Classic liberals of an age, and certainly of a certain age, have been voting adults during both the Nixon and Trump presidencies. (Classic liberals always vote) During both, the question of whether a former president should be tried, and if convicted imprisoned, was top of mind for years. With Trump even before inauguration.
President Ford’s preemptive pardon of Richard Nixon on September 8, 1974 by “Proclamation 4311” just 30 days after he became president, pretty much doomed his election bid in 1978. But still there never was a consensus about whether Nixon should be put on trial, let alone imprisoned, for the several crimes he was alleged to have committed while in office. Or at least, be forced to plead guilty as his first vice president, Spiro Agnew, had been forced to upon his resignation in 1973. During his last pre-resignation and early post-resignation days Nixon obsessed over the possibility of serving time.
That Nixon was guilty of those alleged crimes was generally believed – but again the desirability of the spectacle and national trauma produced by trial and jail time had not been fully considered by the American public. In the liberal world of that time, the general feeling was that Tricky Dick should be allowed to repair to San Clemente and spend his remaining years in disgrace, while attempting to justify his pervasively corrupt presidency and with truthful interruptions like that cinematically chronicled in Frost/Nixon.
Forty-six years later, as we count the nanoseconds until Noon EST 1/20/2021 (assuming facts not in evidence) there has already been almost four years to consider jailing Trump – as he came into office a criminal and far worse. He bragged that his base wouldn’t give a shit about his committing a capital offense, and regularly since, old crimes and new ones have become manifest.
The power and prerogative to prosecute Trump will not exclusively reside in the once and future legitimate and aptly named United States Department of Justice. It also will reside in the hands of state and local prosecutors. One of the earliest and most accurate predictions here (HL 4, Give Thanks for State and Local Government) was that state officials would reduce the damage about to be inflicted by a Trump Administration. Part of that will occur when state-based prosecutors like New York County District Attorney Cy Vance seek societal revenge for the New York crimes committed by Donald.
We have reached no firm conclusion about whether we want any of our tax dollars spent for Donald’s room and board. In part because many investigations underway will reveal much more, as will the tax records as they are fully exposed and analyzed. But we go in without the visceral revulsion to a Banana Republic style spectacle that we had, even as a hot-headed young lawyer in 1974. This scumbag has committed so many crimes, killed so many people and so defaced the honored institutions and traditions of America that we believe the matter should be fully and carefully considered starting at 12:01 pm on that great day in January. From our pen to God’s ears.
 Agnew pleaded nolo contendere, the functional equivalent of a guilty plea for an offense concocted for the occasion rather than be prosecuted for or plead to crimes he was alleged to have committed while serving as a County Executive in and Governor of Maryland.
Sure, I voted (in Pennsylvania). Of course I voted. Now what? Or as Zhou Enlai’s (probably didn’t) say about French revolution: ‘too early to tell’?