Read between the lines


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Donald Trump, the most recent former President of the United States and the Republican frontrunner in the current election for President, is on criminal trial. He’s well on his way to being convicted on thirty-four felony charges. Polling shows that the majority of Americans now expect him to be convicted. And what stands out the most about all of this is what doesn’t stand out.

Trump’s remaining supporters know he’s about to be convicted. But they’re not out in the streets. There’s no mass violence. There’s no sign of an impending “civil war.” None of the things are happening that we were told would happen.

For that matter, the stock market just reached an all time high. Wall Street isn’t panicking because the supposed presumptive Republican nominee for President is on criminal trial. There’s no destabilizing factor. Investors like the current guy, they expect him to stick around for another four years, and they clearly consider Trump’s ongoing implosion as little more than a sideshow.

So why is it not a big deal that Donald Trump is a week away from being criminally convicted? I think it requires reading between the lines. Any objective observer can look at Trump and see that he’s a goner one way or the other. He can’t speak a coherent sentence. He doesn’t know who anyone is anymore. He’s sleeping through his trial. He’s toast in every sense of the word. The only real question here is whether he even makes it to November.

That’s not to say the 2024 election is a foregone conclusion. There are just too many variables at play surrounding Trump’s ongoing downfall. We don’t know how much more quickly his dementia will accelerate, or at what point his babysitters might no longer be able to prop him up. We don’t know what last minute games the Republicans might play in terms of trying to slip another candidate in there in his place. And even if Trump does limp to the finish line, we don’t know what the impact will be when he starts canceling the debates and such.

So we have to keep playing this election like it’s a tie race (even though more and more polls show Biden slightly ahead). We have to play it like Trump is going to be a real candidate (even though he’s becoming more non-functioning by the day). We have to play it like Trump will be a free man through November. And we have to keep in mind the possibility that a collapsing and seemingly dying Trump won’t even be the candidate.

This is not a normal election. But we have to treat it like one. We have to put in the same work โ€“ phone banking, targeted donations, retweeting candidates in the most competitive races โ€“ that always makes the difference between winning and losing. No one expects Trump to make it. But that doesn’t mean we can afford to sit on our heels.

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