THE COLUMN: What If Trump Weren't on the Ballot?

Michael Walsh08 Jan, 2024 5 Min Read
Please God, no.

The upcoming 2024 presidential election is like watching the train wreck sequence from The Fugitive: you know it's coming, but no matter how many times you've seen it you can't take your eyes off it. That almost nothing good can emerge from the certain chaos that will attend the campaign all spring, summer and fall is a foregone conclusion, but there are so many variables at this moment that it's impossible to offer any remotely safe predictions. What if Biden doesn't run? What if he's unable to run? What if the Democrats pull a Torricelli Maneuver and swap him out at the last minute in the face of polls showing that Biden will definitely lose? Don't put it past them, because they've done it all, and worse, before.

That Biden has been a disaster for the country -- a virtual dictator, ruling by executive decree -- is clear to everyone. Conservatives hate it, the Left loves it, in part because in their estimation, dictatorships are the way countries should be run. They're not Marxists for nothing; this messy "democracy" stuff isn't at all for them unless it's their democracy we're talking about. With his pen and phone, Biden has blithely told the Supreme Court to kiss his ass over the issue of student loans, while at the same time giving the finger to Congress as well; he finally realized that the John Roberts Court has no divisions and the Congress has no balls and he's been in business ever since -- banning gas stoves here, mandating useless electric vehicles there. And don't even ask him where his Defense secretary is! Besides Father Time, who's going to stop him?

Let's arm wrestle, fats.

Meanwhile, a specter is haunting the GOP -- the specter of Donald J. Trump, the right man in 2016, the right man in 2020 against the bitter, lifelong hack that is Joseph Robinette, Jr. (another in the Democrats' long line of "Juniors," boys with chips on their shoulders and grudges against the world), but manifestly the wrong man for 2024, not that that matters to his remaining hordes of True Believers.

Voters who think that the disasters of the second half of Trump's term -- the inept personnel picks, the Covid lockdowns, the Summer of Floyd riots and, the cherry on top, his sore-loser exhortation to march on the Capitol after the election was lost -- won't somehow be resumed should he win another stint in the Oval Office. It's not the "mean Tweets" we should have been worried about, it was the Tweets complaining about how business is run in Washington without ever once reflecting that he, of all people, could actually have done something about it.

Yet Trump so far remains way ahead of his declared rivals in the polls. Ron DeSantis turned his campaign over to the women and children in his orbit and was transformed from a can-do guy with both a sterling resume and track record as governor of Florida into a little fella in lifts trying to project warm and fuzzy. Nikki Haley, a non-entity whose parents were both citizens of India at the time of her birth in South Carolina, is a woman. Vivek Ramaswamy talks an excellent game, but there's a whiff of the used-car salesman in his affable desperation to make the sale.

Trump, however, has so far refused to participate in any of the primary debates, preferring to project an aura of invincibility and inevitability in his stately march to re-nomination, no matter how many times he's indicted by the Biden regime. But if Trump is still thumping Biden as we approach November, you can bet the Democrats won't just sit idle: they've seen this movie, and they know how the train wreck ends.

Tanned, rested, and ready?

But what if for some reason Trump doesn't run? What if the GOP is forced by circumstances to replace him? Did Sam Bankman-Fried really offer him a $5 billion bribe not to run? Like Biden, he's old; like Biden he no longer speaks in coherent sentences when going off-script. Like Biden, he doesn't think very well on his feet anymore, preferring to slip back to shopworn rote phrases and slogans, like a washed-up comedian doing shtik for an aging audience. Granted, he's still younger and sharper than Biden, but that's not saying much. Does America really pine for a Geezer Grudge March?

So what if, against all odds, the Supreme Court upholds the Colorado challenge to his candidacy? What if, at least by implication, that the horribly misbegotten demonstrations of Jan. 6, 2021, were in fact an "insurrection" under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, the former president is in fact ineligible for federal office?

Section 3 Disqualification from Holding Office

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Standard Democrat/Lawyer Complex tactics, where the motto is always, "we could make the argument that..." and then of course they do, no matter how ridiculous the argument might be. But, hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained; all a reliance on lawyers takes is money and a lack of a shame gene, and the Left has both in nearly infinite supply. And the video evidence -- far from exculpatory -- can be viewed in ways favorable to both sides. It was certainly not the peaceable, guided-tour amble that some on the right have insisted it was, nor was it the violent Second American Revolution claimed by the Left. And, as far as the loaded word "insurrection" goes, let us not forget that liberals freely applied that word to the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles in 1992 -- and were proud of it.

