What's Tony Thinking

Finally . . . But Not Final


Finally, Donald Trump has been held to account. For so long, it has seemed that no matter what he did or said, it didn’t matter. There were no consequences. No downsides.

“Character Counts!” Well, forget that. Now, it’s all on “The Deep State” and a “weaponized justice system.”

Trump’s lead attorney, Todd Blanche, tried to stick the acronym, G.L.O.A.T., “Greatest Liar of All Time,” on Trump’s one-time fixer, Michael Cohen. But the real GLOAT was sitting right beside Blanche. Will the real GLOAT please stand up? Or would the real GLOAT get away once again?

Not this time.

So, “finally.”

And yet, even as I breathe a sigh of relief and say “finally,” there’s nothing final about it. First off, this is actually but one more in a string of defeats that began in 2016 when Trump lost the popular vote. In 2020 he lost both the popular vote and the electoral college vote. He then lost 60-some court cases in which he alleged voter fraud.

He kept losing in 2022, when his hand-picked candidates — all swearing fealty to the “Stop the Steal” campaign — were defeated. And he has lost two civil court cases. One in which he was found guilty of sexual assault and another in which he was found guilty of lying about the value of assets for loan and tax purposes.

What’s different about this one? Well, it was a criminal, not a civil, trial. And it was a jury of twelve Americans who found Trump guilty. And on every count. I, for one, didn’t expect that.

Which brings us to the second sense in which there’s nothing final about this verdict. It will not be the end of Trump. We will not be allowed any respite from his ubiquity and noxiousness. If there’s one thing that the string of previous “defeats” has taught us, it is that none of the things that spell disaster for other mere mortals have this effect on Trump.

“Finally,” yes; “final,” no.

I think what we know from Trump’s track record of defeats and malfeasance is that this will have no decisive meaning for him politically. He will do what he does. That is, he will do all in his power to attack and to blame others. He will portray himself as an innocent victim. He is the King of Grievance. It is always someone else’s fault.

Will people continue to buy that? Yes, many will. It seems that minds have been made up long ago about Donald Trump. Loyalties have been declared, rationalizations served up, and now outrage, whether faux or real, expressed by his minions right on schedule.

So I, for one, don’t expect this verdict will bring about any big changes in the political landscape or our national debate. Our fever is not yet broken.

That said, it does seem to me significant that this verdict is “guilty” (on 34 counts) and that it came from a jury. The word “guilty” was repeated 34 times. Not all the denials and counter-attacks that will follow, can erase that repeated word.

And the jury. If even one of the twelve had disagreed with the majority that would have been enough to get the whole thing thrown out. But they were unanimous. Twelve ordinary citizens doing their civic duty found Trump guilty. Not the Democrats, not Adam Shiff, not Rachel Madow,  not the New York Times or Washington Post, not a panel of legal experts.

Twelve ordinary American citizens. On, coincidentally, the actual or original “Memorial Day,” May 30. The day when we remember the ordinary citizens who have served and sacrificed for this republic, people as nameless as we hope the members of this jury remain.

Of course, the case will be appealed. Trump may even win on appeal. But for now 12 American citizens — may God protect them — have said, “No.” No one is above the law. In the end, they — we — are our best hope.





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