In response to a New York Times report Monday about Donald Trump’s legal strategy, Rachel Maddow laid out for MSNBC viewers the stakes of the 2024 election, as she sees them.
Concerned by the news that Trump’s plan is to win the 2024 presidential election and then use the levers of power to make his myriad legal problems go away, Maddow warned that if he wins, it means he’s “probably president for life.”
Maddow also connected all of that to the surge in right wing violence against racial minorities and members of the LGBTQ over the last few years, and urged people not to act “as if our politics exists in a vacuum somewhere outside the rest of our lives.”
Watch the whole clip above.
Maddow’s commentary was inspired by a Monday morning New York Times report written by Alan Feuer, which says, “Trump has made no secret in private conversations with his aides of his desire to solve his jumble of legal problems by winning the election. If either of the two federal trials he is confronting is delayed until after the race and Mr. Trump prevails, he could seek to pardon himself after taking office or have his attorney general simply dismiss the matters altogether.”
After reading that section aloud, Maddow continued: “I know that learning that Trump has been saying that privately to his staffers is not shocking news per se, right? We’ve known that was probably what he was planning, probably what he was thinking… It does seem sort of significant that that’s what he’s now telling people. That’s what he’s telling people he’s gonna do. He will ‘solve his jumble of legal problems by winning the election.’”
“And whatever you think about that, that’s how he’s thinking about that,” Maddow continued. “What does that say about the election for all of the rest of us, right? It means in his own mind and those of his campaign and his supporters, presumably, these are the stakes. And again, whatever you think about that as a legal strategy for Trump, that is how he is thinking about the election. And that is how he is going to be talking to his supporters and his aides and his campaign about the stakes of the election.”
In light of this, Maddow argued, “the election means one of two things, if this is the way he’s going to approach it: Either he loses the election and he goes to prison. Or he wins the election. He doesn’t go to prison.”
“And that, is that for life that he gets to be president? Will we keep having more elections, or No? If every election is a new opportunity for him to go to prison, do you think he allows us to have new elections?” Maddow asked.
“If those are the stakes, if winning the election is his plan to stay out of prison, what happens in that election if and when he does not win it? Does that kind of an election end with a graceful concession to a fair and square reelected President Biden?” Maddow continued.
“If Trump and his supporters see the stakes as ‘losing and going to prison,’ or ‘winning and being president’ — and probably president for life — how should we expect that he and Republican Party and Republican officials in swing states are going to handle the conduct of that election that Trump may very well lose?” Maddow said.
“And because we are prone to forget, we have to say out loud that we would be remiss, we would be willfully naive, to ask that question as if our politics exists in a vacuum somewhere outside the rest of our lives, as if the politics pages are totally different than the crime pages,” Maddow said. “As if we are not in a moment where far right politics is coinciding with far right violence with regular shows of force from paramilitary extreme right groups and with acts of violence by people who are explicitly and admittedly motivated by far right elimination as political ideas.”
“We are prone to forget, but we do not have to forget. So what what should we know, what can we know about what happens in the far right politics? When it appears to be in nexus with far, far right violence that right now is just pinging off the charts,” Maddow concluded.