Medved: Can a new Trump victimhood campaign win back the White House?

Jul 28, 2023, 1:20 PM

trump campaign...

FILE - Former President Donald Trump visits Café du Monde in New Orleans, July 25, 2023. Lawyers for Donald Trump are meeting with members of special counsel Jack Smith’s team as a potential indictment looms over the former president’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

Facing more than a half-dozen hostile legal proceedings before next year’s presidential election, can Donald Trump mount an effective campaign of innocent, aggrieved victimhood that will return him to power in the White House?

In other words, will the crowded schedule of indictments, investigations, depositions, and trials serve to boost or block his pending presidential ambitions?

More from Michael Medved: A history of misery shapes Russian suffering today

A recent caller to my daily radio show made a novel argument on behalf of the former president’s unprecedented strategy and introduced a provocative analogy to explain why the legal and political forces arrayed against him are likely to fail.

Identifying himself as a high school teacher named Tim in Snohomish, Washington, my guest suggested that the situation in today’s national politics resembled a school that’s been horribly, constantly disrupted by a plague of cruel and unconscionable bullying. The offenses follow a consistent pattern in which a clique comprised of the most popular, privileged, and arrogant students regularly persecutes a noble outcast who doesn’t fit in.

The situation becomes so dangerous and destructive that disciplinary expulsions are not only appropriate, but required. The question for administrators: Should we punish the whole crowd of spoiled thugs at fault in this situation or try to remove the one long-suffering soul who has been their unfortunate victim?

In Tim’s perspective, the former president is the incorruptible non-conformist who, as a matter of conscience and conviction, refuses to submit to the expectations of the haughty establishment, the governmental and media elites who comprise the all-powerful deep state and can’t tolerate Donald Trump’s unbending determination to drain the putrid swamp that has become their comfortable habitat.

This line of thinking helps to explain the odd phenomenon that sees Trump’s poll ratings improve with each new charge against him. Having already survived two impeachment attempts to drive him from office, the so-called “Russia Hoax,” the dubious dossier, decades of questions about his business practices and tax returns, the “Access Hollywood” tape, and the payment of hush money to a porn star, the MAGA Man has made his pursuers look not only relentless but ineffectual.

Gee Scott: Trump ‘has to go to jail, it’s not rocket science’

To his loyal supporters, the fact that no prior president endured prosecution for mishandling classified documents doesn’t show Trump as distinctively irresponsible but as uniquely targeted by unscrupulous and implacable enemies. Each fresh accusation makes its predecessors seem less serious and singular, not more so, indicating a pattern of pointless persecution, not personal wrong-doing.

As the analogy about one brutally bullied student would seem to indicate, the ferocious focus on Trump’s personal shortcomings also helps in a strange way to elevate his stature –the same way that a school would devote special attention to any kid who suffered cruel and consistent abuse.

As the undisputed center of attention and controversy, the former president confirms the conviction of his loyal followers that their hero plays a gigantic, utterly disproportionate role in this moment of history.

While war rages in Ukraine, deficit spending menaces our economic future, homelessness and rising crime afflict our major cities, the multiple charges against Trump seem to suggest a blinding obsession on the part of his political foes who, recalling the indelible images of Gulliver’s Travels, look like tiny, irrelevant Lilliputians struggling vainly to bind and subdue a giant they can’t comprehend but instinctively fear.

The fears about bullying, the “weaponization” of government, and the politics of personal destruction threaten the national welfare not through needless battles but by paralyzing distraction. Instead of a much-needed new willingness to cooperate in addressing the most pressing common problems, we deploy ubiquitous assaults on the opposition. Trump’s prosecutors were hardly the first to lead lusty chants that demanded that the leaders of the other side should promptly be locked up.

More from Michael Medved: Overstating the dangers to Democracy

Just as an educational institution damaged by a plague of bullying will find less time for learning or development of constructive connections among the student body, so too a political system in which both parties claim victimhood and accuse each other side of persecution will be unable to address the nation’s most substantive challenges.

In announcing his candidacy, Trump promised Americans who felt disregarded by the Democrats that he would become “your voice, your justice, your retribution.” The overriding conviction on the part of the candidate himself that he has been treated unjustly gives rise to the reasonable fear that the retribution he has in mind involves personal grudges more than fresh approaches to politics or policy.

As far as conducting a revenge-seeking, victimhood campaign for the nation’s highest office, Trump’s true believers may try to persuade the public of the faults of their rivals but face a much tougher fight to establish the blameless innocence of their own eternally embattled leader.

Listen to Michael Medved weekday afternoons from 12 – 3 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3).

Michael Medved on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to michael medvedTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 12pm for The Michael Medved Show.

KTTH Opinion

Yakima City Council...

Jason Rantz

Rantz: Mayor scolded for calling 911 on ‘far right-wing’ signature gatherers

Not only were the petitioners acting lawfully while promoting mainstream views, it wasn't an emergency and should not have resulted in a call to 911.

1 day ago

Seattle Fire Department vehicles were spotted outside Seattle Police Department's West Precinct on ...

Jason Rantz

‘All clear’ given after suspicious package found outside Seattle Police West Precinct

A suspicious package with powder was found outside of the Seattle Police Department's West Precinct Wednesday.

1 day ago


Jason Rantz

Rantz: NewsBreak app striking ‘conservative’ opinions it doesn’t like

NewsBreak's X account messaged me in June, asking if I was interested in posting my content to their website and app. I was interested.

2 days ago

ACLU Marysville jail...

Jason Rantz

Rantz: ACLU of Wash. mad Marysville leaders may put criminals in jail

To Jazmyn Clark, a program director for the ACLU of Washington, jailing someone who keeps breaking the law is a draconian move.

3 days ago

Downtown Seattle shooting...

Jason Rantz

Rantz: Seattle, Tacoma leaders should take notes from Spokane on crime

Seattle is on pace for record-high homicides, and not a week goes by where there isn't some significant crime out of Tacoma

4 days ago

litter study...

Jason Rantz

Rantz: Washington litter study blames everyone but the homeless

In other words, they primarily focused on where the homeless congregate, live, and litter. So why are we getting the blame? 

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Medved: Can a new Trump victimhood campaign win back the White House?