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Posts published in June 2023

The shape of caucuses to come

On its face, the decision last weekend by the Idaho Republican Party to set up a caucus system for choosing a presidential nominee next year can be seen simply as a sensible backup measure.

Remember that the Idaho Legislature (dominated by Republican legislators) last winter eliminated the primary for next year (whether intentionally or accidentally being a subject of some debate). So the Republican Party central committee, meeting at Challis, acted:

“Recognizing the importance of voter participation and accessibility, the State Central Committee has also passed a resolution urging the legislature to reinstate the March presidential primary. In the event that the March Presidential primary is not restored, the Idaho Republican caucus will serve as our comprehensive plan to ensure a robust Presidential selection process.”

Caucuses are not a rare way for parties to make their choices. They’re used in a number of states, and Idaho Democrats in recent decades often have used them.

They do have some issues. One is that they allow participation only for people who show up personally at a specific place at a particular hour, which helps ensure that a far smaller number of people turns out for caucuses than for primary elections.

Another issue is that, even when they’re well run, caucuses tend to be complex and hard for most people to understand - again, under good conditions and when no one particularly tries to game the system. So the question arises: Will that be the circumstance next March if Idaho Republicans then hold their caucuses?

This is a Republican Party being run by an ever more extreme and narrowly-based core, increasingly willing to strike out at fellow Republicans who stray at all from their perspective.

In another part of its business last weekend, the central committee voted to allow local central committees to, as a news report had it, “summon Republican elected officials to potentially censure them for not adhering to the party platform, with multiple censures potentially resulting in those officials unable to run as Republicans in future elections.” They delivered a vote of no confidence on Governor Brad Little and a number of legislators. And they proposed a constitutional amendment giving parties sweeping control of their primary election processes. (You can imagine what that would look like.)

Tom Luna, the former state Republican chair, said, “What happened (this weekend) does not represent the majority of the Republican party,” Luna told Idaho Reports on Saturday. “But what it did represent was the majority of the people that showed up were those that were very well organized and intent on purging the party of people that do not agree with them 100 percent of the time, whether it’s on abortion or education, whether it’s on what they view as the proper role of government.”

He called parts of the GOP organization a “politburo” which has sidelined younger Republicans and other related groups.

This wasn’t just opinion; Luna had evidence. One of his clearest data points was the party organization’s denunciation of Little, who a just year ago won his Republican primary with 52.8% of the vote (against seven opponents), winning 40 of 44 counties.

Caucus procedures are tricky under the best of conditions. It might be interesting to see what kind of rules this group of party leaders might try to lock in place for next March.

Many Republicans may be fervently hoping at this point that the Idaho Legislature manages to re-install the presidential primary election for next year.

But you wonder how many legislators will want to. After all, they may by that point have alternate marching orders from the state Republican organization.



We citizens have decided it is best to let our legislature call itself into session whenever they can get enough to sign on. So be such folly. But while our august lawmaking body does their potato field, or insurance sales work and makes no laws, not in session, some small legislative groups labor on. For there is work to do. This is a wiser strategy.

The House and Senate Health and Welfare Committee chairs, during this last legislative session agreed to sponsor a resolution to call an interim committee together to consider whether it would be wise to move Idaho Medicaid toward managed care. They are thus meeting. I’ll bet you missed it. There were no headlines. But the meeting is available for your review if you have the hour to spare for the download.

I took that time.

They aren’t dummies, this group. That is deeply reassuring to this skeptic.

Just what the heck is “managed care”? Since in modern parlance, we can put a fancy name on anything we want to sell, the buyer should always beware. Make no mistake, we taxpayers are the buyer. Just what are they selling?

And I found the legislative group to share my skepticism. When someone goes into this sort of inquiry with a passionate bias, I expect somebody somewhere to make a lot of taxpayer profit. I did not see such bias as I watched the 4-hour download.

Managed care does not rile up folks like critical race theory does. Or indeed like “death panels” did. Health care policy puts people to sleep. It’s not like you are protecting your children from groomers or predators. The sad truth is, if you want to make some progress on public policy, saving the taxpayer a dime, you need to focus on some details. And that is boring, slogging, sit in the chair and pay-attention work. And that’s what this group seems ready to do. I was a bit thrilled. Are you?

