Just when you think things can’t get worse in the wildly surreal 2016 primary campaign. Sigh.
Palm Beach County, Florida has charged Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump’s campaign manager, with misdemeanor battery. The charge stems from his encounter with journo-blogger Michelle Fields at a Trump event on 8 March.
And “conservatives” are lining up on either side of this utterly idiotic non-issue, as if it proves something for or against Trump, or anyone else, or their (conservatives’) favored view of human reality.
Let us stipulate, as a number of sites report, that Lewandowski is, personally, something of a jerk. (This is mainly because I refuse to spend time arguing about it.)
Let us stipulate that Trump is deeply, broadly problematic as a Republican candidate for president: not a conservative, not a libertarian, not a reliable limited-government or principle guy. Let us stipulate that I don’t plan to vote for him, and nothing I say here is intended to persuade you to.
All that stipulated, it is moronic to obsess over this non-event as if settling it is the key to finding a GOP candidate whom the voters can unite behind.
Looking at the video released by police yesterday, which we must assume to not be doctored, I see no evidence of anything I would call “battery.” Corey Lewandowski appears to grasp Michelle Fields by the arm and set her aside. The encounter takes all of a single second. He and Trump’s entourage move on; Fields is left standing.
If this were a felony charge – which it couldn’t possibly be, since there’s no evidence that rises to that level – the prosecutor wouldn’t want me on the jury. I think it borders on insane to see “battery” in this video.
I’m sure this wasn’t a pleasant encounter for Ms. Fields. The point here isn’t to impugn her. I have no dog in the Breitbart fight, and I’m not going to argue that with you. It’s not about that.
What it’s about is too many conservatives making complete fools of themselves. Don’t put your eggs in this “Lewandowski battered Fields” basket, folks.
Going after Lewandowski isn’t “the way” to knock the Trump train off the tracks before the convention in July. It’s not a way to somehow prove to Trump voters that they’ve been wrong about him all along.
Doubling down on the brief against Lewandowski just makes the anti-Trump side look like a bunch of conspiracy theorists. Compiling laughably thin “evidence” and making occult divinations from grainy videos is what establishment pundits think Trump voters do – and here the establishment pundits are doing it themselves. (I can’t believe all the time Fox News has spent on it in the last 24 hours.)
My prediction is that nothing much will come of this charge. Acquittal would probably be justice, given that the evidence is inconclusive. Remember that concept? The “rule of law”? Honest, impartial dealing?
Trump will stand by his man, and look even better to his supporters because of that. It would not fit the pattern of Trump’s remarkable trail through the primary campaign, for a clamorous partisan outcry focused on the proceedings in a local court to derail him now. Why would the American political establishment – even just a small, apolitical corner of it – be able to dent Trump at this point, when it has failed to at all others?
Trump’s candidacy is exposing the amoral desperation of the political establishment in a way nothing else could. It’s going to keep chugging along until that job is done.
The people who have swarmed after Trump range from very foolish to intelligent, but (in my view) selective, willing to overlook more than they should to vote for a non-P.C. guy. But that’s just part of the Trump equation.
The other part is the unconscionable disdain of the political establishment for the voters, including Trump’s supporters, and the injustice the establishment has been doing them for many years now. Trump isn’t going to be brought down by more injustice from the establishment. Not even injustice that the establishment’s top figures can’t really control; i.e., an outcome in misdemeanor court.
So I urge you not to get invested in the incessant parade of nonsense passing before us in this campaign, demanding to hijack your brain and your moral sense. What’s in that parade is not your answer. But it’s also not going to stop until more people’s minds are fortified against it.
Note that on the Democratic side, the relative placidity of the tone is even worse. There’s no fight for your moral sense over there. You’re just assumed to not have one. The choices for the Democrats are a candidate who advocates the bloodiest and most destructive political ideology of the last, impossibly bloody century, and an unindicted serial law-breaker who advocates the same thing, but slightly less.
That version of the Democratic Party is headed for the ash-heap of history. The reason the fight is so intense and appalling on the Republican side is that there is still a moral sense and a glimmer of rational vision to squabble over.
Here’s a word of advice. You’ll never win an argument with insanity. You just have to say goodbye to it. For what it’s worth, I think a lot of Americans are starting to do just that. They’re tiring of the incessant parade of nonsense, and disengaging from it.
I hope enough of them are taking a step back and thinking about what we’re learning in this campaign cycle, about politics, government, human life, and ourselves. Without such reflection, we won’t move forward.
In the meantime, conservatives: don’t be that guy. Don’t be the one obsessively framing intricate claims about minor events, bouncing along in a parade headed the wrong direction like a can tied with a yellow streamer to the back of a flatbed.