Government & Politics

Would Jailing Clinton Usher in a Banana Republic?

The meaning of Trump telling Clinton she'd "be in jail."

Lewis Morris · Oct. 12, 2016

Donald Trump’s promise to assign a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton’s email shenanigans might be the single biggest moment that people took away from Sunday’s debate.

“If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation,” he said. That led to an exchange that featured his best line of the night. Clinton responded, “It’s awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country.”

Trump shot back, “Because you’d be in jail.”

His words have been perverted by Democrats to mean that he is advocating a “banana republic” form of government. The assumption established by Clinton’s Leftmedia super PAC is that Trump would use his presidential power to punish a political opponent, in this case Hillary Clinton.

Trump supporters are emboldened by his remarks, as the noisy crowd that Anderson Cooper admonished at the debate demonstrates. Promising to deliver justice to Clinton is red meat, but it’s also what she deserves. Yet there are a lot of undecided voters and Republicans with short memories who are in danger of being swayed by the Trump-as-Dictator rhetoric.

We can’t forget where we have been as a country for the last eight years.

Before even becoming president, Barack Obama threatened to go after the Bush administration on its handling of terrorist detainees. He made good on his promise by assigning a special prosecutor, though no charges were ever brought.

Obama and his heavily politicized Justice Department, led by Eric Holder and now Loretta Lynch, learned fast, though. Throughout the course of his administration Obama has used the DOJ (as well as the IRS and other bureaucracies) to punish political opponents or keep them in check while he pushed his agenda, consequences to the wind.

There is a whole list of people and organizations that have been attacked, shut down, and ruined by the Obama machine. See if any of these scandals that the media shoved aside ring a bell: Little Sisters of the Poor; prosecutions against governors Rick Snyder, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, Bob McDonnell and Mitt Romney; conservative nonprofits, Dinesh D'Souza, the list goes on. Even the filmmaker whose video was blamed for the “riots” in Benghazi in 2012 that led to four dead Americans was put away for a year. Clinton walked free, as did the actual perpetrators of the attack.

If the definition of a banana republic is one in which a ruler operates with impunity, shirking the law when it suits them, and punishing those who oppose them, then we are already living in a banana republic.

The ultimate banana republic moment may well have been shutting down the investigation into Clinton’s email server. The FBI found an excuse to let Clinton off the hook because they could detect impropriety but not intent. Their definition of intent remains conveniently fluid as people of lesser stature have been treated far more harshly than Clinton for less.

The timing of how Clinton was exonerated played out like a bad movie. Bill Clinton pops up out of the clear blue on the tarmac to say hello to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, promptly followed by the FBI washing its hands of the whole mess.

There are no such coincidences in politics, particularly where the Clintons are concerned. The many actions they have taken against their enemies over the years may have been what inspired Obama to be so cut-throat in the first place. And what he has done may have inspired Trump to make his jail comment.

If anything, Clinton might be secretly enjoying that Trump has promised to go after her. She didn’t seem too rattled when he said it, and she’s been gleefully watching as the media enforces her message about Trump’s dictatorial temperament.

If any message came out of Sunday’s debate, it should be that if voters want Rule of Law and want to avoid a (continued) banana republic, then they cannot vote for Hillary Clinton.

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