The decade's most triggering comedy
See if this story sounds familiar. A charismatic populist runs for president. He promises to end corruption, close tax loopholes for the rich, and prioritize his own people over foreign interests. Contrary to all expectations, this insurgent candidate performs well in the election. That terrifies the establishment, so they pursue a series of criminal charges against him. First, they accuse him of rape. Then, when he’s acquitted, they charge him again — this time, with the crime of “fomenting an insurrection.” They say he led an illegal “freedom caravan” to a protest in the capital. Mass demonstrations break out because people recognize what’s happening: The government prosecutors who are claiming to fight “election interference” are in fact the ones engaging in it. It’s what banana republics do. They jail their opponents when they can’t beat them.
The situation I just described is unfolding right now in the West African nation of Senegal. The government in that country is eager to throw an opposition leader, someone named Ousmane Sonko, in prison. He organized a mass protest in Senegal’s capital of Dakar, but it was quickly shut down, and now the government is seeking to disqualify him from office by bombarding him with criminal charges. If you read press reports, you’ll find that most of the Western media claims to be disturbed by all this. “Senegal authorities arrest opposition frontrunner,” reported the Guardian. Human Rights Watch called the developments an “assault on democracy ahead of elections.” NPR complained, “In Senegal, the government is cracking down on human rights.” They’re doing that, NPR explained, by criminalizing political dissent, which NPR insists is a very bad thing to do.
Do they really believe that? Does anyone in the media or any of these NGO’s really believe that?
Let’s see. As you’ve heard by now, yesterday, the DOJ again indicted the leading political opponent of the conspicuously wealthy career politician who runs the DOJ, Joe Biden. This is the third indictment that’s been brought against Donald Trump this year, and the second that’s been brought by Joe Biden’s DOJ. And yet, curiously enough, of the human rights defenders in the media — none of those reporters who wept for Senegal — were concerned by this latest development. In fact, they celebrated it. “Trump charged with 4 felony counts for attempt to overturn the 2020 election,” wrote NPR. You can imagine the gloating on at MSNBC. We’ll spare you.
So, Senegal can’t arrest its opposition leaders, but Joe Biden can. Why is that? That’s an important question. In fact, it may be the only question that matters. The media’s justification for these indictments is that Donald Trump is just a really bad guy. He’s so evil, so dangerous, and so orange that he must be kept out of office at all costs — even if it means the total destruction of those “democratic norms” that the Left once pretended to care about.
If all those claims about Trump were true, you’d think the indictment against Donald Trump would be convincing, thorough, and unimpeachable. You’d expect that the indictment would be premised on a reasonable application of a law, with airtight precedent backing it up. But that’s not what we have here. What we have is somehow even flimsier than the indictment out of New York — the one that accused Trump of committing multiple felonies because his accountants made a bookkeeping error seven years ago.
Essentially, the latest indictment from Joe Biden’s DOJ accuses Donald Trump of lying about election fraud — which isn’t illegal, as the indictment itself admits. The document goes on to say that Donald Trump didn’t really believe the election was stolen, because other officials told him it wasn’t stolen, so therefore he must be lying.
The indictment then suggests that Trump somehow broke the law by using various levers of government power to contest the election results, on the advice of his attorneys. This “legal theory” — if you can call it that — criminalizes political speech. There’s no way around that. It justifies locking up Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi for lying about Russian collusion for four years, and pursuing investigations and impeachments based on their fraud. It justifies imprisoning every Democratic Party lawmaker — and there have been a lot of them — who ever objected to the certification of election results. It justifies throwing all those Democrats in jail who tried to seat alternative slates of electors both times George W. Bush took office. It justifies imprisoning Stacey Abrams, who still pretends to the rightful governor of Georgia.
But the really incredible thing about this indictment is that it justifies jailing Trump — even if you concede he was right about election fraud in the 2020 election. The premise of all of the charges against Trump is that it’s illegal for the president to reject the electors that are submitted to Congress, under any circumstances. So the DOJ isn’t just objecting to Donald Trump’s claims about the voting machines. They’re not just denying his argument that, with COVID as a pretense, Democrats perverted the entire system of elections in this country, to such a degree that Joe Biden — a senile old man who campaigned from his basement — somehow received 10 million more votes than Barack Obama. The DOJ is saying that, even if Donald Trump was right about everything, and the 2020 election was rigged, then he still has no right, as president, to do anything about it. Which is pretty shocking, or at least it would be if we weren’t already so used to this level of corruption.
That might be why, in announcing the charges, the special counsel, Jack Smith, didn’t talk about the specifics of his indictment at all. Instead he talked about all the brave officers at the Capitol on January 6th, even though Trump isn’t accused, in any way, of causing those officers harm, or of inciting violence against them:
Jack Smith @TheJusticeDept press conference announcing the #indictment of Donald Trump for 2020 Election Fraud claims.#TruthMatters#Accountability#2020Election #DemocracyDefender pic.twitter.com/6G5xEIbACF
— The Union California (@JoinTheUnionCA) August 1, 2023
What are we watching here? Three things. First, we have once again the grotesque charade of Democrats pretending to care about the well being of police officers. These are the same people who cheered as rabid mobs bashed cops over the head with bricks and set police stations on fire. For another thing, this is an awfully convenient political distraction for the government. Just a day before Trump was indicted, a business partner of Hunter Biden testified that Joe Biden was on the phone with Hunter while his son was peddling his father’s influence, while he was vice president. And the defense from the Biden team and the Democratic Party is that Joe Biden was just on the calls to talk about the weather. Which, as we discussed yesterday, wouldn’t absolve Joe Biden of the influence-peddling accusation even if it were true that he only talked about the weather. This is how influence-peddling works. It doesn’t matter what Joe Biden says to Hunter Biden’s business associates. The point is to make the connection.
