If the scuzzbuckets at CNN still want to go through with this Donald Trump town hall tomorrow after a trial jury found him liable for sexual battery today, let them. People in the political middle will tune in just to see Trump melt down, they’ll be reminded what a piece of trash he is, they’ll see how senile he’s become, and it’ll hasten his political downfall before we even get to his criminal trials.
Even if Trump’s people have negotiated with CNN to keep him from being asked about his legal troubles, you just know he’ll go off script and end up ranting about his legal troubles anyway. There’s a reason Trump’s handlers have worked so hard to mostly keep him out of the public eye over the past two years. It’s very risky for Trump to be wading back into this kind of public exposure, which can and likely will go very poorly for him. It’s just that with his criminal troubles making it harder and harder to keep up the illusion that he’s going to be a candidate in 2024, he no longer feels like he has a choice.
And if CNN goes through with the town hall, it’ll also hasten CNN’s downfall (which at this point is necessary). CNN will be seen as casting its lot with a guy who was just found liable for sexual battery by a trial jury. If CNN wants to take that kind of ugly long term reputational blow just to slightly boost ratings for a couple hours, so be it.
Let’s also remember that none of this is ever about Trump’s base, a small-ish group whose votes are already locked in, making them irrelevant. It’s only ever been about convincing average Americans in or near the middle – the ones who decide elections – that Trump is a criminal.
Trump’s base wasn’t why he won in 2016. Trump’s base couldn’t help him in 2020. Trump’s base can’t do anything to keep his 2024 pipe dream alive. Trump’s base has always been the most irrelevant group in all of politics.
This is about mainstream American audiences. Donald Trump has largely been in hiding for two and a half years. Let the American mainstream tune in and be reminded of who and what he really is. Let them hear him say distasteful things about the woman he was just found liable for having sexually assaulted. Let them be turned off by it. Let them also see that he now struggles to remember what he’s talking about for more than twenty seconds at a time. Let mainstream Americans figure out right here, right now, in 2023, that Trump is way too far gone to be viable for 2024 – and once that happens, perhaps the media will have to begin dropping the act as well.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report