Early last Friday morning, President Trump posted the following on Truth Social, presumably about Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg: “What kind of person can charge another person . . . with a Crime, when it is known by all that NO Crime has been committed, and also known that potential death & destruction in such a false charge could be catastrophic for our Country? . . . Only a degenerate psychopath that truly hates the USA!”
That seems like a lot for a former president and lot for a Friday morning, but, unfortunately, it was both predictable and pretty much par for the course. By focusing the national spotlight like a laser on a possible indictment and arrest, Mr. Trump used Mr. Bragg’s desire to be important against him. It was brilliant political jujitsu, compelling even his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination to come to his defense.
The terrible truth is that Mr. Trump and the left are in a co-dependent relationship. The left needs the constant undercurrent of outrage. Mr. Trump needs a constant flow of adversaries on which he can grind his axes and against whom he can rally the troops.
Both sides raise money off it; both sides feed off it.
Mr. Bragg is just the most recent victim of this co-dependency, but, truthfully, it is his own fault. With a suspect and novel legal theory (a misdemeanor can be a felony with a wave of the hand), a star witness who is a convicted felon, and the certainty of being overturned by the first court not on the payroll of the State of New York, precisely no one expects the former president to go to jail.
That’s not the point. The point is that this endless churn works to the advantage of both Mr. Trump and his adversaries. The Republicans can’t move on because there will always be one more passion play, one more ego-drama in which to defend the former president from those who would ostensibly destroy the Republic just to get him.
The Democrats can’t move on because they’ve inexplicably identified Mr. trump as a threat to democracy, despite an actual record as president that looks more moderate than anything else. He lowered taxes, increased spending, and talked a lot but didn’t really do anything durable about immigration and other issues.
The only place he distinguished himself was in the selection federal judges, most of which he outsourced to the Federalist Society.
None of that explains why the Democrats decided that Mr. Trump posed a threat to democracy. That’s probably because they don’t really think he does, at least no more of a threat than the bureaucracy which is accountable to approximately no one, or the legacy media gatekeepers who decide what is and is not acceptable to know, talk and decide about.
But the Democrats who figured out they could demonize him for his imprecision in speech and his indifference to the niceties of Washington – Pelosi, Schiff, Schumer, Merrick Garland, etc. – rode that insight to the top of the Democratic food chain. The Trump White House occasionally would circulate a list of accomplishments. At the very top was “rescued the failing New York Times.” It was funny because it contained elements of the truth.
Similarly, those on the right who were quick enough to attach themselves to Mr. Trump — mostly social media types and assorted hangers-on — have also monetized their connection to the former president.
Just about none of that, however, is good for the nation.
Every family has at least one drama queen (sometimes they are male), who is not happy unless there is churn and unless they are at the center of the churn. Over time, the churn becomes pathological and toxic. Our national political family is riven with drama queens and their enablers, and the churn has been pathological and toxic to the body politic for some time now.
Michael McKenna is the president of MWR Strategies. He was most recently a deputy assistant to the president and deputy director of the Office of Legislative Affairs at the White House.
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