Maybe instead you want to bring your semiauto to a pizza parlor to save the children. It seems that’s the prevalent mood out there. So, I want to speak up about the courage to pay attention to the details. Nobody brandished a weapon. But we are talking big money.

For contracting with a firm to “manage care” for Idaho Medicaid mean we, the Idaho taxpayers, are entering into a $3B dollar contract. Puleeze, notice the “B”. We might spend a million on a bridge, or a new school, but BILLIONS? Who is going to ride herd on such a contract?

It was telling that the spokesperson to the Department of Administration early on in the hearing admitted, meekly, that indeed it would require another full-time hire.

So, we’re going to hire one more person to make sure they don’t rob us blind?

Idaho has, since the Republicans have taken over, continually hummed the off-tune hymn “Business is Better than Government”.

Can I remind you of these mistakes? I know, all you guys with the Trump flags on your ¾ ton pickups will consider this a waste of time, but here I go.

Idaho tried privatizing our prisons. After lots of evidence for failures, a Republican governor who had advocated for this, abandoned his run.

Then there was the IEN fiasco, for broadband in schools.

Then the Luna Laws.

Wherever there is a lot of money in Idaho government, there are contractors out there willing to do our work for us. For a slim(?) share of the (?)profit.

Forty states have Medicaid managed care contracts. We have a lot to learn from them.

Heck, Idaho even has tried managed care with our Medicaid mental health contract. We contracted managed outpatient care back in 2014.

What did other states learn from these efforts? What have we learned?

Our poorly paid interim legislators have some hard work to do.


Simpson’s earmark break

It’s surprising that the Republican Party’s state central committee – which seems hell-bent on destroying any notions of a “big tent” for the GOP – hasn’t voted to expel Congressman Mike Simpson by now.

The Second District congressman simply doesn’t pass the litmus test for “purity.” He certainly doesn’t fit the mold of the rest of Idaho’s congressional delegation – something that irritates the heck out of a lot of conservative-minded Republicans. All he does is win elections … year, after year, after year. And that irritates the conservative factions even more.

Recently, Simpson sent out a commentary promoting Community Project Funding, which is a fancy name for “earmarks.” To three members of Idaho’s delegation, and a lot of Republicans nationwide, earmarks are the root of all evil – that nasty element of congressional politics that has given us a $31 trillion debt.

For certain, Simpson is not in tune with the thinking of today’s Idaho congressional Republicans on this issue. But he’s well in line with some of the voices from the past, including the late Sen. Jim McClure and former Sen. Larry Craig. McClure was a master of landing funding for Idaho projects, sometimes through procedural votes after most of his colleagues left town for a holiday recess. Craig, who as with Simpson served on the Appropriations Committee, would receive applause from partisan crowds when he pitched about the virtues of earmarks.

As Craig said then, and Simpson says now, earmarks do not amount to more federal spending. The money is already there and, in relative terms, it does not amount to a lot of money. Wipe out money for earmarks completely, and we’d still have a $31 trillion debt. But as Simpson points out, earmarks – or CPF – offers congressional delegations the one chance to set federal spending priorities for their states. If a delegation turns down the money, it can go to (you guessed it) pet projects in other states, such as New York or California.

Sure, we’ve heard horror stories over the years about ridiculous pork spending. In Simpson’s eyes, that level of fiscal abuse doesn’t occur in Idaho – at least not with the projects he promotes. His priority list includes preventing sewage backing up into homes, upgrading fire stations that don’t have running water, repairing crumbling roads – things that communities cannot realistically provide for themselves without help from the federal government.

“Over the years, I’ve supported many projects like those … each one important to the community in Idaho,” Simpson wrote. “In fact, it’s likely that you are currently benefiting from the safer roads, rehabilitated river walls, or improved sewer systems funded through this program (Community Project Funding). As your representative, I take seriously my responsibility to advocate for Idaho’s priorities within a responsible federal budget. Abdicating this responsibility wouldn’t reduce federal spending by a single penny; it would just send those funds to pet projects in other states or a federal agency to spend at its discretion.”

Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch see it differently.

“After hearing from Idahoans concerned about the abuse and excess spending generated by earmarks, I supported the 2011 moratorium on earmark spending,” Crapo said. “I still hold these concerns and remain committed to fiscal transparency and responsibility.”

Says Risch: “I have long opposed pork spending, and I will continue to do so. Congress should abandon earmarks and treat taxpayer dollars with the respect it deserves.”

Simpson, apparently, listens to a different set of constituents. “I have lived in Idaho’s Second District for nearly all my life. I’ve spent two decades in Congress listening to Idahoans and seeing firsthand what really matters to them. Handing over all decisions about allocating the federal budget over to the executive branch has not gone well for Idaho in the past, but through the CPF program I can bring Idaho tax dollars back home for Idaho priorities.”

There’s no question about it, Simpson brings home the bacon – as McClure and Craig did during their time in Congress. Folks in the Second District will complain about Simpson for one reason or another, but it’s easy to see why voters keep re-electing him.

However, Crapo’s and Risch’s opposition to earmarks probably wins the day with state party leaders.

Chuck Malloy is a long-time Idaho journalist and columnist. He may be reached at



This space has often lamented the sad, sad state of the National Republican Party. Included in those oft-printed lamentations has been a statement explaining the importance of the need for a strong, viable balance to the National Democratic Party..

Forget it. Forget all that and just accept the fact that there presently is no viable, responsible second political party. None. Zero. Zip. Nada! It ain't there, McGee.

Proof of such bad news was offered aplenty at National Republican Conference Committee earlier this year in Utah. Formal actions taken were enough to send whatever attending right-thinking Republicans there may be straight to the bar for a couple of shots of Old Grandad. Even in Utah.

Let's consider nearly unanimous votes on just two issues.

In one, the crowd of cretins censured former Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger - the two Republicans who served on the very important January 6th Committee. Censured. Both of 'em. For no other reason than their membership on said committee which, incidentally, proved its worth nearly every day in the search for facts - and sponsorship - of that terrible attack on this nation.

Those two GOP'ers in the entire U.S. House of Representatives, who should be highly commended for taking on the detective work and the dangers to themselves, censured! By a bunch of crazies, dressed in their Sunday best, who think Sean Hannity is their "Great White Hope" come to "save them from the troubles of this world."

Cheney and Kinzinger deserve hearty plaudits for their undertaking rather than being given a sentence of political "death" for their work. That the National Republican Conference Committee should kick these two to the curb like so much garbage indicates a death of brain matter we've long suspected.

But wait! There's more!

Item number two. "Legitimate political discourse." Sounds sorta important, only to be used in some kind of high political affair.

But, no, Virginia. The assembled Republican "deep thinkers" in Utah used those words to describe that January 6th assemblage that attacked and vandalized our nation's Capitol! Yep, that's what they did. Nearly unanimous it was, too. Loudly shouted!

If one is to take that official vote seriously - and that's damned hard to do - World War II was just a case of misunderstanding, the results of which were simply an educational opportunity for all involved.

"Legitimate political discourse!" Who, in their right mind, could attach their names to a vote on an issue which has become part of the official Republican statement on the horrendous activities of January 6th?

"Right mind" - my Aunt Fannie!

If there's to be an honest, valuable and necessary balance of our two national political parties, it seems those who agree with that tome must step away - run away - from what the GOP now represents.

While it's easy to say, "Well, those national committee folk don't speak for me," the hard fact is, they do! And, those votes - irrational and wrong-headed as they are - now make those actions part of the official Republican Party theology. Which means a lot of Republicans seeking your vote in November will have subscribed to those words.

And, should you vote for them, you subscribe, too. Because the censure vote and the January 6th statement are now official positions of the GOP.

Speaking of the attack, anyone who thinks the January 6th Committee was just another waste of political time is not listening. While some of what those folks uncovered thus far remains secret, what has been revealed has shown planning and responsibility for the attack went straight to the Oval Office.

