That Impervious Alternate Reality

I haven’t added what would be superfluous commentary to the news of Donald Trump’s overdue indictment. The media has already reported pretty much anything you might want to know about that indictment and the various reactions to it.

Did The Former Guy (TFG) break the law? Obviously. Were the potential consequences serious? Very definitely. (In fact, we have no way of knowing whether TFG actually sold or otherwise shared highly sensitive information with the oligarchs and autocrats he admired. Was that two billion dollar infusion of Saudi cash to Jared payment for information? Who knows?)

For those who reside in the real world, nothing in that indictment was a surprise–and despite TFG’s efforts to characterize it as politically motivated, it very clearly was not the product of a “witch hunt.”

What, then, is most troubling about this long-awaited legal confirmation that TFG is a crook? Why am I adding text to the millions of words being exchanged about this predictable indictment?

I’m commenting because I am absolutely gobsmacked by the reaction of the crazies who now constitute most of the GOP.

In the face of overwhelming evidence–much of it produced by Trump himself in his endless blatherings–you would expect partisans to simply shut up, or to defer to the operation of the legal system. Instead, those on the farthest edge are evidently calling for armed resistance, and elected officials are insisting that there is no difference between the inadvertent retention–and immediate surrender–of documents by Pence and Biden and Trump’s clearly intentional and deeply corrupt theft of national intelligence.

An article in the Intelligencer attempted to explain why Republicans will never admit Trump’s guilt.

Despite what you may have heard about the federal charges against Donald Trump, there is actually nothing shocking or unprecedented about a former head of state facing criminal charges. It has happened several times in other democracies, and it would have happened in the United States but for Gerald Ford pardoning Richard Nixon.

What is shocking, and carries the ominous reek of banana-republicanism, is the response by the opposition party to the news. Kevin McCarthy, the highest-ranking Republican leader, depicts the charges as a personal plot by Joe Biden — “It is unconscionable for a President to indict the leading candidate opposing him” — and a “grave injustice.” Trump’s leading Republican opponent denounces the charges as “political bias” and “the weaponization of federal law enforcement.”

Marjorie Taylor Greene likened Trump’s arrest to those of Jesus Christ and former South African President Nelson Mandela. Kari Lake–still insisting she won her election– threatened civil war.

Evidently, whenJonathan Chait wrote in the linked article that there is no conceivable set of facts that would permit the GOP to acknowledge Trump’s guilt, he knew whereof he wrote.

In the article, Chait traces what he calls the GOP’s “decades-long descent into paranoia,” a descent that has led to the “idiosyncratic embrace of a career criminal.”

Chait reminds us that the culture of today’s Republican Party was shaped by what Richard Hofstadter famously described as “the paranoid style” in American politics. Hofstadter was writing about a conservative movement that, at the time, was only a far-right fringe faction of the Party.. Today, as we know, that fringe has completely assumed control of the party– and Chait writes that it has imposed its “warped mentality” on half of America.

To its adherents, every incremental expansion of the welfare state is incipient communism, each new expansion of social liberalism the final death blow to family and church. Lurking behind these endless defeats, they discern a vast plot by shadowy elites.

As a result of that warped world-view, the party went in search of a strongman, someone who would “crush its enemies.” Chait writes that the GOP  could have found that strongman “in a politician, a general, a movie star, or an athlete. Instead, Republicans located their warlord in a crooked real-estate heir.”

It is the interplay of the two forces, the paranoia of the right and the seamy criminality of the right’s current champion, that has brought the party to this point. Trump’s endlessly repeated “witch hunt” meme blends together the mobster’s hatred of the FBI with the conservative’s fear of the bureaucrat. His loyalists have been trained to either deny any evidence of misconduct by their side or rationalize it as a necessary countermeasure against their enemies.

The concept of “crime” has been redefined in the conservative mind to mean activities by Democrats. They insist upon Trump’s innocence because they believe a Republican, axiomatically, cannot be a criminal.

I hope Chait is wrong about this paranoia infecting “half of America.” If it’s that widespread, we are in very deep do-do.


