Why Donald Trump will probably never wear the orange jumpsuit he deserves (and Justin Trudeau will in any case appoint a new Governor General of Canada soon)

Jul 4th, 2021 | By | Category: In Brief
Susan B. Glasser.

NORTH AMERICAN NOTEBOOK – RANDALL WHITE, FERNWOOD PARK, TORONTO. JULY 4, 2021. [UPDATED JULY 6]. Susan B. Glasser’s credentials are impressive : “… currently a staff writer at The New Yorker … Prior to her joining The New Yorker … she founded the award-winning Politico Magazine … previously served as the editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy … Before that, she worked for a decade at the Washington Post …”

Even without these credentials I’d be impressed by her July 1, 2021 “Letter from Biden’s Washington … The Persistent Fantasy of a Trump Knockout Punch.” She begins with : “For the past four years, Donald Trump’s critics have harbored a persistent fantasy that there would be one definitive moment when he would finally be subject to the accountability he so richly deserves. Each new Trump crisis – and there were many – offered the hope of some redemptive, indisputable, unambiguous end to Trump … It never happened.”

Ms Glasser goes on : “And yet the fantasy will not entirely die. There is still the chance, no matter how slim, that this will all end with Trump in an orange jumpsuit being carted off to prison. The flickering dream of a final Trump purge from public life took slightly more tangible shape on Thursday, in a New York City courtroom, when Trump’s tightly controlled personal company, the Trump Organization, and his longtime financial chief, Allen Weisselberg, were indicted on criminal tax charges stemming from an alleged fifteen-year-long scheme, ‘orchestrated by the most senior executives’ of the Trump Organization, as the prosecutor put it, to evade taxes.”

“Trump Organization finance chief Allen Weisselberg. PHOTO: JB MILLER/TRUMP ORGANIZATION.”

Susan Glasser concludes that : “Maybe Weisselberg will end up in jail; maybe he won’t.” And the thrust of her immediate thoughts on this past Thursday’s legal assault on the Trump Organization and its financial chief is that in the end here too the Persistent Fantasy of a Trump Knockout Punch will probably (and even almost certainly?) remain a fantasy.

At the same time : “one certitude at an uncertain moment” is that at least the astonishingly more fantastic fantasy of the most ardent MAGA supporters, that Trump himself will be “reinstated” as President this coming August,“will not happen. Elections still have consequences in this country … The simple truth is that Trump lost in 2020, and neither he, nor anyone, can undo it. Joe Biden lives at the White House now. That may not be a punishment fit for all of Donald Trump’s wrongdoing, but a punishment it surely is.”

For what it’s worth, I would just add my own related guess from north of the North American Great Lakes (as opposed to the African Great Lakes). The 2020 US election, that Trump lost by a decisive margin, will nonetheless also likely enough keep him out of an orange jumpsuit to match his orange hair, on his way to a prison in upstate New York or Elsewhere, USA.

Final electoral college map of 2020 US presidential election – Biden blue, Trump red.

Just consider the bare election statistics. On what still finally counts constitutionally and legally, Biden won in the electoral college with 306 electoral votes to 232 for Trump, where the minimum winning number is 270. From the standpoint of the democratic people’s popular vote Biden also won with 51.3% or some 81.3 million votes, while Trump lost with 46.8% or 74.2 million votes.

Yet if I were a judge presiding over some ultimate decision on the legal fate of the losing candidate here, I think I would also wonder long and hard about whether, for the health of Democracy in America in its broadest sense, it is appropriate to put anyone who more than 74 million American people recently voted for in jail. (Unless the anyone involved actually did shoot another American citizen in broad daylight on Fifth Avenue. And I would especially wonder long and hard, eg, in Alabama, Illinois, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas, where state judges are chosen in partisan elections.)

Elvis Presley’s Graceland, Memphis, TN, July 3-4 Weekend, 2021.

You can say that the American legal system must in any case somehow still hold all apparently unambiguously corrupt and crooked business organizations to account, to show that their style is not something the rule of law can afford to endorse or even just quietly tolerate. That, I am at least for the moment inclined to suspect from a vast distance, is what the New York City courtroom events of this past Thursday were all about. And as Susan Glasser again has wisely concluded on this front “Maybe Weisselberg will end up in jail; maybe he won’t.”

Meanwhile, back in Canada, north of the lakes – and west to Vancouver Island, east to St. John’s, Newfoundland, and north to “Alert, which hosts a radar and weather station in the Canadian Territory of Nunavut, at more than 83 degrees north latitude … ‘the most northerly inhabited place in the world’” – PM Justin “Trudeau has seen shortlist of governor general candidates, is expected to announce choice soon … $40K in maintenance work underway to prepare Rideau Hall for next governor general.”

Canadian Forces Station in Alert, Nunavut – “the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world.”

Beyond this imminent prime ministerial appointment, I can’t resist noting my related personal persistent fantasy about constitutional change in the land of the shameful Indigenous residential schools, for the longer-term future of the country that continues to bear the Indigenous name of “Canada” (like Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Toronto, etc, etc).

Back when the unusual resignation of Governor General Julie Payette prompted Prime Minister Trudeau to ask for a new short list, I tried to no avail to explain “Why a Royal Commission on Democratizing the Governor General of Canada makes sense in 2021.” For the time being this may be even less likely to happen than the Nirvana of Donald Trump in an orange prison jumpsuit. As someone who long ago acquired a PhD in political science for now long forgotten reasons, however, it still seems to me an excellent idea for the “free and democratic society” prescribed for Canada today in the latest Constitution Act, 1982.

UPDATE JULY 6. See “Inuk leader Mary Simon named Canada’s 1st Indigenous governor general … Simon appointed after Julie Payette resigned amid controversy in January” ; and “APTN News … ‘I can confidently say that my appointment is an historic and inspirational moment for Canada, and an important step forward on the long path towards reconciliation’ … Mary Simon shares remarks in English and Inuktitut during this morning’s Governor General announcement.”

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