How GOP's Vicious Threats Help Them Avoid Justice
Alexander and Yevgeny Vindman with their older brother Leonid (center) Credit: @AlexandraChalup Twitter
February 12, 2020

I've written how Trump's style of threats are successful through the combination of big money, hidden leverage and mob lawyers. Today I want to illustrate how the GOP is using Trump Brand Threats™ to send a message to specific groups in order to get them to stop fighting--especially after a win. 

It's hard to see now but there will be a time when Trump is no longer President. I'm not sure how it will happen but he and his GOP supporters are preparing for that future. These are the threats and messages they are sending now designed to avoid accountability after Democrats win elections:

If you win don't come after us or we'll start a civil war
Supporting points"We have the guns. We can still legally bring them to protests. What are you going to do? Arrest us? Take our guns?"

We will be intractable in the legal system
"We have the judges. Even if we don't win out right we will drag out the process for years. Do your prosecutors really have a solid case? We got Cliven Bundy and his kids off!" Cliven Bundy standoff case thrown out - January 30, 2018 The Oregonian

Coming after us means you are just like us!
"The left are hypocrites. They say they are pursuing justice but it's really retaliation. They are becoming just like us! If you don't believe us, listen to people on the LEFT who are saying to forgive and move on."

The Right Wing Media will target prosecutors and witnesses to destroy their lives
"We don't have to tell the truth. The government can't stop us, it's against the 1st Amendment! We have an audience and will use it 24/7 to attack Democrats. We don't even need to be profitable anymore thanks to Dark Money!"

6 Groups That Help The GOP Avoid Justice For Their Crimes

These messages also reach other groups who wittingly and unwittingly can help the GOP escape justice for their crimes.

1) Moderate Democratic politicians
2) The Main Stream Media
3) The violent right: both real ones and the ones who bluster online
4) Concern trolls: both fake ones on the right and real ones on the left.
Political consultants
Oligarchs: both foreign and domestic 

This week Schumer asked that every agency inspector general investigate retaliation against whistleblowers who report presidential misconduct. (Politico) It was a good move but there needs to be a better understanding of how Trump and the GOP use threats to manipulate people in the future.

The hidden and delayed benefits of threats won't be obvious until after the Democrats win. 

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and his twin brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, after being fired in apparent retaliation for Alexander's testimony in Trump's impeachment inquiry. Credit: CNN Screengrab
When Dems win they are pushed to “look forward not backward.” This often means dropping legitimate investigations & prosecution of lawbreaking Republicans and powerful groups.

We saw this from Obama following the George W. Bush years. Obama's failure to hold people accountable for their crimes emboldened them. It also blocked significant change.

It is essential to make it clear that investigating, arresting and convicting people for actual crimes is necessary for justice and for change.

Here are the reasons and excuses given by the six groups to drop investigations and prosecutions of GOP crimes.

1) Moderate Democrat Politicians 
Right now I see Sen. Klobuchar talking the most about the people in America coming together. She is trying to appeal to the voters who remember decent Republicans. These are the voters don't want to believe that their neighbors might be hateful, racist and cruel. "He seems so nice at Church. "

This appeal works on people who are exhausted by the constant fighting and attacking they see from the right. When they hear "coming together as one nation", they are thinking about their neighbors or family on the right. They are NOT thinking of the lawbreaking GOP politicians who rode hate and anger to victory.

These "come together and let it go" voters just want the arguing to stop. They would like for Trump and GOP supporters to admit they were wrong and change their views, but they don't want to start new arguments with their neighbors and family. That would be ungracious.

2) The Main Stream Media 
It’s important to see that the mainstream play a huge role in blocking any investigations and prosecutions of Republican elected officials.. The media will DEMAND that a Democrat winner “reach across the aisle” and work with some mythical moderate Republicans vs the actual lawbreaking, craven ones who exist today and might be re-elected in November.

3) The Violent Right “We’re crazy and have guns!”
The right’s constant threats of violence play a role in blocking future prosecution following an election. “Start going after our defeated leaders and we will go crazy!” This is an idea that is pushed hard in social media and not all of it is coming from inside the US.

4) Concern Trolls
A fourth group blocking justice are concern trolls. The ones from the right appeal to the stated values of the left. If they see Democrats going after politicians they will scream. "Hypocrites! You called us vindictive, but here you are punishing your political opponents!” (This falls under the "Why aren't you tolerant of the intolerant?" category of blather.)

But the biggest win for Trump Brand Threats™ for evading justice will come from some on the left. “We need to be merciful. We can pass laws so it won’t happen again but arresting and punishing Republicans will take our energy away from getting our agenda passed." These people will need to be reminded that demanding accountability IS what many people voted for. Lack of accountability in the past enabled corruption to grow.

5) Political consultants “Don’t upset the swing voter who didn’t vote for you!”
An excuse to not follow up on prosecution of crimes is the concern of upsetting the independent swing voters--who probably didn’t vote for Democrats anyway. In the primaries an appeal to the right leaning swing voters is different than in the general. The consultants stress over people who put themselves in decision making positions with their 'I'm undecided" talk.

Establishment political consultants do NOT want to satisfy the dedicated people on the left who WANT investigations. They will tell their candidates to move forward. “Don’t get bogged down in the past. It will be a really hard fight. If you expend your political capital and don’t get a conviction you will look vindictive.”

They don't really want the system to change. "Keep your powder dry" is their motto. For them things going back to normal means the GOP still gets away with crimes and Democrats have to resign from office for the appearance or rumors of crimes.

6) Oligarchs: Both foreign and domestic
 A big part of Trump's power base are oligarchs. If you are a domestic oligarch you can say, "I'm in a position to pick the candidate who won't be as hard on oligarchs and super rich. Remember how we convinced Obama not to take us on? We told him it would be bad for the country (i.e. rich people like us) if he punished us. It worked! None of us went to jail!"

The foreign oligarchs who aren't winning with Trump will look to support the candidate who will have the least desire to prosecute oligarchs and super rich.

"Bookmark my words" 
I know that it's really hard to think of a positive future now. As a time traveler I can see the messages the GOP are inserting into the narrative now expecting them to pay off in the future.  If you are a believer in the many universes theory making people aware of how the GOP are using Trump Brand Threats™ now will help us to resist them in the future.

The good news is that for all the pressure from all the groups I mentioned there are also people who understand the need for accountability, justice and change.  Between now and November there will be continual outrageous acts of lawbreaking by Trump and cover ups by the GOP. New information will leak and be disclosed. In addition to information about Trump we should be looking into all the reasons GOP politicians support him. 

To remove Trump for his crimes we also need to expose ALL the pressures on GOP senators. The fear of getting mean tweets or a presidential nickname is different than the fear of being exposed for criminal acts or obstructing justice. If we find out a senator is being blackmailed for crimes they committed or crimes they covered up like Jim Jordon, they can be removed for cause. We don't have to wait until Trump is out of office to start and when he's gone we shouldn't stop.

Investigating, arresting and convicting people for actual crimes is necessary for justice and for change. 

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