by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Christopher Bedford of the Federalist uses the Trump arraignment to contrast the political left from the right.
It’s notable, though, that while the former president has been the illicit target of shadowy figures in the past (from former intel chiefs to current National Security Counsel staffers), the man who finally pressed charges is a fairly standard leftist.
Far from some mastermind playing three-dimensional chess, Alvin Bragg appears by all accounts to be a mid-level attack dog, eager to please a left-wing base. And that very fact, as much as any of the high-ranking conspiracies against the former president, illuminates the striking difference between the American left and its political opponents.
Let’s compare. Despite the chorus of execrations, Republicans’ “lock her up” chants were so much political theater. Sure, they could yell it real loud and even print it on hats, T-shirts, and bumper stickers, but it was never going to happen. While liberal reporters and politicians launched accusations of fascism over the chants and the merchandising, conservatives never really had the power to affect as hardline a policy as they were accused of. Under President Trump, Hillary Clinton wrote books, did podcasts, and worked on documentaries about herself, while FBI leaders colluded against the White House, and FBI agents kneeled before anti-Trump protesters. Right-wing fascism, this was not.
The American left, in stark contrast, actually has the power to undermine administrations and even arrest its enemies. The power is innate, wielding it doesn’t even take beaming some nefarious order from the top — the institutions themselves are thoroughly captured.
President Barack Obama, for example, didn’t need to call Lois Lerner and order her to use the Internal Revenue Service to hobble conservative nonprofits, just as U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland didn’t have to order FBI tactical teams to target Christians after Roe was struck down. All it takes is mid-level functionaries who believe their cause is just, are willing to use their powers to punish their political enemies, and aren’t really afraid they’ll ever be held accountable for it.