Is Trump Finished?

Roger Kimball Roger Kimball
December 8, 2022Updated: December 12, 2022


It has been amusing to behold the evolution of the anti-Trump narrative since the midterm elections.

“Now, finally, at last, we can purge the Republican Party of all MAGA elements and return to that semi-official second-class status we had gotten used to under one-and-a-half-party-Democratic rule.”

That last bit is my interpolation. But let’s face it, Republicans had existed in a state of political dhimmitude for decades.

Trump changed that, and it seems pretty clear that Republicans can’t win without the support of his millions of voters, but forget about all that.

Now, at last, we can return to the well-pressed, clean-cut, no-mean-tweets status quo ante.

NPR, Mitt Romney, endless vistas of rice pudding.

Conservatives might not be able to get much accomplished, but at least they can rub up against one another, make deals, scratch each others’ backs, and find a spare teat to which they can attach their parched lips.

Elon Musk’s ongoing Twitter dump that is exposing the media’s collusion with Democrats to steal the 2020 election and taint all things Trump seemed for about a nanosecond as if it might upset the avocado cart of anti-Trump complacency.

Yes, it seems likely that the ongoing revelations put forward by Matt Taibbi and others will spark a certain amount of outrage on the right.

I suspect, however, that the scandalous revelations will have approximately zero effect on the congealing narrative.

I hope I’m wrong.

But the winds of anti-Trump sentiment are ubiquitous among the credentialed class.

Not, by the way, that I believe that their hot-air machine is going to make a lot of difference to what happens.

That will be decided by that hugely inconvenient but apparently ineradicable group of people: the voters.

In the meantime, though, the little eructations of hysteria have been delicious to watch.

No sooner had Taibbi’s first Twitter thread spun out than Trump took to Truth Social, his new(ish) media platform, to issue this bulletin:

“So, with the revelation of MASSIVE & WIDESPREAD FRAUD & DECEPTION in working closely with Big Tech Companies, the DNC, & the Democrat Party, do you throw the Presidential Election Results of 2020 OUT and declare the RIGHTFUL WINNER, or do you have a NEW ELECTION?”

Trump continued: “A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution. Our great “Founders” did not want, and would not condone, False & Fraudulent Elections!”

Oh, how the punditocracy went crazy over that!

Donald Trump’s Call to ‘Terminate’ Constitution Sparks Fury,” screamed one typical headline.

Quoth this scribe, “Donald Trump has sparked a furious backlash after he called for the ‘termination’ of parts of the Constitution to overturn the results of the 2020 election.”

What followed were the usual talking points.

Trump’s claims about there being widespread fraud in the 2020 election were “baseless,” readers were assured while a White House spokesman was wheeled out to emit the usual clichés about the Constitution being a “sacrosanct document that for over 200 years has guaranteed that freedom and the rule of law prevail in our great country,” etc., etc.

Responding to Trump’s effusion, Elon Musk wrote on Twitter: “The Constitution is greater than any President. End of story.”

That sounds pretty uplifting. Taken in isolation, I agree with it myself.

But have you run it by Woodrow Wilson, for example, or Barack Obama, or Joe Biden?

The terrible truth is that the left thinks the Constitution is “sacrosanct” and natters on about “the rule of law” only so long as such rhetoric can be used to further its own policies.

Absent that, it’s “mostly peaceful protests,” threats against Supreme Court justices, and the weaponization of the FBI, the IRS, and the surveillance apparatus of the deep state all the way down.

Nor is the response a matter of what Nigel Molesworth called the “tu quoque” strategy.

Sure, had anything remotely as serious as what Taibbi’s Twitter revelations are uncovering been discovered about Trump or about other Republications, it would be wall-to-wall, front-page apoplexy in The New York Times and the rest of the consulting-class press for weeks.

Just as in 2016, we’d be treated to round-the-clock denunciations, bulletins that the election was illegitimate, and demands that it be overturned.

But none of that comes near to what Trump actually said.

The ever-percipient Sarah Hoyt, writing at Instapundit, got it exactly right.

“What he’s saying,” Hoyt wrote, “is that we are PAST the rules, regulations and articles of the Constitution. Which we knew didn’t we? This was a color revolution, which means a revolution that uses the country’s rules and regulations against the country to install a usurping entity under the cover of law.”

Pay attention, now. Hoyt is on a roll. “By definition, there isn’t a way to remedy this situation within the law. Because the laws were subverted against us and themselves.”

If so, then what? Again, I think Hoyt gets it in one: “Trump is—as he always does—trying to get people to talk about things. He’s not calling for war or revolution. He never did.”

This is true, though you wouldn’t know it if you peeked in on the Liz Cheney–Nancy Pelosi Jan. 6, 2021, circus.

Hoyt ends, as I will, with some sage advice: “Put you [sic] panties back on and stop twisting them. He’s trying—probably stupidly and quixotically—to solve this without calling for kinetic solutions. Because if we tip into that pot, we might never come out again as a Constitutional Republic.”

There are forces that are eager to see the back of that form of “government if you can keep it.”

But the fomenters of that ambition aren’t named Trump, even though you wouldn’t know that by listening to the omniscient folks who are determined to run your life.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Roger Kimball is the editor and publisher of The New Criterion and publisher of Encounter Books. His most recent book is “The Critical Temper: Interventions from The New Criterion at 40.”