  1. The most damaging information has come from Trump’s own lips, his own attorneys, and his Mar-A-Lago staff. It has NOT come from government employees in Washington. Trump talked about just hiding information from the FBI subpoena servers and telling them there are no documents. He tells his staff to remove certain boxes from his office to hide them from the FBI. He shows classified information to his staff and a reporter and tells them it is secret information which he should have declassified while he was in office but take a look.

    He clearly has no respect for those who risked their lives to collect such highly sensitive information nor for our national security since he’s sharing secret information with reporters. The information Trump refused to turn over without a subpoena included nuclear secrets, what we would do if attacked, vulnerabilities at home and among our allies, and more. That kind of information is worth billions to foreigners, and Trump has run through so much money that he’s had to sell the last of his father’s apartment buildings to prop up his cash flow. If he’s that poor, it does cause more worry about his interest in selling valuable information to foreigners in the market for it.

    God help us.

  2. However ridiculous and just plain wrong the supporting Republicans are blathering 24/7, the important point to remember is Trump’s long ago statement that he could shoot someone in the middle of 5th Avenue and get away with it continues to hold true. Trump has never let the law guide or impede his actions; all of the charges in Special Prosecutor Jack Smith’s indictment have been proven beyond any reasonable doubt that Trump is G-U-I-L-T-Y, but have not yet been proven at trial!!! But Jack Smith and his prosecutors are bound by the same laws that protect Trump. Some of the classified documents, probably the ones which would immediately prove his guilt, are too sensitive to use at trial for the military safety of this nation…and possibly other nations. The trial will become public information and the classified information cannot be released to the public. His two top attorneys removed themselves from his defense team after their attorney/client privilege was “pierced” (the term used in the indictment report) by the prosecutor’s questions. Had they refused to answer or lied, they could have been charged with aiding and abetting Trump by using the proof they have. (That well known legal advice to attorneys, “Never ask a question you don’t already have the answer to.”)

    Trump can again slither, like the snake he is, out of all of this. Our concerns should be how strong the Republican support of Trump will prove to be ultimately at trial; they knew he was a snake when they made him their nominee in 2016. They have never wavered in their support; even those who have spoken against him in private then supported keeping him in office through TWO IMPEACHMENTS and uphold his current campaign as being his right. Back to those laws which have never guided or impeded Trump but protect him by the Constitution he intends to end once he is in office again. This “Alternate Reality” may yet become the reality we are forced to accept as our own; it will depend on the chosen jurors of his “peers” in his chosen home red state of Florida.

    “In the face of overwhelming evidence–much of it produced by Trump himself in his endless blatherings–you would expect partisans to simply shut up, or to defer to the operation of the legal system.”

    “I hope Chait is wrong about this paranoia infecting “half of America.” If it’s that widespread, we are in very deep do-do.”

  3. Very few people don’t live in an alternate reality.

    50% of them frighten me. After all, their remedy is to destroy the “government” because they feel it is the source of all our problems. They tune into Fox for the news, unable to differentiate the entertainment from the news.

    Trump is a victim of corrupt libtards who run the DOJ. They cannot see beyond our government nor deny there is a curtain for them to peek behind. Maybe they are too scared to see what’s behind the curtain. 😉

    This IS their reality because they cannot differentiate the truth from the false – what’s fact or fiction?

    TFG is just playing his part – his schtick! Same with Merrick Garland and Joe Biden, who is the real criminal. LOL

  4. It comes down to reality vs fantasy. We let it happen incrementally. We let the wrong wing get away with renaming lies to alternative facts. That term should have been scorned, demeaned, and ridden out of town (or out of the media, at least) on a rail. Don’t ever think that labels don’t count. They are so useful in ginning up the “base”. Think of labels as shortcuts to fear. VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!

  5. Todd, you have stepped way over the line with these words, “Trump is a victim of corrupt libtards who run the DOJ.”

    You have never been more UNAmerican in your daily insults and misinterpreted conclusions on most issues. Your support of Trumpism has never been more blatant, nor more ugly, in your many accusations against the Democratic party, democracy, Rule of Law and the Constitution. Trump as victim resounds with his oft repeated accusations of “witch hunt” against facts, common sense and Americanism. You have revealed which “half of America” you reside in in your small town paranoid mind set which you share in “The Voice of Muncie”, keeping that small college town uninformed of the greater truths about government and the threat Trump poses to this nation. You spread that urban Republicanism which is an ever rising danger to America and Americans.

