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Analysis: What’s *really* at stake in Donald Trump’s legal fights




So the questions about whether he paid his taxes and how much he paid and how much he knew about the money that was paid during 2016 to two women alleging that they had extramarital affairs with him, which he denies, may not seem import com a lot month.

“Trumpism is not just him. It’s a whole way of being in the world. It’s about secrecy, domination, deception and fraud.”

That is correct. And I said better than ever.

Trump, both in his business life and in his four-year stint in the White House, embodied the idea that if you’re rich and powerful enough, you can say and do whatever you want. With whatever you want women, with money, with the government levers.
An exchange between Trump and Hillary Clinton in a 2016 presidential debate typifies Trump’s view of the world. Clinton was attacked for not paying federal taxes for several years, Trump fired: “That makes me smart.”

It’s that image of a street fighter, of a guy operating under the theory that it’s only a crime if you’re caught, that Trump has spent his entire life cultivating and his presidency was meant to normalize.

It’s hard to overstate the impact of having a president who seems to operate in a consequence-free environment. When a presidential candidate says that “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot someone and I wouldn’t lose voters, “well, he suggests to all his followers that the normal rules do not apply to him (or them).
Which brings me back to Vance ‘s research, as well as a number of other pending legal issues for Trump and his immediate family.

What is at stake here is more than if Trump broke any law. These cases also deal with whether the most powerful (and wealthy) of us are subject to the established rules that the vast majority of Americans live by.

If punished – and how – it will send a clear signal to the country about how a citizen can act, especially when they hold a powerful elected office.

This is not to say that if Trump faces serious charges in any of these cases, he or his supporters will even acknowledge the possibility of his guilt. They won’t, but they will choose to blame the “deep state” or the liberal media or something.

But for the rest of the country, it matters how Trump’s legal struggles take place. Because decisions will send a clear message about whether what you are is more important than what you did when it comes to our laws.

The point: Trump is no longer president. Trumpism is still alive. And the struggle to define what it means and what power it will have is very important.