The major networks and newspapers barely covered that story. And they didn’t need to, because the very next day, it was all out of the news cycle entirely because of this new indictment.
We’ve seen this pattern play out before. Earlier this summer, Congress received whistleblower documents from the FBI alleging that the Bidens took a multi-million-dollar bribe from that Ukrainian oil company that was paying Hunter Biden. Shortly afterwards, Jack Smith indicted Trump for storing “classified documents” in his home — the same thing that Mike Pence and Joe Biden have admitted to doing.
Then, on July 26th, Hunter Biden’s plea deal blew up in court, after the judge noticed that no plea deal of its kind had ever been agreed to in the history of the United States. That was embarrassing to the DOJ and to the Bidens. The very next day, on July 27th, Jack Smith charged Donald Trump with more crimes. He even charged Trump’s maintenance guy at Mar-a-Lago.
You can choose to believe these are all coincidences. What you can’t deny is that what we’re seeing has implications that will long outlive Donald Trump and his political career. We are witnessing the criminalization of all political dissent, for all Americans, no matter how powerful or well-off they may be — or may not be.
Consider that one of the federal statutes that the DOJ now accuses Donald Trump of violating, 18 U.S.C. 241, is the very same law that was used to throw Douglass Mackey in prison. 18 U.S.C. 241 is the law that prohibits people from engaging in a conspiracy against the rights of Americans. Specifically, the statute makes it illegal for, “two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person” so that they can’t exercise their constitutional rights. The point of that law, when it was originally passed in the 19th century, was to prevent the KKK (and state officials) from interfering with the right of black Americans to vote.
What did Douglass Mackey do to violate 18 U.S.C. 241, all these years later? He posted some memes on social media that made fun of Hillary Clinton voters. One of his memes told his followers to text a fake number to vote, instead of showing up to the polls. It was an obvious joke. At least one major Left-wing account, run by a woman named Kristina Wong, created a similar meme mocking Trump supporters. “Hey, Trump supporters,” she wrote. “Skip poll lines and text in your vote.”
Kristina Wong was never charged because she has the right politics. Douglass Mackey was charged, though and unlike Donald Trump, Douglass Mackey is not wealthy. He wasn’t famous. He had just 58,000 Twitter followers when the FBI decided to arrest him. He’s facing 10 years in prison, after a scam prosecution. The prosecution withheld evidence to make sure the jury convicted Mackey, including information about the key witness in the case. In the end they got what they wanted, which was a conviction that sent a message to every conservative in this country. And that message is simple: Cause enough of a problem for us, and you go to prison, whether you’re Donald Trump or a guy with 58,000 Twitter followers.
That’s also why Mark Houck faced a decade in jail, after Joe Biden’s DOJ raided his home with a 25-member SWAT team. What was Mark Houck’s crime? Why did he deserve to have rifles pointed in his face, in front of his kids? He pushed a worker outside an abortion clinic who was harassing and endangering his 12-year-old son. No state or local prosecutor would take the case. But Joe Biden’s DOJ pursued it, as though Mark Houck had personally set the abortion clinic on fire. Meanwhile, some pro-life pregnancy centers actually did get firebombed. But Joe Biden’s DOJ did nothing about that. In one case, last summer, the CompassCare Pregnancy Services Center in Buffalo was torched. The FBI responded to that blaze by seizing surveillance footage from the center, and refusing to return it for six months.
This was all happening, right out in the open, a long time before Donald Trump’s third indictment yesterday. And there were many more examples. Republicans watched as Joe Biden purged the military of wrong-think. They did nothing as he sent grandmothers with cancer to prison for the crime of walking around the Capitol building. They went on TV for meaningless 3-minute hits as the FBI rounded up Donald Trump’s aides, one by one, in parking lots and fast food drive-thrus.
Try asking someone from Senegal when, precisely, their democracy failed. Ask them when exactly their system of “representative government” became a global laughingstock. You could pose the same question to someone from say, Venezuela, or any number of countries that have devolved into tinpot dictatorships in just a few years. Odds are you’ll never get a precise answer. There will be no singular prosecution that they’ll point to. Instead they’ll point to systemic failures like complacency, corruption, and incompetence from people who were supposed to keep their system of government intact.
Where have we seen that lately? Just a few days ago, the 81-year-old leader of the Republican Party in the Senate was incapable of finishing a press conference. He just began staring blankly ahead, for reasons that remain unexplained. That’s the state of the opposition that Joe Biden faces right now. Biden, who is practically catatonic. His opposition, somehow, is even more useless. He and his handlers know it. And they’re taking full advantage of the opportunity. If all they get in return are more harshly worded letters from Republican lawmakers, then pretty soon, we won’t have to ask Venezuelans, or people from Senegal, how it’s possible for a democracy to fail so quickly. We’ll know the answer firsthand.