The following essay was slightly adapted from remarks I delivered at the Bergen County, New Jersey, ‘Hands Off My Ballot! Rally,’ hosted by the America First Republicans of New Jersey on January 27, 2024.
I was asked today to provide some remarks about the state of the presidential race and why it is so important to mobilize our base and turn out voters in this upcoming election.
As we all know from this past week’s upsetting news, justice in this country hangs in the balance, and in many areas, such as the DC and NY Federal Courts, it has already withered on the vine.
The idea that a rogue judge can arbitrarily demand that a leading presidential candidate – the leading presidential candidate – should be forced to pay $83 million for merely exercising his free speech rights should be so mind-boggling, so infuriating, to any American who has even the vaguest notion of the rule of law and due process as to make them sick to their stomach.
Yesterday’s outrageous verdict was not only election interference of the highest order, though it certainly was that.
Nor was it a simple affront to due process of law, and everything that Constitutional guarantee entails: a right to a fair trial, a right to a fair jury, and fair venue – and a right to undergo cross-examination, all of which were egregious deprived from the 45th President all throughout the course of this sham proceeding, though it was that too.
But most of all, it was an attack on the very notion of what it means to be American, or what it used to mean, at its deepest level.
America was once a place that exalted the pursuit of happiness. Indeed, it was the first and still only nation on the face of the earth that made that pursuit part of its national creed.
This foundational building block is what made America great in the past; our once unrivaled enterprising spirit was responsible not only for establishing the conditions that gave rise to Donald Trump’s fortune, but also the fortunes of so many great business leaders and statesmen throughout our history.
It was free enterprise, the outgrowth of our Constitutional guarantees to speak freely and openly and do business and pursue any number of creative endeavors unencumbered by government intrusion, that would enable America to become the dominant superpower of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the greatest empire the world had seen since Rome.
Now, all of that is in jeopardy by these decisions – which are blatant political persecutions. America is no longer a place where creative pursuits may be made without the tyrannical hand of government getting in one’s way.
Indeed, our society has been dangerously conditioned into accepting the current state of affairs as normal, when it most certainly is not.
This idea that America must be in a state of perpetual decline, almost as if by cosmic decree, is a relatively new development in the grand, albeit still young, history of our nation.
In reality, decline can and should very much be a choice. We too easily slip into the habit of believing the depressing political realities before us are irreversible, because those institutions that incubate our national consciousness, whether through the education system or mainstream media – attempt to demoralize by design.
These demoralization efforts – such as taking down statues of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Christopher Columbus; or teaching school children that every great man of the past was an evil racist slave owner; or by forcing biological men to use the restrooms, locker rooms, and compete against biological women in sporting events; or whatever else they throw at us – allows these agents of managed decline to get away with their destructive policies more easily – because an unhappy population is far more controllable than a happy one.
That New York Judge – Judge Kaplan – is a Marxist. Do you know how I know that he is a Marxist? Well, it is not just the fact that his courtroom resembles the Kangaroo courthouses and the banana republic systems of justice so common in countries just to the south of us, like Socialist Venezuela or Communist Cuba.
However, that simple analysis belies a much deeper issue that goes much beyond the mere prosecution of political enemies, which by itself is unprecedented to this degree in all American history.
It also goes to how our courts have become dangerously politicized as to give merit to a lawsuit that any other point in our history would have been tossed out of the window without second thought. In the not-so-distant past, any attorney who brought a lawsuit against anyone, let alone a President, without so much as a plausible claim of liability would have been laughed out of the profession.
Here, we have a woman who claims to have been raped but could not even remember very basic details such as, what year, the alleged incident took place.
She did not first write about this incident until some twenty-five years after it took place, and only filed a lawsuit several years thereafter when she received encouragement from a major Democratic donor, who is simultaneously also bankrolling Nikki Haley’s longshot presidential campaign.
Talk about election interference. This is the very definition of interference – and the obstruction of justice.
Another reason why Judge Kaplan, and Judge Engoron, and really any judge or district attorney going after President Trump and his enormous net worth operate like Marxists, and should be called as much, is because they are so clearly motivated by jealousy – which guides every decision they make from the bench.
