Don't Assume this Indictment Won't Hurt Trump
The polls show that even Republicans don't like this Trump crime
This time, Donald Trump was not crying wolf.
When the former President took to Truth Social to announce/whine about his indictment, most of the world assumed he was — per usual — full of it. However, various news outlets quickly confirmed the news. According to the New York Times:
Mr. Trump was charged with a total of seven counts, including willfully retaining national defense secrets in violation of the Espionage Act, making false statements and an obstruction of justice conspiracy, according to people familiar with the matter.
This is the second time in two months that Trump has been indicted. The last time, the Republican Party — including his opponents for the GOP nomination — rallied to his defense. The Right Wing media went into a frothing rage, attacking the Manhattan D.A. Despite an indictment for paying hush money to conceal an extra-marital affair, Donald Trump went up in the polls among Republican voters and strengthened his grip on the nomination. Somehow, Trump turned a criminal indictment into a political asset. He put his opponents on their heels and gained momentum.
Many assume that history will repeat itself with this indictment. And maybe it will. Perhaps, Trump’s Right Wing media allies are so powerful and his GOP opponents so hapless that this won’t hurt him. But this time, the politics might be a little different.
I am not making any predictions (I would never do that) about Trump’s downfall. The outcome of the legal case will be by far the most important factor in medium-term politics.
1. This is a Very Different Crime
Voters tend to give politicians a wide berth of misdeeds borne of personal conduct. Trump’s alleged hush money payments were both a campaign finance violation and an attempt to deny the public necessary information before the election; and they all emanated from his personal misconduct. Everyone knows Donald Trump is a corrupt cad. It was a key element of his public persona long before he ran for office. Consequently, it was easier for conflicted voters to dismiss that particular indictment.
Violations of the Espionage Act and the other charges included in this indictment just hit different. They are more serious and more connected to his conduct as President than an extramarital affair that happened before he was elected. Navigator Research tested the statements Trump made at the infamous CNN Town Hall. Trump’s claims that he was allowed to take classified documents raised major doubts with 51 percent of those surveyed, including 72 percent of Independents. Even among Republicans, nearly four in ten were concerned about the classified documents.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to The Message Box to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.