Democracy in America holds Donald Trump to account at last in New York, New York (if not in more rural red states)

May 31st, 2024 | By | Category: In Brief

SPECIAL FROM L. FRANK BUNTING, GRAND BEND, ON. MAY 31, 2024. Just before it became clear what the jury would decide in the first (and least substantively serious) criminal trial of Donald Trump, I tried to slow down and think about it all.

I have been surprised, like others, by the extent to which the imperfect but still sometimes almost riveting coverage on US TV (supplemented by Canadian TV and BBC World News America) has commanded my time and interest over the past few weeks.

There have been more than a few moments when I’ve felt the TV coverage of Michael Cohen, Stormy Daniels, assorted similar characters, and of course the former president himself, has been altogether overblown, repetitive, and finally boring.

Yet to me there have also been a surprising number of moments when I felt almost as emotionally engaged as I was watching Watergate on US TV, back long ago in my late 20s.

Greatest surprise came with jury verdict

I have been surprised as well by at least my own sense as a mere TV observer, living in another (albeit attached) country, that Donald Trump has been more affected by his least substantively serious criminal trial over the past several weeks than he (and I) thought he might be.

My greatest surprise, however, came last night (or yesterday, late afternoon or early evening), when the unanimous jury verdict was finally announced on TV.

Deluded it now seems, like many others, by the (in some ways laudable) mainstream media urge to give both right and left equal billing, I was not remotely expecting even a New York jury to decide for each of 34 counts — guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, etc, on to guilty # 34.

As best as I can broadly make out, from here on the sunshine eastern shore of Lake Huron, former president Trump has been found guilty of 34 specific variations on the broader theme of illegally (during an election campaign) covering up hush-money payments to a porn star he’d slept with, through the falsification of business records.

A crime but not all that serious ??

“Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird addresses the media during a break in former U.S. President Donald Trump’s criminal trial on Monday, May 13, 2024, in New York City. Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), center, spoke before Bird with other elected officials supporting Trump.”

As a street-savvy middle-age white lady I’ve now seen several times on TV keeps pointing out, with a knowing smile, this may be a crime but it’s not all that serious. Then there’s the red-state heartland reaction reflected in the Des Moines Register headline “’A sham’: Iowa Republican leaders quickly condemn Trump guilty verdict on 34 felony counts.”

On the other hand, “Canadians almost always vote Democratic in American elections” is an ancient piece of wisdom said to originate with the historian Frank Underhill (1889–1971). And I am bound to be guided by it here.

From what I did hear of the trial on TV (and online, sometimes) , the Trump guilty verdict on 34 felony counts was dead on, according to the plain facts and the law.

In a world where such virtues increasingly seem to be falling by the wayside, I have just been pleasantly surprised (and more) that (as the Des Moines Register explains) even “a New York jury found … former Republican President Donald Trump … guilty on all 34 felony counts in a New York hush money trial.”

At least in some ways and places democracy in America is working !!

I finally thought of some remarks by Charles Coleman on MSNBC from at least a day (or so?) before the jury’s verdict was announced. Whatever the jury decided, the case had in the end been well handled, and all relevant points of view had been aired.

Equivalent population to New York City.

The traditional legal system of democracy in America is working — in this particular least substantively serious criminal case against the aspiring political leader in question. Whatever else again, that is something for progressives (and real American conservatives) to take heart from in the spring of 2024.

The red-state Republicans may never agree. And it does remain altogether true that the decisive national political question will only be answered by the various US state, congressional, and presidential elections on November 5, 2024.

In the very end, however, there are more people in New York than in many other US places. If I had to I’d choose them over the Iowa Republican leaders, who lack the courage, independence, and real faith in freedom and democracy to do what 12 ordinary American citizens who live in New York City have just so surprisingly had the authentic intestinal fortitude to do … As Duke Ellington might say, “Boola, boola …”.

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