“Barbie” had one hell of a weekend! I’ve never seen so many groups of women out and about, proudly wearing similar pink dresses. What normally would have been wardrobe warfare, was the happiest weekend in America. It was as if Easter, Prom and an abundance of weddings with way too many bridesmaids were all occurring simultaneously.
The event the movie’s opening created was fun, just like the doll, its accessories, its comics and other small scale cinema events have been for generations. And it’s make-believe. America truly loves its make-believe.
Even larger groups of Americans are living in a land of make-believe that isn’t fun at all. They are pretending it is, but the story will end badly.
Donald Trump is running away with the Republican nomination for president in 2024. That’s real. His supporters’ fantasy is that somehow their preferred candidate’s legal woes will somehow resolve so that he can actually be elected and hold office for a second time.
That is a fantasy less believable than the land of Barbie.
Currently, Trump is embroiled in five, that’s right, five different legal matters that expose him to extreme consequences. I saw that number on a news channel chryon over the weekend and had to stop to get the list, because I had lost track.
The current matters and tentative trial beginnings are:
- A 34-count indictment of falsifying business records in New York in March;
- A federal, 37-count indictment related to classified documents in Florida in May;
- A second trial for sexual assault and defamation in New York, also in May;
- A civil business fraud case in New York brought by the state attorney general in October; and,
- The Justice Department and financial regulators are investigating Truth Social on potential violations of securities regulations.
Not on this list are two additional indictments expected in the coming days and weeks. He has been informed by the DOJ that he is the target of their investigation into the events of January 6, 2021. And in Georgia, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has asked for the court’s calendar to be cleared for two weeks next month to make room for all of the indictments coming from the election interference scheme in that state.
Even Barbie couldn’t make it through that matrix of legal doom unscathed.
Trump supporters have apparently put all of their energy into a pathetically staged attempt to pile on Hunter Biden. They hope that somehow their constituency will believe, through some unfounded theory of wrongdoing, that President Joe Biden is just as bad as their guy. One problem with their make-believe strategy is that even if all of America believed the worst version of their wild stories, Biden still would be an Eagle Scout comparatively. But that one problem isn’t the biggest problem.
That is reserved for the near certainty of conviction that comes with federal indictments. Too many supporters of the former president are looking at the indictments coming from special counsel Jack Smith as if they are impeachments, being referred to a political arena for adjudication.
Pew Research provides extensive data on federal criminal proceedings and their outcomes. Less than 1% of defendants were acquitted in all of 2022. Nearly 90% of defendants ultimately pled guilty. And 2022 wasn’t a banner year for the department. These trends are steady over time.
I watch commentary of sycophantic politicians, who are shamelessly and weirdly trying to encourage Trump’s base to keep believing in a favorable resolution with as much disgust as I have for their hero. Their attempt to destroy the credibility of American institutions and extreme whataboutism are nothing more than lies and manipulations. It’s directed at people who just don’t understand the untenable legal peril their hero actually faces.
Trump will not survive this and rise again. That is a fantasy that not only won’t happen, but the people rooting for it also don’t understand what it would mean if it did.
With all of the relentless coverage of the presidential campaign, two things have only received a little attention. First, the real likelihood of adverse verdicts the former president faces. And second, how those adverse verdicts will impact the actual election, as opposed to the irrelevant snapshots that polling provides in July of the year before it.
Imagine for a moment that you fell asleep during Barbie’s hay day and woke up today. Imagine learning everything in the Trump story all in one night at the movies, then walking out of the theater and into the voting booth.
Trump will be a convicted criminal by November of 2024. It is technically possible for that to be true and for him to be elected, but to really know what that means, it would be more like “Oppenheimer” than “Barbie.”