The Republican Party has a problem with corruption. And it did not start with the current president of the United States, although he certainly has an excellent head start. But the reality is, over the last 56 years of Republican and Democratic presidential administrations alike, the crystal clear champion of crooks and liars is the GOP. And it’s not even close.
My goal here is not to pile on, although it’s tempting to do so. My goal is to make a point. Sometimes facts are a hard thing to digest for many Republicans. But when the data is this transparent and unambiguous, it’s hard to argue anything different.
When Donald Trump leaves office, either by being defeated in 2020, resigning in disgrace, or impeached by both bodies of Congress(I know, that’s asking a lot), he will undoubtedly put an exclamation point to the overall theme that Republicans, in general, are prone to wrongdoing. We can argue till the cows come home as to why that is, but for this post, I want to focus on the data.
Not long after I started using Twitter, I noticed how some were tweeting out charts that showed a comparison between Democratic and Republican presidential administration wrongdoing, going back to Richard Nixon. Frankly, I was stunned at the discrepancy. In the chart below, however, from a piece by Rand Engel of Rantt Media, they went back even further—to the John F. Kennedy administration. As you can see, from 1961-2016, through five presidents from each party, Republicans scored eighteen times more individuals and entities indicted, thirty-eight times more convictions, and thirty-nine times more individuals who had prison time.
As Engel’s piece points out, various tables have been available on the web for a long time now. This one differs in that they included the Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy administrations. He also writes that the sources for total indictments, convictions, and prison sentences often do not agree and that their analysis referred to investigators’ final reports, contemporary reporting, some obituaries, and later articles.
For instance, he notes that some sources report 76 Watergate indictments, 55 convictions, and 15 served time. Another source had 69 charges of government figures. The Rantt, on the other hand, determined that the correct number should be 26 government and former government figures, 85 Nixon administration indictments, 78 convictions, and 24 with prison time. I urge you to read the whole piece here to get a better feel as to how they come up with all of the numbers.
To me, it’s splitting hairs. Arguing the criteria used to compile the numbers does nothing to dispute the overall fact that Republican corruption is widespread; presently and historically speaking. Even when comparing different data, the numbers don’t differ by that much.
The Trump factor
Even after taking a look at these troubling numbers, the big elephant (no pun) in the room is not part of the comparative data. That’s right, Donald Trump’s presidency is not part of this particular comparison. If it were, the numbers would look far worse for the Republican Party. So, with that in mind, here is a look at where we are today as it pertains to Mr. Trump and his fledgling corruption, courtesy of The Daily Kos. Keep in mind that this chart was compiled as of September 17, 2018, and does include Michael Cohen’s indictment and jail time, or Roger Stone’s indictment on January 24, 2019. His trial is pending.
|RELATIONSHIP TO TRUMP||# PEOPLE INDICTED||TOTAL # OF INDICTMENTS||# PEOPLE CONVICTED||TOTAL GUILTY COUNTS||# OF PEOPLE IMPRISONED|
|TRUMP ORGANIZATION, CAMPAIGN, OR ADMINISTRATION||5||55||5||22||2 (+3)*|
|OUTSIDE CAMPAIGN CONSULTANTS (U.S. CITIZENS)||2||2||1||1||0 (+1)*|
|FOREIGN ASSISTANCE TO TRUMP CAMPAIGN||26||153||0||0||0|
|FOREIGN, DIRECT INVOLVEMENT TO TRUMP UNCLEAR||2||2||1||1||1|
As the piece points out, analyzing the data with Trump is complicated. For instance, the chart points to 155 indictments and 28 people to ‘foreign assistance to the Trump campaign.’ At the time, Mueller’s report was not complete, and in the end, he did not charge the campaign with a conspiracy; thus, you can’t include them in the overall list.
But when you include the Trump organization, campaign, or administration officials, you see where the number of indictments, convictions, guilty pleas, and jail time, already ranks near the Nixon presidency as far as total numbers are concerned. And at the current rate, one could assume Mr. Trump will soon surpass that dubious honor.
The bottom line
To be sure, I’m not here to absolve the Democrats as being the next coming of Mother Theresa. Of course, there’s been wrongdoing by Democratic administrations over the years. And, if this were a discussion on policy, we could quickly point to several troubling decisions in the past by Democratic presidents that were bad for the country, especially when considering our long and horrific involvement in Vietnam. But, those are policy issues. That’s a discussion for another day perhaps.
Today’s discussion is about the rule of law. And let’s be honest, these are sobering numbers for the Republican Party. It’s a long history of malfeasance and wrongdoing that you’d think would have put a nail in the coffin of most political parties. But, they’re still around. In fact, not only are they here, but they’ve managed to tie themselves to someone who will go down as the most corrupt of them all.
So, when you confront a Republican family member or friend over the coming holiday season, you may want to ask them what the hell is wrong with their party. What is it about the rule of law and our Constitution that they don’t understand? Why does the party seem to attract those who don’t seem to give a damn about either?
I realize I risk painting a broad brush here. Of course, I’m not saying all Republican politicians are corrupt. But I certainly see a pattern. I see a pattern of misbehavior, and now I see a party with the name Donald Trump stamped to its head. Many Republicans will look at the numbers above and merely shrug their shoulders. Me? I look at the numbers and think of the legendary Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who once declared: “You’re entitled to your opinion. But you’re not entitled to your own facts.” The numbers don’t lie.