The Way Forward after Trump’s Indictment
The Democratic Party alone must carry the nation through a historic trial by fire
Never forget how we got here. The Republican Party is critically broken. So is right-wing news media. I could provide a dozen points of proof to back up this claim. But one suffices. Since late 2020, both of these two essential democratic institutions—party and media—have embraced the poison of the Big Lie.
If they had stood for truth and country, today Americans would not be politically traumatized. In February of 2021 the U.S. Senate would have convicted Trump of incitement of violence, and, following this, the august body would have permanently disqualified him from future federal office, restoring sanity and peace to the nation.
Now, in the aftermath of the Manhattan grand jury’s indictment of Trump four days ago, both the Republican Party and right-wing media are raging and demagoguing more loudly than ever.
It’s tragic-absurdist theater. The Republican leadership has abandoned the bedrock of constitutional democracy: the rule of law. Leaders are assailing the grand jury’s decision with hate, fearmongering, and disinformation.
It’s agonizing to behold and devastating to the infrastructure of our democracy.
No matter what, the leadership of a democracy must respect the rule of law. This is putting it mildly. As Lincoln said in a speech in 1838, to survive as a democracy we must revere the rule of law. “Reverence for the laws,” he asserted, was “the political religion of our nation.”
I hesitate to make grand pronouncements about the future, because it’s so unknown, but history is my guide.
In the 1850s there existed only one party that stood on the right side of history: the Republican Party. By adhering to the truth as embodied in the Declaration of Independence (all people are created equal) and to the rule of law (overturning the election of 1860 through secession was unconstitutional), the party of Lincoln carried the nation through a fiery ordeal to a bright new day of freedom for all.
In April of 2023, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that the road ahead is going to be hell. Almost certainly, the demagoguing of Trump, Republican leaders, and right-wing anchors like Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham will lead to political violence. We saw it on January 6, 2021. It seems inevitable, because that’s what demagogues do. They incite violence.
The good news is the Democratic Party. I am proud of this party. I am excited about this party. With all its imperfections, I am eternally grateful for this party.
The Democratic Party gives me soaring hope because it is carrying the banner of the Declaration of Independence. It is carrying the banner of the rule of law and the banner of ethical leadership.
These things will pull us through the present crisis, I am sure of it, so long as Democrats resist the dark temptation to imitate the demagogues, lowering the three banners that will otherwise carry us through.
Love the hopeful, upbeat message at the end, Eli. Dark times right now, but it's helpful to think that the future might be brighter -- or, at least, less dark. I, too, worry about the coming violence.
This desire for a uni-party and allegiance to the one party has great historical precedence. It worked so well in Russia, China, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, et al! I think you summarized succinctly the Democrat party's approach to governing. Thanks for your lucid explanation of the Democrat party's goal and its adherents' feelings.