GOP voters, who've mostly ignored workings of the Party hierarchy in previous times, must now take what comes out of the Washington D.C. headquarters more seriously. Those votes in Utah mean your vote - your endorsement of all things Republican - is your acceptance of those actions.

Republicans who disagree with national positions, adopted at that Salt Lake City gathering, may want to surrender their membership cards and start thinking of a new affiliation. In a new Party.

Your country needs YOU!


Too great to hate?

Back in the early 1980s, when Idahoans in the Coeur d’Alene area were confronted with a growing number of dangerous hatemongers at the Aryan Nations compound near Hayden, the community swung into action. Father Bill Wassmuth, Tony Stewart, Norm Gissel and many other good people formed the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations to counter the hate group and protect local citizens. The Task Force was able to rid Idaho of the hate group after a contentious struggle lasting more than a decade.

The key to success was getting a wide range of government and business leaders to speak out strongly against the Aryans and their odious activities. State leaders joined the effort early on, including a Democratic Governor and Republican Attorney General. Many local Republicans initially resisted getting involved because of political uncertainty, but joined when the chorus against the haters grew loud. When it became clear that the white supremacists were doing serious damage to Idaho businesses, industry leaders across the state found their voices, helping to doom the racists.

Idaho is now facing a new type of extremist problem. The Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights reports that a “new generation of extremists is settling in Idaho, which ranks among the top states in the nation for far-right activity.” About two dozen hate and anti-government groups are now operating in the state. They include the Patriot Front, Ammon Bundy’s People’s Rights Network and the Panhandle Patriots.

Bundy’s group reportedly has more than 5,000 members in the state.

We have heard for a number of years how realtors were peddling real estate in north Idaho as a place for white people to make a last stand. There has been a large inflow of people from other states wanting to locate in a place where others “think like them.” The inflow intensified with the onset of the pandemic, bringing coastal political zealots to Idaho to escape pandemic controls. One such new resident, Kyle Chapman, encouraged white nationalists to move to Idaho, touting it as an “ethnic enclave.” He was convicted last year for assaulting a health care worker who was caring for him.

Unlike the Aryans, the new groups do not claim to be white supremacists, but when you judge them by their words and actions, there are marked similarities. While the Aryans were located in or near their compound outside of Hayden, the new crop of extremists is scattered around the state. With differing agendas and locations, it is difficult to apply a one-size-fits-all strategy for countering the present-day extremists.

So what can Idahoans do to quell this new extremist threat? Even though the threat differs in some respects from the Aryan experience, the answer is basically the same. That is, Idaho’s government, business and community leaders must join together, find their voices and disavow the ugly words and deeds of the extremists. The Kootenai County Task Force is still hard at work, but many other groups and individuals that have significant influence in the state are simply failing to do their part.

Idaho’s United States Attorney, Josh Hurwit, has demonstrated strong leadership by speaking out across the state and organizing a United Against Hate initiative. He needs lots of help from state leaders. Governor Little has spoken out about hate groups, but he needs to substantially up his game and take a much more prominent role in countering the hatemongers. The Attorney General should wake up and actively engage his friends in the Bundy group and the other extremist groups, letting them know that hate is not the Idaho way.

Members of the Legislature, including the more than 24 who have joined far-right Facebook groups, should disavow the extremists or answer to the voters. Business leaders throughout the state must add their voices and make it known that they will finance the campaigns of those who will stand up for decency and run against the extremists. Every reasonable Idahoan should demand action from these leaders.

A clear message must go out from all sectors of our society that Idaho is too great for hate. When the extremists learn that their actions and words are not acceptable in Idaho, it will make a difference. Leadership matters.


A walkout casualty?

While much Oregon statehouse attention has been focused in the last couple of months on a few issues, such as abortion and transgender concerns, which were central to the Senate strike, a lot of other complex issues didn’t get the kind of review they need to progress through the legislative process.

A good example is a measure intended to improve privacy rights for Oregonians.

