The Quality of Mercy.

Forgiveness can be given to those who show remorse — but with no admission of guilt or even a shadow of regret, justice must be served.

When Ford pardoned Nixon, it was understood that Nixon would not claim innocence, much less run for President again. Trump, however, started his 2024 campaign immediately after Election Day, on November 4th.

There is no Trumpism without Trump. There will, of course, be Republican candidates who continue to run on xenophobia, racism, conspiracy theories, etc… But without a celebrity “billionaire” con artist at the helm play-acting as a political outsider, they will go as far as the campaigns of Pat Buchanan, Sarah Palin and Tom Tancredo.

Sure, Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley, and others will try the rallies and dogwhistle tweets — but no conventional politician in the GOP would ever have the showbiz chops to make the cruelty and lies truly work.

Kanye will never declare shared “dragon energy” with Nikki Haley or Ted Cruz. Mike Pence lacks the audacity to openly threaten jailing his political opponents without his orange-tinted master. Pillow salesmen will no longer comment on global health protocols from the Rose Garden. From such future spectacles, America has been saved… for now.

Which is why prosecuting Trump for his crimes is so essential. Prosecution would save the nation from not just Trump, but from Trumpism itself — the cancer of incompetence, cruelty, and corruption that can only exist if Trump is around to create it.