October 10, 2016

I’M OLD ENOUGH TO REMEMBER WHEN DEMOCRATS THREATENED TO TRY W AS A WAR CRIMINAL AND “FROG MARCH” KARL ROVE TO PRISON: Donald Trump threatens to lock up Hillary Clinton.

If that exchange took place in a foreign country, American diplomats would be denouncing it. It ought to be regarded as the evening’s most important moment, and its most shameful: the violation of a democratic principle that distinguishes free polities from authoritarian ones. . . .

All the same, it was a telling, lamentable milestone in America’s politics. Mr Trump had already set new lows in decency, honesty and intellectual incoherence. With his threats against Mrs Clinton he took a step down a dark road that every American should renounce.

It’s not that they’re wrong, it’s that their outrage is inevitably selective. Also, while we’re talking about banana republic stuff, note that while Trump made a threat, Hillary actually saw a filmmaker jailed in order to support a political narrative. I don’t recall The Economist speaking so strongly about that. . . .

protectanddefend

UPDATE: Scott Shackford: Trump’s Call for Clinton’s Prosecution Is Only Deemed ‘Outrageous’ Because of the Target: The nominee can protect herself with ease. What about everyday Americans?

This exchange has led to “Oh my God, Trump wants to jail his political enemies, and this is further proof he wants to turn America into a banana republic” punditry and some analysis of how a president might be able to abuse executive power.

I have absolutely no doubt that Trump idolizes strongman-style leaders. He’s made it abundantly clear that he cares only about “getting things done” and has no concern—or even grasp—of the limitations of the president.

Nevertheless, the pearl-clutching response to this deliberately ignores the very real anger over how Clinton seems to have been treated differently by the same Department of Justice that tends to throw the book at “normal” Americans. In actuality, even Trump knows full well he can’t just send Clinton to a prison cell. He said he’s going to investigate her. He believes she’ll end up in jail as a result of this investigation. And as Jacob Sullum noted earlier, Clinton remains remarkably insouciant about the reality of how potentially serious her private email server scandal was.

Lost in the massive media blitz that began on Friday over Trump’s disgusting way of talking about women was the fact that Jeffrey Hurant, the CEO of gay escort site Rentboy.com, would plead guilty to federal charges of promoting prostitution and would not appeal the government’s demand that he fork over $10 million in revenue the site had earned.

Hurant is not accused of doing anything more than facilitating consensual sexual contact between men. When the Department of Homeland Security first helped the New York Police shut them down, there was no evidence of human trafficking or nonconsensual activity. But they were also making a lot of money, and that’s exactly what the government jumped at, immediately attempting to seize Rentboy’s profits. And they’ve succeeded.

Why is there more outrage about Trump wanting to have Clinton investigated by the Department of Justice than there is about how the DOJ and federal government treats everybody else?

Laws are for the little people. Trump was threatening one of the Big People, which is why the other Big People and their hangers-on are so upset.