Donald Trump Is Plotting His Next Crime

Black and red background with image of former President Donald Trump on the left-hand side and on the right-hand side, a vertical three-panel compilation of images of the White House, a ballot with Biden and Trump on it and imagery from the Jan. 6 insurrection.

In 2016, Donald Trump seemed to pull an inside straight by narrowly winning Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin while losing the popular vote by three million. We now know, Trump committed 34 felonies to win that election.

Without these crimes, he seems almost certain to have lost to Hillary Clinton. She would have been sworn in on Jan. 20, 2017. She would have filled two Supreme Court vacancies and enacted her legislative agenda.

Roe v. Wade would never have been overturned. The progress made under the Obama administration would have been continued. Following a global pandemic, millions might still be alive.

As we reflect on the outcome of the New York trial, we should pause to acknowledge that history was tragically derailed by Trump’s felonious conduct.

Trump continued his election crime spree in 2020. This time, it largely took place in the aftermath of an election he was surprised he did not win. When his frivolous legal attacks failed to overturn the result of President Joe Biden’s seven million vote victory, he resorted to fake electors, racketeering and insurrection.

While criminal trials in those cases have been delayed, the evidence is overwhelming. His defense to the Washington, D.C. criminal case hinges on a theory of presidential immunity that would allow presidents to assassinate their political opponents and stage coups.

At the outset of his candidacy, the media discounted his bravado that he “could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody” and wouldn’t lose any voters. At the time, we were told to take Trump seriously but not literally. History has shown that was a mistake.

If Donald Trump succeeds, there will be no justice for him. He will become the autocrat he promises to his supporters.

Career criminals rarely stop unless they are apprehended and punished. Narcissistic authoritarians feed off abusing power and violating norms and laws. Sociopaths never develop a conscience.

The morning after his criminal conviction in New York, Trump gave a rambling speech attacking the judicial system and lying about the verdict, prosecutors and judge. Buried in his remarks was this line: “I’m willing to do whatever I have to do to save our country and to save our Constitution.”

In an interview with Fox News, he warned that the public might not “stand for” a criminal punishment. He ominously predicted that “at a certain point, there’s a breaking point.”

When Donald Trump says he will do whatever he has to do, he means it as a threat. When he talks about breaking points, he is threatening violence.

Trump has already told us he will only accept the outcome of the 2024 election if he wins. He recently claimed he won Minnesota in 2020. In fact, he lost by over 200,000 votes. He is claiming that absent fraud, he will win New York and New Jersey in 2024.


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Trump is planning his next crime. We don’t yet know the exact details, but we know it involves subverting the will of the voters and undermining free and fair elections. And we know that he will spare nothing and no one who gets in his way.

Already his campaign and their allies are suing states to throw out election rules to sow chaos by throwing out the rules by which elections are conducted. They are litigating to criminalize voter registration, increase the number of ballots that are discarded and purge voters. Perhaps most chilling, they assert a constitutional right to harass election officials and voters.

Most importantly for this fall, Trump and his allies are focused on empowering election deniers to refuse to certify election results. They tried this in a handful of places after the 2020 election. Now they are far more organized. Democracy is in far more danger.

This time Trump will have more willing accomplices, more committed conspirators. Rather than a misfit band of lawyers and a handful of sycophants, this time he will have nearly every Republican senator, congressman, governor and state attorney general at his disposal. His grassroots army of followers is more primed to take extreme action, including violence.

Meanwhile too many elites in politics and the media insist that the threat is overblown. Over expensive wine and canapes, they denounce partisanship as the real evil. They take pride in seeing two sides where this is only one; shades of gray, where there is only black and white. They smugly ignore the possibility and consequences if they are wrong.

If Donald Trump succeeds, there will be no justice for him. He will become the autocrat he promises to his supporters. The rule of law and democracy will be irreparably damaged.

Trump is plotting his next crime. We must do everything we can to prevent it.