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The split-screen of a smug and triumphant Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann walking free from D.C. federal court, and a harried and bewildered former Donald Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro being hauled before it, following his account of a harrowing arrest and detainment, ought to be ingrained indelibly in the American mind.
It sends an unmistakable message: We can get you anytime, anywhere, on any grounds we choose. You can’t touch even a single one of ours.
If by some strange occurrence one of ours is brought before a court, the judge and jury will be rigged against you. “I dare you to ask me to recuse with an acquaintance on the stand,” the judge will say. “What’s a lie to our FBI among friends,” the jury will say. Especially when the lie is a useful one.
The institutions Democrats’ comrade colluded with will be absolved of blame by the putatively adversarial prosecutor representing you, the people. That prosecutor will be plodding, and hew to process crimes against bit players, while the statutes of limitations for the most serious crimes committed by the biggest fish lapse.
You won’t be able to discern whether he is building a masterful case to take us all down, or insulating the very institutions he has served for and with for years, and to which he ultimately answers. That’s the point.
Real conspiracies to concoct fake ones aimed at destroying your singular representative against us will neither be fully revealed nor prosecuted. You will be made to accept it, hanging on every unredacted morsel and revelation, yet waiting in vain for justice.
Conversely, if anyone who can even be remotely affiliated with you ever lashes out in any way — say, over an election in which rules were changed on the fly by non-legislators; an election in which those altered rules created an unprecedented opportunity for fraud that could never be audited because of its remote nature; an election that the most powerful institutions in the country colluded to “fortify” on behalf of their man; an election in which not a court in the land would hear the cases on their merits — it will be cast as an insurrection undertaken by terrorists. (If you raise these points, of course, you too may be cast as a potential terrorist, and at minimum censored.)
Never mind your universal condemnation of the worst acts among the small percentage of the tens of thousands of peaceful, which opponents use to smear your entire movement; that the Democrat narrative is fraudulent: that the only fatalities were found among the putative terrorists. Leftists lie about that point and won’t release the thousands of hours of footage of what transpired. They won’t tell you what their assets were doing on the ground and won’t actually charge anyone with insurrection while they equate them with 9/11 hijackers, kamikaze pilots, and Confederates.
They’ll hold some of the “insurrectionists,” even those slapped with trumped-up trespassing charges, in jail for months on end, and make their lives a living hell. They’ll argue to similarly disposed judges that political wrongthink makes Americans a danger to society, demanding they be kept in jail. They’ll argue for giving the accused terrorism enhancements in their sentences. Some will be pushed to suicide.
When their allies burn down cities, they’ll release them en masse, and if absolutely unavoidable, ensure their sentences are minimized. You won’t mind.
They’ll smear your entire political movement as terroristic in the court of Congress when they can’t do it in the court of law. They’ll pursue again your singular representative, his colleagues, allies, and on down to the most remotely related activists with a congressional probe consisting entirely of us — kind of like the juries you’ll be up in front of.
The probe will be of dubious constitutionality. It will break their own rules. It will abuse targets with the most awesome and chilling powers they have, and seek to break and bankrupt them. They won’t be able to do a thing about it. The process, at minimum, will be the punishment. If they refuse to participate in their own self-immolation, the ruling class will sic their friends in law enforcement on them to hold them criminally liable.
They’ll wreck executive privilege and destroy a whole host of norms in the process while claiming we’re defending them. Do you think your leader will hold us to account?
And then they’ll engage in a society-wide war on wrongthink aimed at smearing and toxifying anyone who dares hold your views, censoring them, hounding them out of public life, and threatening to treat them as terrorists too. They’ll begin the work of building a social credit system with American characteristics where your every wrong thought can and will be used against you.
If you question the ruling class’s authority or the legitimacy of their rule, well, they have a domestic counterterrorism plan for that. This is our democracy, you see. And in our democracy, we win, and you lose.
What do you do when your every institution has been weaponized against you? What do you do when there is a two-tier, no-justice system? What do you do when all the foundations of the system you thought we had have been eroded?
These are the questions those who ask our vote must answer. If they cannot, or will not do so — if they refuse to even recognize the magnitude and gravity of the rampant injustices we are facing as a people — they are simply unfit to lead.
Ben Weingarten is a Federalist Senior Contributor, senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and fellow at the Claremont Institute. He was selected as a 2019 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow of the Fund for American Studies, under which he is currently working on a book on U.S.-China policy. Ben writes on national security and foreign policy, economics, and politics for publications including City Journal, Conservative Review and PJ Media. He is the founder and CEO of ChangeUp Media, a media consulting and production company dedicated to advancing conservative principles. Ben is also a 2015 Publius Fellow of the Claremont Institute. You can find his work at benweingarten.com, and follow him on Twitter @bhweingarten.