    “I hope Chait is wrong about this paranoia infecting “half of America.” If it’s that widespread, we are in very deep do-do.”

  6. The leaders of the republican party have chosen to lie and defend the criminal behavior of their party’s presidential candidate frontrunner. For decades they have chosen party and personal power over country and their current claims of victimization and innocence are both shameless and despicable.

  7. Let us not confuse witnessing the destruction of the Republican Party by their own hands with the destruction of democracy. I have little faith in the political polling done these days on anything Trump related, but I do trust my own eyes and ears.
    Out in the hinder lands those Trump flags and Brandon signs are slowly disappearing. Trump supporting neighbors have grown silent…. friendly for the first time in years. They don’t bring it up and neither do I. Those who always seethed underneath about some imagined slight or wrong continue to do so. It appears that most others have moved on.
    One lesson I have learned from the past eight years has been that just over thirty percent of the American population is bat shit crazy, and there isn’t a damn thing one can do about it.

  8. It doesn’t surprise me that elected officials back Trump – they want to win and they need the base to stick with them.

    What does surprise me is that those running against Trump for the nomination have decided to fully back Trump. Even DeSantis is on board with Trump “just being abused by the evil government liberals” story. If there was ever a lock-solid moment when Trump became the 2024 Republican candidate for president, it’s this one. Even his rivals leave him alone (minus Chris Christie, who isn’t getting out of New Hampshire again).

  9. Driving around central Ohio I have also been spotting fewer TFG signs and banners than in the recent past, wondering if it’s only my wish-dream imagination. I’m glad to hear Theresa’s report that she is also noting that same trend. Hoping it’s more than anecdotal.

  10. Xi Jinping must be grinning ear to ear as he watches our democracy implode. He and his six Politburo Standing Committee members have skillfully and patiently gained world economic dominance. While the fools that lead our country’s republican party selfishly tear our country apart, Xi Jinping’s plans for complete world dominance won’t require much effort at all from China.

    Nancy Papas – thanks for the extra info about trump’s financial woes.

  11. In most respects the defense secrets trial is more about national security, NOT Donald Trump. Like many other criminals who have been charged, tried, sentenced and punished for similar crimes, the point of the trial is to punish Trump for crimes which seriously compromised our country and our military. No one is above the law.
    However, if we want to keep him out of the presidency, he must be beaten at the polls. His upcoming trial on the 37 counts found in the indictment doesn’t change that fundamental truth.

  12. An estimated 12 million adults – 4.4% of the US population – believe violence is justified to return Trump to power, according to a recent survey by the University of Chicago’s Project on Security and Threats.

  13. Trump is a “victim” according to Todd. Wow. Is there anyone on the planet who wouldn’t have been prosecuted if they had handled classified documents the way Trump did? No, absolutely not. They bent over backward to help Trump out, to give him a chance to simply return the classified documents in his possession and he not only chose not to do so, he tried to hide the documents to prevent them from being discovered.

  14. Eighty percent of likely Republican primary voters in a new poll think former President Trump should still be able to get back to the Oval Office even if he’s convicted in the classified documents case.

    A CBS News-YouGov poll, released Sunday, found that just 20 percent of likely GOP primary voters think Trump shouldn’t be able to serve again as president if he’s convicted over his alleged mishandling of classified documents.

  15. I just have to relate a personal story which is kind of related.

    A long-time friend of mine was in town this weekend. Let’s call her “Becky.” Becky, an attorney, has always been very, very liberal…she was an enthusiastic supporter of Bernie Sanders.

    I was shocked by Becky’s political views, a weird blend of liberalism and Trumpism. (Although I question the common assumption that Trumpism = conservativism.). Becky said she didn’t watch the mainstream news as it was corporately owned and biased. Instead she sited some obscure websites she got her information from.

