As he commences his 2024 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, Former President Donald Trump’s name has been showcased in news headlines, but for unforeseen reasons. Trump was indicted in March of 2023 and has since been combatting issues raised by prosecutors, the public, and his own party. An indictment is when one, in this case Trump, is accused of a severe offense. Although those who resent Trump are excited by this development, there is a question of whether this indictment can harm Trump’s chances for his party’s nomination.
The former president is being indicted for not just one crime, but several that have occurred over the last few decades, including misleading banks and the IRS, attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election, sexual assault, and, most recently, holding classified documents.
Trump’s first charges took place in New York, where it was alleged that the former president had paid hush money to several women he assaulted and falsified business records. The trial will commence in January 2024. Another case in New York involves journalist Elizabeth Jean Carroll, who claimed Trump had assaulted her three decades prior but was dismissed by a jury. Now, a federal judge has upheld the case, and Trump will be fined $5 million.
In a separate case, New York Attorney General Letitia James alleges that Trump lied about the worth of his golf courses and other properties to earn tax benefits. James will charge Trump $250 million in October when the trial begins. The last two cases, led by special counsel Jack Smith, took place more recently, and include his attempt to overthrow the 2020 election results. On January 6th, Trump claimed that the election outcome was false, causing hundreds of his supporters to attack the capitol in a mad frenzy. Later, Trump called the Secretary of State in Georgia, asking him to “find” thousands of votes to win the state. Lastly, Trump is being charged with holding classified documents on his Mar-a-Lago property and destroying evidence that he did so.
Due to these four cases made against him, Trump, in recent polling, has been unable to convince the public that the Department of Justice is unfairly prosecuting him. Although Trump is still in the lead, June’s polling revealed that fewer Republicans supported him in the upcoming nomination directly after. Additionally, Trump needs to convince more than just the Republican party for a chance at the presidency, as Trump will be fighting for votes from swing states, where more moderate voters live. Currently, over half of Americans believe that the charges against Trump are appropriate and fair, which could influence these states.
However, these charges could benefit Trump to some extent. FiveThirtyEight claims that Trump has a staggering 38.7 points over Ron DeSantis, surprising compared to the 20-point lead he held in March before Trump was first indicted. Trump is now tied with Biden in terms of polling, in comparison to Biden’s one-point lead in March. A study found that over two-thirds of Republicans believe that Trump did not commit any crimes, and only 10% believe he should be charged.
Another issue regarding the cases against Trump is whether or not the evidence to convict him is satisfactory. Although it is improbable that Trump will be sentenced before the election, there is a chance that the evidence could harm him enough to diminish his support. However, if the evidence is mediocre and Trump begins to win these cases, it would not only lessen the significance those indictments once held, but could allow Trump to use it to further the message that the Department of Justice is fraudulent and that Democrats have infiltrated the system in an attempt to halt his candidacy. It seems that the only way Trump’s support will dwindle is if significant Republican figures begin to stray away. This could occur, as it seems many politicians in the House and Senate are tired of Trump’s reign, but most of them depend on his support for reelection so it is doubtful that such a stance will occur.
I do not believe that the former president should carry on without charges, but I do believe that there is no hope of indictment harming Trump or Republicans. Although the election is over a year away, it is not easy to believe that these charges will impact the voting results in 2024.