This issue is one most Oregonians are familiar with: their lack of control over the use of information traded, sold and sometimes stolen online. That concern is not partisan; people in both parties, and nationally, are concerned about it.

We know it’s a top concern in Oregon. Legiscan, a website that tracks legislation from statehouses around the country, reported this week that the privacy bill, Senate Bill 619, was the most monitored and the second most viewed bill after House Bill 2002, a divisive proposal on abortion and gender-affirming care that partly prompted the walkout by Senate Republicans.

SB 619, which is crafted after a similar California statute, would change the law on how consumer data can be used and what consumers can do about it. It would provide ways for consumers to correct or opt out of data collection.

It has generated testimony from two dozen sources, both individuals and organizations inside and outside the state, with support and opposition deeply split.

It might yet pass. At this writing, it has been cleared for a floor vote, which could occur Tuesday. That still means it would need to pass through the House process, and the odds of that are not favorable, especially with so little time left in the session.

The idea behind the bill – to give consumers more information about what personal data is collected and stored by large data-driven companies and how it is being used – could draw lots of support. It applies to “persons who, in a calendar year, control or process the data of 100,000 or more consumers or devices that link to one or more consumers, or 25,000 consumers if more than 25 percent of revenue is from selling personal data.”

This is not a simple topic, and, as you might expect, the 21-page bill is complex too.

It has backing from the League of Women Voters of Oregon and the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, and a report from the state Department of Justice, which asked for the bill, was largely positive. Nationally, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Consumer Reports have also lent support. All praised it as a move toward consumer protection.

The opposition was just about as widespread, in part from industry groups. Their testimony suggested they were not opposed to legislation to help consumer protection but were concerned about how it would apply to them.

The Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association, for example, warned, “It is difficult, without more conversation and more intensive legal reviews, to juxtapose the well-intentioned policy behind SB 619 with the unique and constitutionally protected activities of newspapers. ONPA is concerned that SB 619, as presently drafted, may involve unintended consequences which conflict with free press guarantees. This is not a theoretical concern. The threat of lawsuits, which would be specifically permitted by SB 619’s enactment and its mandatory recovery of money damages, is by itself, a threat on newspaper operations.”

Other industries, including banking and finance, have questions as well.

The bill as crafted has become a compromise measure, but getting needed buy-in and legislative carve-outs have been a labor-intensive process in a time when when many lawmakers were boycotting the Senate floor.

The bill hasn’t been rushed through the process. It has been the subject of hearings and, as noted, extensive testimony. The time and ability for senators on both sides of  the aisle to discuss and negotiate, however, mostly have been lacking this session. The bill has progressed to this point almost entirely owing to Democratic, not Republican, support.

Issues like these are exactly the kind of concerns that need to be weighed and hashed out over time.

Bills like this are what long legislative sessions, those held in odd-numbered years like this one. And they’re the first casualties of limited numbers of work days when legislative walkouts happen.

This column originally appeared in the Oregon Capital Chronicle.


The costs of growth

Ever and always it seems school districts reach out to their patrons to inquire about, or lobby for, finance and spending proposals.

But what happens next in Kuna will be worth the rest of us paying some attention.

The district will have new spending proposals on the block in years to come; that much is a given. Its website explains bluntly: “New families mean new students. We strive to predict the number of new children and new schools needed to serve them by closely tracking developments in our boundaries. Based on developments that have been approved by our counties and city, Kuna is expecting our student population to grow significantly in the next 10 years.”

No kidding. The population of Kuna in 1980 (the little community with a three-block downtown is the image of it I’ll always carry) was 1,767. The most recent estimate leading up to 2022 was 27,229, enough now to make it the 13th largest city in Idaho. A decade from now it may add another 10,000 and move up still higher in the rankings. The trajectory has been a little softer than Meridian’s, but like that former dairy outpost it is a small town no longer. Kuna is a mid-sized and booming suburb.

It is populated largely, apparently, by people seeking a small town, traditional, maybe ex-urban existence, many specifically refugees from higher-tax and stricter-regulation places. The question is, how does - and will - that comport with the image of the place people thought they were moving into?

