Happy Friday Bernie & John! I will not vote for Donald Trump because he is a big sack of dodo. Joe Biden is not any better. I do believe if Trump was a Democrat that no charges would have been filed against him. QED

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It's sometimes challenging to play the "What if he were a Democrat?" game with Trump, because it's very hard to imagine ANY other president, from either party, would do so many of the things Trump has -- in this case, well-detailed, alleged criminal activity.

I would agree that the NY indictment wouldn't have happened.

I do think the Florida one would have happened. Again, Trump wouldn't have been charged with any of it had he just given back the documents, once the National Archives realized he had them and requested their return. Instead, he fought over it, and lied about it, for well over a year. He obstructed the investigation, showed top-level classified material to random people, and would have continued to. The only real alternative to not addressing the matter legally would have been to just let Trump keep the stuff, which would have been entirely unacceptable.

The January 6 related indictment is a tough one, again in the sense that anyone other than Trump (D or R), who did what Trump did, would have -- I believe -- received an impeachment conviction -- an action that likely would have prevented the intense investigations that followed... which uncovered additional, potentially criminal corruption. I've said it many times, but not convicting Trump back then was one of the worst political calculations imaginable. What he did amounted to an egregious, unprecedented abuse of power, and the party and country has paid (and will continue to pay) a steep price for him being letting off the hook.

I do think the Georgia indictment would have happened. The D.A. may be a Dem, but those at the center of the evidence of Trump's alleged criminal charges are Republicans who support the legal process she's going through.

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BTW. - agree with you on Larry Elder, but Chris would be in my top three choices as his running mate and in a sober moment not yours either I expect. It was a totally predictable tragedy for Californians that he is not their governor.

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Bernie and John: I am more convinced than ever that we are not a serious country. Case in point is that we support candidates who are not electable and aren’t serious about governing. Vivek Ramaswamy speaks well and advocates for conservative principles, but he hasn’t done the hard political work of governors like Ron DeSantis or Nikki Haley. On the other side, AOC and the Squad would rather influence policy through social media than actual legislation. Of course, Trump is in a category by himself with his own brand of bluster and cult-of-personality. When will we as voters start noticing again that complaining is easy, governing is hard, and anything close to the former just gives us a sugar high with little long-term satisfaction?

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Re: The indictments

1. I agree, from what I've read, that the NY indictment is the weakest - not because he didn't do what they charge, but because it contends that the aggregation of misdemeanors collectively constitute a felony. I don't believe the indictment is inherently political; you have to realize that ever since he scammed a New York Times reporter into believing he was worth $200 million by showing her his father's properties and claiming they were his, Trump has been a big-time shady New York operator. They started getting leverage with his charity which he used as a private checkbook, then got some proof of his misstating asset values to avoid taxes, and got a conviction on that. In the process they collected evidence of his hidden payoffs, and took that on as well. I suspect it's more a comeuppance after decades of slippery manipulation than Democrats persecuting a Republican candidate.

3. Jack Smith's case relating to the attempted coup is, as you say, tricky. What Trump did was so inconceivable that there was never a specific law passed against it. He has to be held accountable, but how? And Smith also had to limit and structure the indictment so it could be fast-tracked - thus the unindicted co-conspirators and focus on Trump alone.

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A preview - my question for next week will be some form of “ does Vivek have a chance” in this crazy year and the most likely voter alternatives being two really unlikeable and possibly criminal alternatives? Think we will know a lot more after the debates and following polling and that event will then frame the debate.I was a fan of his and had seen several interviews before he was even being mentioned and subsequently announced, but thought that given his lack of political experience that he was probably “ not ready for prime time” and the national spotlight as even many previous older and more experienced politicians have proven to be ( think Marco Rubio and Rand Paul in 2016) but I have been very impressed by his performance so far. Clearly his youth and straight talk differentiate him from everyone else in the field. So stay tuned.

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