Commentary: Shock and Awe on the Campaign Trail

Trump Biden
by Roger Kimball


I would wager that a million or more words have been written about the trials and tribulations — but especially the trials — of Donald Trump. I have written quite a few myself, here at American Greatness and elsewhere.

Some stories from the left are of the gleefully salivating variety. “Goodie! The Bad Orange Man is Getting His and Might Even go to Jail.  Hallelujah!”

But it is my impression that more and more commentary has a worried, if not an out-and-out tone of alarm.  Former Attorney General William Barr is no fan of Donald Trump. But he recently announced that he was endorsing Trump because the likely alternative — Joe Biden — was so much worse.

I suspect that, with the passage of time, that endorsement will be seen to mark a turning point in l’affaire Trump. If even an anti-Trump figure like Bill Barr has lined up behind the former president, a rearrangement of the stars is underway.

Note well: The primary fulcrum of this change is not an assessment of the relative merits of Trump vs. Biden.  Rather, it’s a reaction against the perversion of the DOJ and the coercive power of the state under Biden.  Trump is the most obvious victim. But any opponent of the regime is a potential target.

Shock and Awe” is the popular phrase military folks use to describe a strategy of using “spectacular displays of force to paralyze the enemy’s perception of the battlefield and destroy their will to fight.”

That is a good description of what the Biden administration is attempting to do to Donald Trump.  Thanks to the incisive reporting of Julie KellyMike Davis, and others, we now know that there was extensive co-ordination between the Biden White House and the myriad prosecutors, attorneys general, FBI agents, and other official factota to formulate a strategy to indict, intimidate, and neutralize Trump as a political actor.

The commentator Andrew McCarthy is no more a fan of Donald Trump than is Bill Barr. I don’t know that he has gotten around to endorsing Trump, but he, too, has been appalled by the perversion of  justice on view in the scramble to “Get Trump.”  In an important recent essay, McCarthy outlines some of the ways in which Biden, as President of the United States, has been colluding with (not to say directing) the “shock and awe” legal assault against Trump.  Regarding District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s so-called “hush money” trial in New York (really, it is a “hush Trump” trial), he points out that Bragg chose as his lead prosecutor Matthew Colangelo, “one of the very top lawyers in the Biden Justice Department — the associate attorney general overseeing the government’s civil, civil-rights, antitrust, and tax-enforcement activities.”  McCarthy notes that “Most prosecutors see themselves as working in law enforcement; Colangelo specializes in anti-Trump enforcement.”

He goes on to observe that

it is highly unusual for a lawyer in so lofty a federal perch to decamp to a county DA’s office for a line-prosecutor post — even allowing that the county is in the Big Apple and the trial gig is a prosecution of Donald Trump, which will make Colangelo a very famous fellow. But in this instance, it is a seamless transition. Prior to joining the top echelon of Biden’s Trump-hostile Justice Department, Colangelo had worked at the New York attorney general’s office — where Bragg was then a top deputy and where Colangelo specialized in lawsuits against Trump and his organization. It was Colangelo’s work against Trump that Bragg touted in running for district attorney in blue, blue Manhattan.

That’s my emphasis but Colangelo’s bias.

McCarthy’s entire essay is worth reading, as is “America in the Shadow of Lawfare,” a long essay by Kenin M. Spivak that appears in The American Mind. Spivak rehearses what has become a familiar litany of abuses of state power to take down Trump. It is said that familiarity breeds contempt. But in this case, I believe it would be more accurate to say that familiarity has bred complacency.  Clear your mind of what you know about these cases and ponder this partial list of Spivak’s inventory of extravagant legal abuse.

Beyond E. Jean Carroll’s so far successful defamation cases funded by billionaire Reid Hoffman and failed efforts in 36 states to take Trump off the ballot for purportedly engaging in insurrection, Trump is a defendant in five active criminal or civil actions, and an unindicted co-conspirator in two additional criminal cases, all brought by partisan progressive Democrat prosecutors seeking hundreds of millions of dollars of fines and more than 100 years of prison time.”

And note these two points:

  1. “The timing of these cases was coordinated to inflict maximum inconvenience and cost on Trump, and to make it impossible for him to campaign actively.”
  2. “State and federal prosecutors met in the White House to refine their cases and for purposes that have never been disclosed.”

The timing was coordinated. State and federal prosecutors met in the White House to refine their cases. 

Why are people not up in arms over these revelations? We are not talking about something that is happening in Bolivia or Venezuela. It is happening right now here in the United States of America. The regime party is coordinating with the instruments of legal enforcement and the media to keep the chief opposition candidate off the campaign trail and make it impossible for people to vote for him. That party is also actively attempting to bankrupt him.  As Spivak notes, “No sitting or former president of the United States has ever before been indicted, let alone faced a coordinated, multi-layered legal attack.”

It is hard, I suspect, for most people to grasp the enormity of what is going on all around us.  A Rubicon has been crossed, and advance troops are already besieging various outposts of our taken-for-granted institutions and assumptions about our social lives.  If the regime party succeeds in taking down its chief opponent, it will be open season on all of us.  Spivak is correct: “The United States is now seeking to financially destroy and incarcerate a former president who is also the leading opposition candidate for that office. This is what happens in Third World countries, which routinely confiscate assets of and imprison, the opposition. Regardless of whether Trump prevails in his trials, America has crossed a line from its republican past into something very ugly.” Verbum sapienti satis est: i.e., don’t say you weren’t warned.

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Roger Kimball is editor and publisher of The New Criterion and the president and publisher of Encounter Books. He is the author and editor of many books, including The Fortunes of Permanence: Culture and Anarchy in an Age of Amnesia (St. Augustine’s Press), The Rape of the Masters (Encounter), Lives of the Mind: The Use and Abuse of Intelligence from Hegel to Wodehouse (Ivan R. Dee), and Art’s Prospect: The Challenge of Tradition in an Age of Celebrity (Ivan R. Dee). Most recently, he edited and contributed to Where Next? Western Civilization at the Crossroads (Encounter) and contributed to Against the Great Reset: Eighteen Theses Contra the New World Order (Bombardier).
Photo “Joe Biden” by President Joe Biden. Photo “Donald Trump by Library of Congress. Background Photo “The White House” by David Everett Strickler.



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