As a matter of political ideology, Kuna was deeply conservative decades ago and by all electoral indicators remains so today. It has been a place highly resistant both to social change and to higher taxes. But all of that, and the attitudes of residents old and new, are about to bump into some social realities.

Local schools are among the most obvious of those.

The explosive growth at Kuna has been pressuring local schools for years, and this March the board asked voters to approve a massive $111 million bond - large for even the biggest Idaho school districts and enormous for one this size, but giving the district enough new schools and other facilities to keep up for a while. The voters rejected it, providing well short of the two-thirds favorable that was needed for passage.

So now what?

The district is looking for public comment, but in a new direction: What should be cut, starting this fall, to try matching the demands to resources. So the district is asking patrons - and parents - what should go on the chopping block. Sport programs? Career and technical training? School resource officers? Electric classes? Other things?

Kuna’s classes already have a high student-teacher ratio. How many students will be crammed into a limited number of schools and classrooms?

How far and where, in other words, should Kuna schools start a race to the bottom? Without more money, that eventually will start to happen.

This isn’t a criticism of the district’s leaders or educators. Their voters are leaving them with little choice.

All this is, as noted, worth your consideration even if you don’t live in Kuna: Many of the same factors are in play in most of Idaho’s faster-growing communities. (Boise would be a political exception anyway, but in the last year it’s been estimated to have actually lost population.) Kuna’s most recent annual growth estimate (these numbers cover cities rather than school districts) was 2.3 percent. Meridian’s was 3.2 percent, Nampa’s was 4.3 percent, Caldwell’s 3.2 percent, Post Falls 3.6 percent and Star a whopping 13 percent.

Schools in all these areas will be encountering faceoffs between politics and demography.

And schools are only part of the cutting edge.


Presidential lookout

It doesn’t take a college professor to realize that former President Trump was in a heap of trouble politically after the mid-term elections.

Trump’s endorsed candidates took a beating last November, blowing the Republican Party’s chance of gaining control of the Senate and the GOP managed to win just a slim majority in the House. Trump was widely blamed for those losses and his announcement for the presidency was something that only late-night comics could appreciate.

Kerry Hunter, a political science professor at the College of Idaho, was among those who thought the former president was done politically. Then came the indictment from New York, and a more recent one in Florida, and suddenly “The Donald” is back – holding rallies, raising millons of dollars and firmly establishing him as the frontrunner for the GOP nomination.

“Right now, I have a hard time seeing any of the other candidates defeating him in the primaries,” Hunter told me. “I’d be surprised if all the votes for the other candidates will add up to what Trump gets in the Republican primary.”

Hunter has been teaching for 35 years, so he offers a pretty good educated guess here. But two other professors – Markie McBrayer at the University of Idaho and Jacklyn Kettler at Boise State University – have a different perspective. They agree that Trump has a decisive edge, but say that it’s too early to declare him as the winner.

McBrayer and Kettler make a good point. At this time in 2015, Jeb Bush appeared to be the presumptive Republican nominee, and we know what happened to him. Then back in the ‘70s, there was this unheard of peanut farmer, Jimmy Carter, who became a household name in 1976.

With Trump, says McBrayer, “His strategy is similar to 2016. His rhetoric is the same and he has grass-roots appeal, so he hasn’t changed much at all. But the party around him has changed.”

And, despite his lofty poll numbers, there is no shortage of Republicans who want to move on from Trump. It remains to be seen if it is enough to deny him the nomination.

“Something worth watching is what political elites within the party are doing,” McBrayer said. “If political elites within the GOP can rally behind a single candidate, say (Gov. Ron) DeSantis for instance, then DeSantis would have a decent chance of winning.”

Time will tell if indictments against Trump, now or in the future, will have an impact on the race. It has been a plus for him so far, but Kettler says the judicial drama paves the way for attacks from Trump opponents.

“I think there is concern about whether Trump brings the strongest challenge to Biden,” she said.

The general election is another game entirely. The stars are pointing to a Biden-Trump rematch, which few people seem to want to see. Then there is a possibility of Liz Cheney jumping into the race, for the main purpose of keeping Trump out of the White House.

