This case for pardoning Trump is both self-refuting and instructive:
There’s no guarantee, after all, that a prosecution would prevent Trump from mounting a credible campaign for president in 2024 — and it might even help him win the Republican nomination, putting a second term within reach.
One of Trump’s most potent appeals to Republican primary voters is the claim that Democrats want to suppress and criminalize their opposition, and that this requires an extraordinary electoral response from the GOP. A pardon would partially preempt this claim, while a grinding prosecution would produce unending news cycles that Trump could use to dominate a primary.
Derived from medieval English kings, the president’s vast constitutional power to pardon is one of the most monarchical that he exercises. The 18th-century English jurist William Blackstone observed that the king’s pardon power functioned because he “acts in a superior sphere” from the rest of the body politic. Biden’s offer of mercy to an opponent would temporarily situate him above America’s warring partisan fiefdoms — dramatically displaying his power to call off, at least for the time being, his own party’s ultras.
Of course, the regal roots of the pardon power mean it sits uneasily alongside the small-d democratic verity that “no one is above the law.” But it speaks to the fact that even in a representative government, political judgment and statesmanship are necessary to sustaining the law’s operation.
“Pardoning Trump would mean placing monarchical powers over the rule of law. This is central to my point of why it’s a good idea.”
What’s really going on here, though, can be seen in the first graf. I will return to this point in another post, but there’s a group of elite Republicans who 1)don’t want Trump as the nominee because he’s more likely to lose than a generic Republican, 2)actually think Trump could lose a Republican primary (LOL), and 3)think it’s the responsibility of Democrats to make this happen, because Republican elites could no more take any anti-Trump action than water could stop being wet. Is there any causal logic here? Of course not, but the point of the argument is to blame Biden, rather than the Republican Party, for Trump being the nominee when Biden doesn’t pardon him, as Witlick concedes he almost certainly won’t. And when that doesn’t work you could try blaming Democrats for not just conceding the election to Romney in 2012 again.