Amazing, the contortions these Trump supporters twisted themselves into the moment a New York jury convicted their favorite president of 34 — Thirty-Four!— felonies.

But rather than crow about the streets chanting, “Lock him up!” those of us on the other side need to be sympathetic — empathetic, even — in this time of distress for the Trump faithful.

We should appreciate, first and foremost, that those who wish to remain in the good graces of Trump’s Republican Party must erode confidence in the justice system that delivered this verdict while still positioning themselves as the party of “law and order.” Except it’s law and order with an asterisk, isn’t it, when everyone has decided without seeing any evidence that their man is innocent, not to mention a happily married, church-going victim of the “deep state.”.

They also must adhere to the party line: that Trump never had sex with Stormy Daniels, a position he still maintains even though it’s established as fact that he paid her $130,000 and the woman herself, under oath, testified to the act itself in sad and cringe-inducing detail

The rallying cry has always been: He didn’t do it, and it doesn’t matter if he did. That goes for sexual assault, stealing documents, sharing state secrets with our enemies, tear-gassing protesters to clear the way for a lame photo op or any number of “first-time” transgressions our former president engaged in.

Because if he didn’t do it, then they can still claim to be the party of law and order even when to everyone else their man looks to be an agent of crime and chaos.

While the guilty verdict gave Trumpers even more things to distrust and fear, for the rest of us it was a kind of sweet release.

Many of us have lost faith in core American institutions. The Supreme Court looks rigged. Congress is largely ineffective. An entire political party wants to end American democracy and abolish public schools. 

But last week, when 12 average New Yorkers handed Trump his own ass on a platter, it gave the rest of us all a bit of faith law and order again. 

No matter that it may be overturned on appeal (probably not), that he might not go to jail (highly unlikely), that it makes no difference to the true believers, who will surely vote for him anyway.

For once in his lowly life, the guy stepped into something he couldn’t slither out of. For the moment, it’s enough.

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