Trump Blackmails DeSantis and Herschel Walker Run-Off Is About the Voters
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I’ve been thinking a lot about forgiveness lately, maybe because after every major election day I like to believe, perhaps foolishly, that we can stand back from the animosity of our political battles to forge a path together. That starts with forgiving others we think have wronged us—and forgiving ourselves when we realize maybe we were wrong.
I see people constantly saying, “I forgive but I don’t forget,” which they think makes them both moral and tough. Actually, they are neither. The phrase means the exact opposite of forgiving. To forgive is to forget the transgression in order to start fresh. Hanging on to grudges doesn’t reflect true forgiveness, just lip-service. Yes, we must remember the past in order not to repeat our mistakes, but forgiveness is not about being on a higher moral ground, it’s acknowledging that we all want the same basic things: freedom that doesn’t impinge on others’ freedom, a better future for our children, a safe place to pursue our passions.
The elections made clear that voters aren’t ready for the restrictive social agenda of some Republicans or those who would question the validity of our elections. Let that be a starting point for us to move forward.
I’m not saying that we abandon our principles or compromise our beliefs, but rather that we start with a clean slate and try to persuade each other through facts and logic, not lies and manipulation. Let’s assume our political foes are just people stranded on the side of the road and we can choose to help them, or drive on muttering that it’s their own damn fault.
Politics: How Is This Not an Arrestable Crime?
Donald Trump Threatens to Expose Dirt on Ron DeSantis (The Daily Beast)
Summary: Trump tried to head off any competition for the GOP’s presidential nomination by warning Florida governor Ron DeSantis to stay out of the race. “If he did run, I will tell you things about him that won’t be very flattering,” Trump said of DeSantis. “I know more about him than anybody other than perhaps his wife, who is really running his campaign.”
My Take: Let’s start with the crime of extortion. Private citizen Trump threatens a sitting governor with revealing dirt in exchange for services rendered: not running. It may not be cash, but bullying DeSantis not to run is worth millions in political ads. How is this not blackmail? If you’re tempted to say, “That’s just politics,” then you’re enabling this kind of behavior.
It’s criminal corruption and should be punished every time we uncover it. Trump gets a pass for his illegal act yet a woman who voted in Texas not knowing she was ineligible, was sentenced to five years in prison. Did I mention she was Black? Did I even have to?
You also have to wonder why, if he has dirt on DeSantis, he doesn’t share it out of concern for the public. Don’t the voters of Florida deserve to know everything relevant about their governor?
Finally, clearly Trump thinks it’s some kind of insult to claim DeSantis’ wife is running his campaign. If it was true, it would make sense that he would trust the person closest to him. Trump’s insinuation, of course, is that DeSantis must be less of a man to let a woman have such power. (Although, he did blame his wife Melania for urging him to support Dr. Oz in his losing campaign for Senator from Pennsylvania. Mixed messages?) Trump’s wives were all arm-candy models which, to him, is the highest pinnacle a woman should strive for. For any woman to support Trump, a man who holds them all in such low esteem, is a shocking expression of self-loathing.
Just to keep score: He extorts a governor, insults women, and brags about withholding important information from voters. A true American hero.
[Kareem’s Note: None of this may matter in the long run, because after the elections last week, Trump has lost considerable power among conservatives who are marching on Mar-a-Lago with sharpened pitchforks and flaming torches (“Rupert Murdoch Knees Trump in the Balls While He’s Doubled Over Coughing Up Blood,” Vanity Fair). All his old pals at the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Fox News are referring to him as a toxic loser who must be thrown overboard from the Republican super yacht. It’s one thing to be a grifter exploiting and lying to people—that’s been the GOP playbook—but it’s unforgivable to not be successful at it.
Even his old buddy Piers Morgan has written Trump out of his will: “[L]ast night’s biggest loser was the permanently whining, fuming former president, and he has only himself to blame. Make no mistake, these results represent a crushing political smackdown for Trump…. If they want to win in 2024, it’s time the GOP dumped Trump the Grump.”
Of course, their abandoning Trump didn’t come when he was lying to the public about how dangerous COVID-19 was, or when he was accused of sexual assault by 26 women, or when he encouraged an armed attack on the government, or when he lied about voter fraud, or when he tried to commit voter fraud. None of that mattered to his Republican supporters.
Can Trump read the writing on the wall? Doubtful. He’s always been more interested in banning books than reading them.