avoid having him as their candidate but were unable to get most of the others to drop out, Republican primary voters in 2024 are almost certain to hand Trump at least a plurality, if not necessarily a majority, of their votes, probably even if their man is in jail. Stints in jail didn’t keep Huey Long or Buddy Cianci out of politics.

As for the Democrats, much will hinge on how invested they become in defending the Bidens against criticism of their Burisma, art, and Chinese bribery dealings. If they get so cocky from a few months of lecturing the American public about how inconsequential all these legal issues are, properly understood, that they think they can extend those lectures right on through the general election, I’d guess they’ll do it.

If a few ambitious liberal lawyers and legal commentators decide that Biden criminality bothers them more than the prospect of scrambling to find Joe’s replacement in time for the election—or if they simply decide they are fascinated by the real, ugly details of Biden criminality and can’t resist the urge to educate the public on the topic—then Biden may be sunk. But how soon, the cynical strategists ask, with one eye on the calendar?

For the sake of far-future Americans, though, let’s hope Biden and Trump are soon marking their calendars by making little vertical scratches on the walls of their cells.

—Todd Seavey is the author of Libertarianism for Beginners and is on Twitter at @ToddSeavey

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