Blue America is working with a new firm headed by the son of one of the most prominent attorneys in the music business. I knew her before he was born. Yesterday she told him I “was the best and kindest person who ever worked in the music business.” I was touched but I made light of it by responding that today I am 'the kindest person who ever worked in the political space— unless you count the fact that I would like to see Trump drawn and quartered.' By the time he was telling me that could be overlooked, I was thinking about equally harsh punitive measures for DeSantis, Ramaswarmy, Traitor Greene, Gym Jordan and a host of MAGAts far and wide.
Bill Palatucci, an RNC member from New Jersey— and a Chris Christie ally— is urging the RNC and state parties to adopt escape hatches so that they don’t become saddled with Trump if he’s convicted of any of the felonies he’s charged with after he starts winning primaries but before he’s officially nominated. “Given what’s happening on the legal front,” he said, “state parties need to think about what options they’re giving themselves. All this is happening so quickly, it’s unprecedented, and so as states formulate what their rules are going to be. Everybody’s got a whole new set of circumstances to consider.”
Yesterday, a quartet of NY Times political writers, reported that Señor T could clinch the nomination before he’s convicted. Many Republicans— but not all Republicans— are as devoted to him as Marjorie Traitor Greene, who says she would vote for him not just if he was found guilty and not just if he was sentenced, but even if he was in a prison cell. The party is headed in that direction, but it’s not completely there yet, even if her own backward northwest Georgia district is. After all, 4 of the counties that send Traitor Greene to Congress— Dade, Chattooga, Murray, Gordon— gave Trump over 80% of their vote in 2020. Most of the others gave him over 70%. Imagine living there and have those neighbors!
If his trial really begins on March 4— unlikely— Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Michigan, South Carolina, Idaho, North Dakota will have already selected their delegates. The following day— March 5 is Super Tuesday: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia. Even though that accounts for under half the delegates, no one thinks anyone besides Trump will be left standing, at least not realistically, after that. Maybe DeSantis will want to be further humiliated by losing his own state’s winner-take-all primary to Trump two weeks later. “The collision course between the Republican Party’s calendar and Trump’s trial schedule,” wrote Reid Epstein, Maggie Haberman, Charlie Savage and Jonathan Swan, “is emblematic of one of the most unusual nominating contests in American history. It is a Trump-dominated clash that will define not only the course of the 2024 presidential primary but potentially the future direction of the party in an eventual post-Trump era.”
“It’s a front-runner set of rules now,” said Clayton Henson, who manages the ballot access and delegate selection process for the Trump campaign, which has been instrumental in rewriting the rules to benefit him.
Trump has complained the March 4 start date of the trial amounts to “election interference” and cited Super Tuesday, but it is likely to have a greater effect on his ability to campaign for primaries in subsequent weeks. About 60 percent of the delegates will be awarded from contests after Super Tuesday.
…That timeline also means it is likely that a majority of the delegates will have been awarded before a jury determines Trump’s fate.
If Trump holds his dominant polling advantage throughout the primaries but then a jury transforms him into a convicted felon, any forces within the GOP that would want to use that development to stop him would have one last opportunity to block his nomination— the same end-run around voters that officials tried at the party convention in 2016.
That possibility would almost certainly lead to a schism between Trump loyalists and what used to be called the party’s establishment, an unpleasant reality in which defeating Trump could doom Republicans to a long cycle of electoral defeats.
…[S]hort of a full capitulation from Trump, removing him as the nominee at the convention after he has secured enough delegates remains an extreme long shot. A surrender by Trump seems highly unlikely given that advisers have said he views getting re-elected— and taking command of the pardon power plus control over the Justice Department— as his best insurance policy. Despite Trump’s claims, however, it is not clear that a president can pardon himself, so he might be on safer legal ground if some other Republican secured the nomination, became president and then pardoned him.
The Trump campaign is taking no chances on a contested convention. His team is far more experienced and professional than it was in 2016, when Cruz’s forces organized state party conventions in Louisiana, Colorado and elsewhere to elect Cruz loyalists as convention rules committee delegates. Trump has a tighter grip on the party’s grass-roots supporters than he did in 2016, and his aides— including Henson, Brian Jack, Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita— have been working for months behind the scenes to ensure he will have loyal delegates in state parties across the country, according to people with direct knowledge of their efforts.
Trump’s team also has a stronger hold on state parties themselves, after three advisers— Bill Stepien, Justin Clark and Nick Trainer— worked to consolidate support within them ahead of the 2020 election to stave off primary challenges to Trump. Many of those changes, which favor Trump, remain in place.
…Even if a jury acquits Trump in the federal election case— or one or more holdout jurors produce a mistrial— there are three other cases that could potentially lead to him being a convicted criminal by the time of the convention.
He is facing bookkeeping fraud charges in New York, where a trial is set to begin March 25, although it is now might be pushed back. He is set to go on trial in Florida in May on federal charges related to his hoarding of sensitive national-security documents after leaving office. And he has been charged in another 2020 election case in Georgia, for which a trial date has not yet been set.
Ben Ginsberg, who for decades was among the Republican Party’s top election lawyers before breaking with the party over Mr. Trump in 2020, said no amount of delegate machinations would be likely to stop a Trump nomination should he win enough early nominating contests.
“If he wins Iowa and New Hampshire,” Ginsberg said, “I think it’s all over anyway.”
Yesterday, two Trump-adjacent rulings were handed down by two different federal judges to tow trump cronies. Giuliani and Peter Navarro. Judge Judge Amit Mehta ruled that Navarro “cannot argue to a jury that he was barred by executive privilege from providing testimony and documents to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol,” in a case stemming “from his refusal to comply with a subpoena issued by the now-disbanded bipartisan committee months before its televised hearings on the Capitol riot last summer and fall.” The ruling puts the 74-year old Navarro one step closer to two one-year jail terms. Navarro has cited executive privilege but has still not offered any proof that Trump granted that to him.
The Giuliani case was far more dangerous to Trump himself. Federal District Judge Beryl Howell riled that Giuliani is liable for defaming two Georgia election workers— Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss— by repeatedly declaring that they had mishandled ballots while counting votes in Atlanta during the 2020 election. All that remains for the trial is how much Giuliani will have to pay. It’s also worth noting that Señor T “invoked Freeman’s name 18 times during a phone call with Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state, on Jan. 2, 2021. In the call, Trump asked Mr. Raffensperger to help him ‘find’ nearly 11,800 votes— enough to swing the results in Georgia from the winner, Joe Biden.”
Anyway... if all goes badly with the court, we still have the ballot box. And you know what's happening next Tuesday, right? The Rhode Island special election to fill David Cicilline's old seat. We have a super progressive running, Aaron Regunberg. His opponent are a bunch of corporate Democrats. The difference couldn't be clearer. Endorsing him today, AOC said "Aaron started as a community organizer, founding an organization that supports young people fighting for better public schools. He then served in the Rhode Island General Assembly, where he raised wages for the first time in 20 years, established online voter registration, and expanded access to renewable energy. As a climate lawyer, Aaron helped develop litigation to hold Big Oil companies accountable for environmental crimes. Now, he’s running for Congress to break up monopolies, protect queer and trans folks, defend Social Security and Medicare, and ban assault weapons... In Congress, Aaron will be a powerful voice for policies that will make a meaningful difference in the lives of working people across this country— like Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage, and a Green New Deal. Your contribution will help Aaron’s campaign compete in the final stretch, and strengthen our fight for systemic change in our country. This is an ad Blue America is running on Facebook. Please click on it and contribute what you can: