The state of the race

The convictions should have made a difference. But did they?

I was more troubled by what came out at Donald Trump's trial than I thought I would be. I had initially thought that the district attorney's case was much ado about not much. But the trial changed my mind. It was not much ado about not much. It was about rigging the election by misinformation and squelching coverage of things people had a right to know about.

Trump falsified business records for the same reason he made the deal with David Pecker and the National Enquirer to kill the Karen McDougal story — so that people, in this case women voters, wouldn't know the truth about him. A crime or politics as usual? All the while chanting, “Lock her up.”

Does it qualify as a felony or just outright character flaws that go to the core of who he is? His narcissism, his vulgarity, his whole character — it offends me to the core. He has successfully manipulated the system, with the help of the Supreme Court, to avoid responsibility, and he seems on the verge of getting away with it.

I have no sympathy for Hunter Biden. With power and position come responsibility and accountability. When I did politics, I used to always sit down with spouses and kids and tell them they would be held to a higher standard. He was the son of the vice president and president. He shouldn't have been out there buying a gun. Of course, no one else gets prosecuted for lying on the form and keeping a gun for 11 days. But that comes with the territory. As does a prosecution for falsifying business records.

Joe Biden handled it with grace and dignity — two character values that Trump doesn't have at all. He made clear that he loves his son but that he would not use the power of the presidency for personal reasons. He accepted the verdict. He will not use his right to pardon his son. He stood by the rule of law.

Trump has made clear that he intends to seek retribution for personal attacks if he returns to power. He lacks the character to be president. I would never have said that about Ronald Reagan or either of the Bushes or John McCain or Mitt Romney. The man should not be president. But I fear he will be and will tear the nation apart with his hatefulness.

I taped an episode of my podcast, “No Holding Back,” this week with Dick Morris, the well-known commentator, author and longtime political strategist. I've known him for years. He is many things — tough as nails, sometimes mean-spirited, but usually very smart. He's been wrong before (he predicted Romney would beat Barack Obama in a landslide) but not that often. He thinks the election is already over, that Trump is ahead in all the swing states by more than the margin of error, and that the polls showing him running neck-and-neck with Biden are overcounting the number of Democrats in the sample. I'm worried.

Biden's approval ratings are awful. I worry that the Biden people are living in a bubble, that we all are — that they cannot believe that working-class people will support Trump, and they will; that young people won't come out for him; that the electorate is too polarized and the center won't hold. I wish one of the parties was running a broadly acceptable candidate, but I just don't see Biden ever withdrawing.

I think the debate next week is, potentially, a turning point. Will Trump rant and rave? Will Biden trip and fall? Will it shake up the race any more than the convictions on 34 counts did? Who will emerge as the riskier choice?

Or will it simply reinforce the partisan divide, tearing us apart even further than we already are?

© 2024, Creators

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