One Year After Mar-a-Lago, Trump's MAGA Movement Won't Be Silenced
It's been over a year since the unprecedented raid on former president Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, and nearly a year since I attended Trump's rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. — his first rally after the raid.
Writing about that day, I called the rally a "pivotal moment in history." One reason I believed this was because the events leading up to and including the raid were hallmarks of oppressive regimes the likes of which America had never witnessed before. Likely referring to the arrest of ex–Trump adviser Peter Navarro and the phone confiscations of Trump associates like Mike Lindell, the Hoover Institution's Victor Davis Hanson said at the time:
Right now we don't have the rule of law in Washington. Whether you're targeted or exempt depends on your ideology[.] ... [T]he idea that you'd put [someone] in shackles, or confront him with his family and grab his phone is just ridiculous. ... When you start to do that, you don't have a democracy anymore, and I don't think we do.
Despite having heard about the persecution and imprisonment of January 6 attendees, many Americans didn't wake up to the realization that the current administration is using Soviet-style tactics to crush its political opponents until they heard the disturbing reports of the raid on Mar-a-Lago.
The crowd that gathered in Wilkes-Barre a month later knew that everything had changed. They were there to passionately support the only leader they believed could pull the country back from the brink of collapsing into a banana republic. Our suspicions had been confirmed that a politicized FBI and corrupt DOJ had been weaponized against Trump. I can tell you there were more than a few of us who half-expected government-directed thugs to storm the Mohegan Sun Arena that day, handcuff Trump, and whisk him out the back door to languish in a D.C. gulag. We were sure they would love to do this in front of his supporters as an intimidation tactic. It was clear by that time that the corrupt power-grabbers weren't just after Trump; they were after regular Americans who dared support him.
To that end, I wondered how the night would play out. At one point, a large police presence could be seen lining the inside wall on the highest level of the arena. As I ran through possible scenarios in my mind, I hypothesized that if some sort of law enforcement were tasked with arresting Trump, the crowd would certainly rush them. That would be bad for those arresting him. Or would it just give them an excuse to start firing on an unarmed crowd? I never believed I would be having those thoughts at a political rally in the United States.
Thankfully the night ended with thousands of people holding hands and singing, long after President Trump had freely boarded his plane and flown into a beautiful Pennsylvania sunset.
One year later, despite an all-out legal assault of desperately contrived lawsuits and prosecutions, those same crowds are just as passionate and determined to seem him restored to the White House.
Conversely, Trump's accusers and detractors are still as passionate about hating him and his supporters. Over at The Atlantic, one writer claims to be intentionally "trying to better understand the mind of Trump supporters." Portraying himself as the logical Mr. Spock who's just beamed down to analyze the mindless, dangerous MAGA monsters, writer Peter Wehner describes Trump as a "malignant figure" full of "moral depravity" and "ethical transgressions." Wehner then unloads on the former president with rapid rounds of Trump Derangement Syndrome, ultimately concluding that Trump-supporters suffer from cognitive dissonance. He estimates that we are the end product of "doomscrolling" (reading large quantities of negative news online). This doomscrolling turns us into fearful beings whose blurred minds have cast out intelligence, goodness, beauty, and truth. Ironically, Wehner dares to quote Brave New World author Aldous Huxley to make this point, thus positioning those who want to "Make America Great Again" as the true destroyers of humanity.
These are antagonistic accusations and a heads-up to Trump-supporters that there is much that hasn't changed over the last year: more than 1,100 people have been hunted down and arrested for attending the January 6 rally in Washington; defendants in the D.C. gulag are still being denied due process; there have been no significant voting process changes that can ensure a fair national election in 2024; and one of the greatest conservative voices of our time, Tucker Carlson, was unceremoniously silenced on his largest platform.
In spite of all this, MAGA Americans refuse to give up on their country, even as the left pulls out every stop to put an end to Trump's bid for the White House.
One year to the day after the Mar-a-Lago raid, President Trump spoke to thousands who had waited in the pouring rain for hours in Windham, New Hampshire. Days before, Trump had played to an even larger crowd in Erie, Pa., with immediate pushback from the media about the crowd size. On August 12, the crowd he drew at the Iowa State Fair looked as impressive and fired up as ever.
Some are coming to the realization that the all-out legal assault may be backfiring: an opinion article in Newsweek observed, "Prosecuting Donald Trump Only Makes Him More Popular," and New York magazine recently ran a piece titled "Charging Trump Will Make Republicans Crazier."
It's clear that Trump-supporters continue to turn out in massive numbers, a fact made even more impressive when you consider how they've been forced to renavigate their social media communications compared to 2020. It's also clear that the left is becoming increasingly desperate to silence those supporters and their constantly besieged leader as 2024 approaches. It's imperative they not let their guard down as the powerful political elite continue to belittle — and attempt to subjugate — half of the country.
Susan D. Harris can be reached at www.susandharris.com.
Image via Raw Pixel.