They are truly resentful of the President’s success, which is striking because the courts were originally designed to protect the fortunes of those, like President Trump, who toiled over the course of a lifetime to reap the benefits of the American dream.
Due process and equal protection were never intended to be barriers to creative enterprising, but fertilizer to ensure the soil out of which the fruits of those constitutional guarantees would spring, would remain fertile, so that the engine of American innovation would be preserved long into the future.
The judges presiding over these Trump lawsuits are obviously contemptuous of the President’s success. To have valued Mar-a-Lago at only 18 million dollars, or to have demanded an 83-million-dollar damages award from a nutjob who could not even remember the year in which the allegations took place is straight out of something you might find in Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals.
These courts do not even pretend to care about the real world, nor do they hide their deep-seated envy for Donald Trump for achieving the kind of success, both in politics and in business, that they can only dream of.
Their ire does not simply have to do with the fact that Donald Trump is a billionaire: that is just one part. It also and mainly has to do with how he made his money, building structures that exist in the real world, which puts him at odds with so many other billionaires around today, who have made their fortunes in media, Big Tech, and finance – all fields where wealth cannot be linked back to a tangible, physical product.
Trump’s buildings, by sharp contrast, can be grasped by anyone who happens to walk past them on the street: they exist in the real world and are obviously products of creative labor, almost like a painting or Broadway play.
They are, in short, works of art – and in our artistically starved day where originality has basically ceased to exist, any sign of a creative spirit makes people uncomfortable, for it is so foreign to what they have become accustomed to in an era of imitations, remakes, and spinoffs.
Trump, in a word, is an original. I want to close these remarks by discussing what all this has to do with getting involved in the presidential delegate process in a state considered deep blue like New Jersey, or in my home state of New York, just across the river.
Many conservatives and Republicans have lost all hope in these once great states; you often hear, especially on social media, from conservative influencers about the need to “get out of blue states and blue cities.” I reject this sentiment and I will explain why.
First, it implies that the situation is hopeless, and that conservatives must submit to this narrative of despair and forever decline, which is a loser’s mentality.
Second, by extension, it implies that conservatives are weaker, less intelligent, less organized, and less competent than their political enemies whose entire ideology is based on selecting against merit and competence to elevate disadvantaged minorities like transgender people, illegal aliens, and those with mental illness.
If we cannot even fight back against these groups, which the Left idolizes and places on a pedestal, giving them lucrative jobs on Wall Street and admitting them to our most prestigious universities like Harvard, then I would submit to you that we deserve to lose.
Are we that pathetic as a movement that we cannot pushback, even just a little bit, against some of the most degenerate people this country has ever seen?
Do we believe the people who advocate for Drag Queen Story Hour, which is a central doctrine for the Democratic Party, are truly criminal masterminds – super geniuses who cannot be outsmarted by people on our side? I do not believe that one bit, and I hope you feel the same way.
When Donald Trump first started building in NYC in the late 1970s, New York was then in dire straits. People, just like today, were leaving the city in droves. Everyone thought the timing was horrible to begin a career as a real estate developer.
But he refused to listen to his critics and allowed his own convictions to guide him. As a result, he almost single-handedly revived New York from obsolescence, and catalyzed the boom and renewal that New York went through in the 1980s and 1990s.
That was the work and vision of a single man. We should take inspiration from his example and regain confidence that New Jersey and New York can also be reinvigorated.
It will take a lot of hard work; we face a great deal of opposition: much of it from our own party. But it can be done, because there is no ironclad law in the universe that says decline is inevitable.
Great civilizations are made by great men, and the politics of renewal is found in creators like Donald Trump who stand against the prevailing consensus and have the audacity to tell everyone: there is another way.
Paul Ingrassia is a Constitutional Scholar; a two-time Claremont Fellow, and is on the Board of Advisors of the New York Young Republican Club and the Italian American Civil Rights League. He writes a widely read Substack that is regularly posted on Truth Social by President Trump. Follow him on X @PaulIngrassia, Substack, Truth Social, Instagram, and Rumble.
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