So for the sake of argument, take Trump out of the equation. Then what? No matter what happens, this is the Last Hurrah for both Trump and Biden, and good riddance to them both; a healthy system of government should never devolve into a gerontocracy.

For one thing, the GOP would be forced to select a younger candidate, and one with a chance of eight-year administration; Trump would be a lame duck on Day One, and likely saddled with a transitional, unthreatening veep incapable of running on his or her own for an unassisted term -- just as Biden is now. For another, the current polls would automatically shift into something more reflective of the true state of the party, and the current battle for its soul. For a third, perhaps -- perhaps -- some of the poison now roiling the country at every level would dissipate: not so we could have a kumbaya moment (them days is gone) but so we can have a decisive ideological victory based on principles and not personalities. Otherwise this is what we face:

And we, like Harrison Ford, bound, chained, and shackled, will just be along for the ride. We're innocent, we'll shout to Lt. Gerard, to which he'll reply: "I don't care."

Michael Walsh is a journalist, author, and screenwriter. He was for 16 years the music critic and a foreign correspondent for Time Magazine. His works include the novels As Time Goes By, And All the Saints, and the bestselling “Devlin” series of NSA thrillers; as well as the nonfiction bestseller, The Devil’s Pleasure Palace and its sequel, The Fiery Angel. Last Stands, a study of military history from the Greeks to the present, was published by St. Martin's Press in December 2019. He is also the editor of Against the Great Reset: 18 Theses Contra the New World Order, published on Oct. 18, 2022, and of the forthcoming Against the Corporate Media. Follow him on Twitter: @theAmanuensis


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20 comments on “THE COLUMN: What If Trump Weren't on the Ballot?”

  1. I stumbled across this website (the pipeline) and it has been the best ringside seat I’ve had in a long time. Watching you fellas Duke it out has been delightful.

  2. If Trump is not on the ballot, all of his supporters will understand that the rigging is complete and there's nothing they can do. Anyone who thinks they will pull the lever for the 'R' pellet just because it says 'R' on it as they have in the past has yet to figure out what it is about Trump that inspires such loyalty. They are 100% guaranteed to stay home on election day and that will be an unrecoverable, fatal injury to whatever remains of the legitimacy of elections.

  3. If Trump does not run as the accepted nominee then the Democrats will know that all the lawfare, all the lies, all indictments of supporters, all the taking of judicial rights of J6 defendants worked. That is the greatest threat to democracy.

  4. The GOPe has the same problem they have had since H.W.; they represent globalist billionaire's. DeSantis and Haley are taking money from these people and neither one are likeable on a national stage.

    As far as Trump being a 'lame duck', I disagree. He has no risk to repeat all of his great policies.
    I would rather all of you influencer's - and you are Mr. Kahane - focus your energies in removing a$$holes like Mitch McConnell. People like him are the true problem.

  5. "The candidate I want has to have REVENGE as his primarily policy goal."
    Get busy digging two graves, Steve Levy.

  6. In the great Robert Novak's autobiography, The Prince of Darkness, Novak recounts a discussion with then President Reagan, alone in the Oval Office. He asked Reagan if he knew that , in the White House, he was surrounded by enemies. Reagan said yes, but he had to fill 10,000 appointments with what he could get.

  7. It's a particular legal point that revolves around the distinction of 'subject to the jurisdiction thereof", found in the opening of the 14th-A.

  8. When the feebs tell you that you *can't* have a particular candidate, then you are left with no other option. THAT IS THE MAN YOU MUST SUPPORT.
    It doesn't matter if he chapped your ass about something during the first term, it doesn't matter if he did something you didn't like, it doesn't matter if you're "tired of the chaos," because 100% of the chaos -- literally every last bit of it -- is from a fascist party unleashing mobs and lawfare IN RESPONSE to him -- you don't have another choice.
    Calling the only significant protest by Trump's supporters "sour grapes" or "sore losers" is disingenuous and two-faced in the extreme.

  9. sorry you were a #nevertrumper is 2020 so your claim Trump was the right man then is nothing but nonsense ...

    1. Your theory, alas, is faulty, since I was in the White House in 2020 discussing a role in the second Trump administration.

