The stance of most GOP 2024 candidates on the charges faced by Donald Trump is that they should be delayed until after the election or dropped completely, with the "empowering" tagline of "Let the voters decide!" Ron DeSantis is a perfect example of this trope:
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said it's up to voters to decide whether former President Donald Trump's legal woes are disqualifying, as Trump faces the possibility of a third criminal indictment.
DeSantis made the comments in an interview Thursday in Iowa with CBS News senior White House and political correspondent Ed O'Keefe, on the same day Trump's attorneys met with federal prosecutors in the special counsel's office in Washington, D.C.
The Florida governor has staked out a middle ground on the topic of Trump's ongoing legal battles, often accusing federal prosecutors of going forward with politically motivated indictments, though he also stops short of defending Trump.
"At the end of the day, voters make that decision," DeSantis told O'Keefe. "Some people to ask me like, 'Well, if somebody's indicted, should they be able to run?' The problem is we've seen political indictments. I mean, I think Bragg was political. You have these other — these people. So, that would just give any prosecutor the ability to — to render someone ineligible. So, I've not said that. But I also think just at the end of the day, the election's got to be about the future."
So yeah, let's talk about this.
Let's talk about how Republicans want to leverage the voters in order to dismiss the charges against Trump, increasing in both number and severity as the weeks roll on. The GOP basically is confirming Trump is above the law even when not in the Oval Office. The theory is that being the leading GOP candidate indemnifies Trump despite the serious charges against him.
And since all the charges came from ordinary citizens in grand juries, then it's 100% up to ordinary citizen voters to determine if Trump should face any actual consequences, and that none of those consequences can involve state or federal criminal charges. "The worst is he loses the election, and he should be left alone after that."
But DeSantis also brings up another point when he says "that would just give any prosecutor the ability to — to render someone ineligible". What Republicans doing criminal acts are really worried about is that if Trump can be arraigned, they can too. We'd live in a world where being in political office offers no protection from charges. That worries them, but it also serves as a warning: that Republicans will order Democratic opponents to be arrested and charged in order to disqualify them from office too.
And it's because all these Republicans believe there are no merit to these charges whatsoever, laws are for those people, not national Republicans. Every politician is crooked in their worldview, enriching themselves the way Trump did in office, making billions and taking billions -- that's the point of being a politician. They're all guilty of something, but we look the other way in order to function as a society. That silent agreement has been broken, that's more of an offense than anything Trump could ever be charged with. Just as being called a racist is worse than actual racism to Republicans, charging Trump with crimes is worse than Trump actually being a criminal.
Finally, Republicans want voters to be involved. "You have the power to stop this travesty of justice, but if you elect me instead of Trump because you're worried he'll go too far, well I'll still make sure Joe Biden and Barack Obama and Hillary and Bill Clinton all go through this as well. I'll put them in jail, and I'll punish them and the people who voted for them. And they will never oppose us again." That's the silent agreement they want.
Plenty will use their votes to seal that dark covenant. The other side of that agreement is that the people who vote for the GOP won't be persecuted. Everyone else is fair game.
What these folks really fear is being treated the way they want to treat the rest of us. Everything you're seeing descends from that.