And The Lawyers Shall Lead Them
I can’t get too angry at former president Trump. He’s pretty straightforward about the horrible things he’d like to do to American democracy. Despite telling over 30,000 lies or misleading statements over his four-year term, he sometimes doesn’t just telegraph his intentions, he hits us between the eyes with them.
“I am your retribution,” he said in a speech in March 2023, enunciating his theme for a second term. He made the comment as part of a messianic riff where he suggests his actions are motivated not by his malignant narcissism, but by his love for his followers. The larger context for the quote is:
“In 2016, I declared: I am your voice. Today, I add: I am your warrior. I am your justice…And for those who have been wronged and betrayed, I am your retribution.”
“Wronged and betrayed” are the operative words here. And they apply to Trump supporters but mainly to Trump himself. Both he and his supporters were “wronged and betrayed” by his being denied a second term. Both he and his supporters mostly know he lost, but admitting to that fact punctures the facade of Trump’s greatness and that’s something beyond the capacity of their psyches to handle. For his supporters, it’s admitting to the con while to Trump it would destroy his self-concept.
Maintaining a slavish devotion to the delusion of a stolen election is a psychological balm on a wound they know exists but assiduously ignore.
It starts with the lawyers
The keys to the retribution agenda are the lawyers. Having the right lawyers in key positions in the “accountability mechanisms” of government will give the veneer of legitimacy to Trump vendettas in a second term. Accountability mechanisms are public and private institutions that play a role in checking government (especially presidential) power. These include the Department of Justice, the Inspectors General and other legal counsel of government agencies, the news media, and finally, the courts.
The New York Times published an article on November 1st laying out research already underway in the Trump camp to find the right kind of lawyers for the task. According to the article, despite many lawyers in these key…