    She talked about how corrupt Joe Biden is. She’s against the Covid-19 vaccine and expressed a preference for RFK, Jr. in the Democratic primary. She praised Trump for not getting us into wars. She said Russia had every right to invade Ukraine as it is their land and blamed NATO. She suggested Russia is perfectly within its right to go after the countries that exited the Soviet Union because those countries had wrongly jointed NATO. When I brought up Putin’s war crimes, including Russia deliberately bombing civilian targets, the response was to shrug that off as something that always happens in war. She criticized the politicization of the FBI. She seemed willing to embrace pretty much any conspiracy theory out there. My belief is that is because of the media she is consuming. Her mind has been poisoned.

    While my friend voted for Biden over Trump in 2020, this time around she will definitely vote for Trump. Nothing about what Trump did in office, or since, seems to concern her. Well, there was one thing – Trump ordering the killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdad, a leading ISIS terrorist. That bothered her. Nothing else seemed to matter. Even that pesky thing like Trump attempt to overthrow American democracy.

  16. Sharon; do you find anything about our current Trump situation to warrant a smiley face, a tongue in cheek or a laughing matter?

    Todd’s last quote puts the smiley face in a questionable position when compared to his last quote in those comments, “TFG is just playing his part – his schtick! Same with Merrick Garland and Joe Biden, who is the real criminal. LOL” Lumping Trump with President Biden and AG Garland ended with LOL; are you laughing, I can’t separate the two quotes and the meanings behind them from his many frequent disparaging comments on the wrong side of the aisle.

  17. I heard that TFG is campaigning really hard because at this point the only thing that might protect him from prosecution or even jail is being President. At that point he can pardon himself and order the DOJ to shut down any investigation. If he has any lawyers left that will work for him (“he’s the client from h3ll” is a quote I heard), the tactics will be to delay any sentencing until after the election.

  18. Dirk, TFG’s opponents have to back him. At least, they think they do. They fear his base that much. I think most of them are in the race largely to gain more recognition for AT (after TFG), or in the hope that something forces TFG to withdraw (health, legal issues, etc.) which would give them a chance to swoop in.

    There are two exceptions, though: Pence (who fears the base as others do, but I think is a deluded true believer who expects god to help him win regardless), and Christie (who hates TFG and Kushner so passionately that he is enjoying attacking them mercilessly, but otherwise still falls into the main camp of swooper hopefuls).

    I have to say that I am enjoying Christie’s diatribes. But I agree he can go nowhere with them in this election cycle.

  19. Dan is correct except for one thing. The plan will be to delay the trial until after the election, not just the sentencing. That is doable, especially since he drew his favorite Florida federal judge.

  20. If anyone of us kept secret documents from the military in our possession for 18 months after leaving office; we would already be serving our life terms in jail. He has 31 counts of 10 year max sentences for each indictment.

    If he doesn’t go to jail, there WILL be a civil war because we’re all sick of 45 and his lies and corruption. Republicans may be armed but liberals have a military and CIC.

    Pat Robertson, Limbaugh and Berlisconi are all dead. Let’s wish 45 strokes out in the courthouse tomorrow so we can all be free from his insanity.

    I have great hope that the youth, which are the best educated and connected, will come out and vote the GOP to the grave. I know, I’m just a dreamer.

  21. Todd. Based on your first paragraph, I assumed your post was ironic. JoAnn obviously read it as serious. Which did you intend? Please clarify.

  22. Sharon; I also hope he responds. I read it seriously because it was no different than the majority of his daily comments. My grandson lived in Muncie for 4 years while attending Ball State University; it is a small college town with many problems and it concerns me that he is speaking to the residents and the students at BSU. My grandson said the infrastructure is basically in poor condition, there are many slum areas and the crime rate is high; he never felt safe the entire time he lived there but hung on till graduating as an Environmental Engineer with a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Development (LEED) citation and one from Habitat for Humanity. The residents and the students need and deserve to hear truths about our government; especially in these vital election years.

  23. Nancy, the “libtard” comment seems to be meant as a tongue-in-cheek “This is what the fools who
    support him believe.
    That so many people can still not be grossed out by his criminality is amazing! He found a rancid pulse
    of America to too easily turn to his own malevolent aims, and, sadly, he is a master at manipulation.

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