  10. What if? Well, the you and all your anti-Trump high-brow friends will be happy, able to hold your heads high again at the NYC-D.C. cocktail parties with the Murdoch's and their puppy-dog Paul...Ryan, not Gigot...but Gigot, too, and the other hob-nobbers at the WSJ and National Review who couldn't care a whit about anybody other than "cultured" people like themsevles, and you, and your ilk: The Swamp/Deep State? YOU are the people who made Trump NECESSARY. You all think you're Wm. F. Buckley, Jr. (well, you're NOT)! Get off your high horse.
    Keep dreaming. I'm an #ONLYTrump voters. I'll write-in Trump. I will NEVER vote for another GOPe "manufactured candidate: Haley/Romney/McCain/Bush/Dole/Bush. The GOPe

  11. I recommend a different Hollywood script in which the hero protagonists were also confronted with what appeared to them to be a hopeless fate as they found themselves inexorably pulled into the clutches of the Death Star: “You can’t win, but there are alternatives to fighting.” That alternative is to control the House and Senate and let the presidency, for a time, assume the relevancy of a modern monarchy.

  12. Well, at least it's not orthodox NRO Corner neverTrumpism; that's gotten self-parodic. The piece more or less reflects reality right up till we arrive at 2024 and the assertion Trump's lost a step, citing a perfectly normal campaigner's tendency to do things more by rote as the appearances mount. Absent better evidence, a cheap shot, sir.

    Then we arrive at the core argument, that this coming year will be far less of a rough ride if Trump somehow quietly leaves the scene. Forget the absurdity of Trump quietly ever leaving any scene, and forget too the gratuitous insult to "his remaining hordes of True Believers". I, sir, am a Trump supporter who arrived there only reluctantly but who was then very pleasantly surprised. There are many like me. (If I may offer my own gratuitous observation, Trump loathing is generally a sign of unduly valuing style over substance.)

    The only way the Dems would get even marginally nicer would be if we nominated someone who does not threaten their core grifts and scams. (Haley is auditioning for the Great Squish Hope role now Pence and Christie have faded; the base will duly dispose of her too soon enough.) Any projection of a hypothetical Trump-vanished future that assumes anyone other than a convincingly committed conservative would then get the nomination smacks of huffing unicorn-dust. And any committed conservative would be the Dems' new Literally Hitler before the nomination confetti finishes hitting the floor.

    As for the continuity argument, my take is Trump is smart enough and concerned enough for the good of the country to figure this out before the convention, take on DeSantis as VP for a (needed) four years of final apprenticeship, then support him for the following eight years. (If not DeSantis, then some other promising conservative.) If you want to work for a realistic chance of 12 good years, work for that once the primaries dust has settled. Oh, and of course, once as seems quite likely Trump takes the nomination, avoid NRO-style crypto-Demism and actively work for rather than sabotage his election. Regardless of our differing views on "lesser", all indications are that getting the lesser evil elected is going to take an extraordinary big-tent effort this year.

  13. If you think Trump is the source of any of "the poison now roiling the country at every level", perhaps I can send you a white cane and a tin cup.

  14. What exactly was the point of bringing up where Nikki Haley's parents were from? She's not my first choice, but she was born in the US. Your comment sounds really stupid, exclusionary, and like an ignorant attempt to frame her as a non-US citizen.

  15. The candidate I want has to have REVENGE as his primarily policy goal. That means:
    -- Dismissal and prosecution of all federal employees who have acted in a partisan manner, irrespective of law and public interest.
    -- Firing at least 50% of the federal workforce
    -- Elimination of rogue, anti-American agencies, including the FBI, BLS, and the Department of Education.
    -- Removal of the fake-news Hamas press from invited coverage of the federal government, thereby allowing them to continue to die a slow death from irrelevance
    -- Stop all funding to universities and colleges and institute a program to remove all administrators, faculty, staff, and students who adhere to DEI principles and/or support Hamas
    -- Commence an immense deportation exercise to reverse the crimes of the Biden administration
    -- Prosecute all Democratic office-holders for crimes (real and imagined, just like they do)
    -- Remove the climate-change hoax crowd from all association with the federal government, and stop all grants to these hoaxers
    -- Tell the UN in no uncertain terms to stop the overwhelming corruption and overt anti-Semitism or go home
    -- Spearhead federal legislation on election integrity and non-partisan definition of Congressional Districts
    -- Do not permit the census to count illegal aliens. Having an open border and counting illegal aliens in the census is an oxymoron and a blatant invitation to massive fraud.

    Of all the candidates currently running, Trump is the closest to the above. If other candidates emerge that adopt these principles, then I am MORE THAN HAPPY to consider them seriously. But as of today, a reasonable alternative does not yet exist.

  16. Hey, Mr. Kahane... Love your work, but you all forget that Trump fired James HomeyComey in the spring of 2017 and it has been never ending Lawfare against him and anyone associated with him... Kinda like our Founding Fathers such as George Clymer...

    He is PRECISELY the right man despite your insider status and thoughts, sir. RdS is being paid by the same globalists that are funding the Lawfare against Trump.

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