“If I were a Democrat – and I am neither a Republican or Democrat – my biggest concern would be whether Biden dies, or has a serious health problem that makes him incapable of serving, Hunter said. “But if he’s still around, there’s nothing like Trump to galvanize his supporters.”

For now, the major focus is on the Republican side. As McBrayer sees it, DeSantis is providing the biggest challenge to Trump at the moment. He has hired experienced pros who are well equipped to get him through the Iowa caucus and early primaries, and the Florida governor has gathered a large number of endorsements from Iowa legislators. She gives former Vice President Mike Pence an outside shot, although his style seems more suited to the Reagan era. For others, getting into double digits will be a struggle – although anything is possible.

One thing for sure is that these professors will have some interesting material to bring when classes resume in the fall semester.

Chuck Malloy is a long-time Idaho journalist and columnist. He may be reached at



I am absolutely stumped!

I've thought and thought and thought and thought. And, thought a bit more.

Why is it that 25-30 million Americans are still sticking with a guy who's been twice impeached and twice charged with crimes?

I just don't get it!

It's likely, when push comes to shove, the orange guy will try to enter a unique plea when the first felony trial convenes. It's likely he'll work to get out of it by promising never to run for public office ever again. Might be a good compromise rather than a former President being found guilty. And jailed.

But, what about the rest?

At the moment, there's a second charge - misappropriation and misuse of a mountain of classified documents - waiting in the wings.

When those criminal matters are legally dealt with, there's Georgia prosecutor Fani Willis - also in the wings - with extensive evidence of Trump's interference with Georgia's 2020 federal election. She's got some excellent evidence and a voice recording of that "interference.

Then, there's New York Attorney General Leticia James with more charges of fraud in Trump's playing fast and loose with property valuations for tax purposes. Both State and Federal. And she's got more hard evidence.

There may be even more legal snares out there we know nothing about. Possibly some Federal legal handiwork dealing with those same property tax issues, depending on how New York cases end up.

Some loose lips in Trump's orbit of "friends" have been talking about his current state of mind, given what he's facing. They're saying he's angry and starting to panic because - for the first time in his life - he can't control what's swirling around him. He can't control what's happening - legally or politically. And, for the first time, he can't walk - or run - away.

Trump has lived his whole life, able to escape from such things as paying people for their work or being responsible for his actions. He's got a long history of avoiding and/or fleeing when he feels like it.

But, at this time in his life, being officially charged with multiple felony counts, why are those millions of lambs still sticking with him? And, why are they sending him millions of dollars when he's already got millions of dollars?

Whether your thoughts about him are positive or deeply negative, he's created a public persona unique to our times. People love him deeply. Millions more would like to see him wearing an orange jump suit and facing the four interior walls of some cell.

God, alone, knows how many lawsuits, with his name on them, are out there. The name of E. Jean Carroll is still in the headlines. With a court order that Trump pay her millions of dollars for past efforts to smear her name. Now, after that victory, she's been given court approval for even more millions because - after the court award - he did it again!

Trump will eventually stand trial - in Florida, Georgia, Alabama or somewhere else - because evidence is piling up. And, because the feds are holding a lot of that, we're talking about federal charges of real crimes. Charges against him are criminal rather than civil as in past legal bouts. Walls are closing in. And, he's apparently feeling it. Who wouldn't?

Millions of Americans would like to see him in a "perp walk" wearing that aforementioned jump suit - a walk that ends in a jail somewhere.

But, there are those 25-30 million other Americans that believe the whole thing is a "Democrat plot" or "Biden's to blame" or " God will step in to save him" or some other ridiculous tome.

No matter what he does, no matter the charges mounting up, no matter the video or voice recordings of him committing crimes, no matter what he'll eventuality be convicted of, his minions will be there. There to write more checks. There to say the charges are the work the of "Democrats." No matter the court filings, no matter his guilt or innocence or evidence - they'll be there. Whatever befalls Trump. They'll always be there.

In the cold light of day, and the eventual convictions of this or that to come, their allegiance will confound historians and scholars.

It sure as hell, confounds me.