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Is the Trump Trial Moving the Needle for Biden – or Trump?

Relying on a serial perjurer to deliver the goods is a true riverboat gamble.

by | May 15, 2024 | Articles, Good Reads, Opinion, Politics

As the much-anticipated cross-examination of ex-convict and former Trump associate Michael Cohen unfolds in Donald Trump’s so-called hush money trial, the jury is faced with a fundamental question: Whom to believe, Trump or Cohen? As expected, Trump’s defense team aggressively questioned Cohen’s credibility, given his numerous liabilities and his open desire to see Trump in prison, as evidenced by his recent podcast featuring a T-shirt adorned with a picture of Trump behind bars. And yet, as the trial progresses, Cohen is free to voice his claims, while Trump remains under a gag order, five weeks into the trial.

Even if all the jurors take Cohen at his word, the next question is whether the common practice of non-disclosure agreements offering money in return for silence – during a political campaign or any other time — even constitutes any sort of crime. Until now, it has not. But if it does in the eyes of the jury, an embarrassingly large number of elected officials would undoubtedly start sweating under the weight of such a judgment. The trial calendar now calls for off days on Wednesday and Friday, with the prosecution saying it will rest its case when Cohen’s testimony is complete, likely on Thursday. If Cohen is all it has, it must hope that the jury is simply eager to put Trump behind bars for, as lawyers like to say, any reason or no reason.

The abiding problem for the left is that this trial designed to drive Trump and his supporters to distraction is now achieving the opposite effect. Even as MSNBC hosts praised Cohen’s newfound “humility” and said, “his testimony was flawless,” you can see the trepidation and incredulity in the left’s forlorn expressions. They are now attempting to defend what many consider indefensible, the prosecution – many say persecution — of the man leading the race for president. And as one poll after another, most notably the latest one by the hallowed New York Times and Siena College conducted in the midst of the Trump trial, reveals a strikingly narrow path to re-election for Biden, it is now Democrats who are going wobbly on the 46th president.

Evidence enough comes from The New Republic (TNR), one of the oldest and most prominent liberal publications in the country and bellwether of leftist thought, which said out loud what most on the left are thinking in a piece with the elegantly understated headline, “The Democrats Have a Joe Biden Problem.” Not that this is anything new. You will recall months of on-again, off-again panic on the left about Biden’s withering deficits on every significant issue, and the possibility of raising a different nominee being openly discussed. The idea was ultimately dismissed by realists understanding Biden will not budge from his insistence on seeking four more years in the Oval Office. But now, the conversation may begin afresh.

New banner Memo - From the Desk of Senior Political Analyst Tim Donner 1“The [voters] really don’t like Biden. And that, in turn, ought to make the party think very seriously about whether he ought to remain atop the 2024 ticket,” begs TNR. While pointing out that Democratic Senate candidates are presently outperforming the politically toxic incumbent at the top of the ticket, TNR delivers the grim bottom line with refreshing intellectual honesty: ”Voters know Joe Biden — and they’ve decided that they don’t think he’s capable of doing the job of president for a second term … Voters do not like him. They do not trust him. They think he is not fit to be president.”

While essentially admitting that these are extreme times demanding extreme measures for the anti-Trump forces, they know that a move to dump Biden — and Kamala Harris, let’s not forget — “would, at this late stage, necessitate a costly floor fight at what would be a volcanic convention in August.”

Again, this is from the mainstream left. Losing badly in at least six of seven battleground states and, most importantly, four of them outside the margin of error, restless Democrats are all but out of answers — outside of some sort of Trump meltdown, of course. But at this point, the election is clearly Trump’s to lose, and to the horror of Democrats recoiling at the prospect of another four years with their mortal enemy at the helm, the show trial being conducted in Manhattan has likely hurt their cause when their entire election strategy was based on the belief that it would help.

Trump Trial: The Left Prays for a Biased Jury

This whole turn of events is the perfect metaphor for Biden himself. The trial, like the president, may be thin gruel, but it’s all they’ve got, and now they will have to pray for 12 sympathetic, Trump-hating jurors and live with it. Or maybe not, if a growing number of Dump-Biden leftists somehow get their way.

Fans of the iconic film Christmas Vacation will recall the scene where Sparky (Chevy Chase) reaches out to kiss his young nephew, only to be warned off by the boy’s father, saying, “He’s got a lip fungus they ain’t identified yet.” Likewise, it is a rarity when a criminal trial begins without the prosecution even clearly identifying the crime or, in this case, the “underlying” felony concocted from a misdemeanor on which the statute of limitations had long expired. It is a case rejected by both the famously left-wing Southern District of New York and the Federal Election Commission. Add to that Cohen, a disgraced star witness whose entire reputation centers around his being a convicted serial liar and perjurer (the same thing, only under oath). How can a fair, impartial jury determine whether such a person is now lying again – or not?

One conclusion we can reach from the trial to date is that, if the end result is a hung jury in deep-blue Manhattan — a unanimous not-guilty verdict seems unlikely at best — it will prove just how flimsy this indictment was in the first place. But if the jury does vote to convict in the face of charges not even specified by the prosecution before the trial commenced, it would prove little beyond the fact that New York City is a cesspool for Republicans, not a surprise, given that Manhattan is the second most Democratic among the 3,143 counties in the nation.

When it became clear that George McGovern in 1972, Walter Mondale in 1984, and Michael Dukakis in 1988 were going down in flames to Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush, respectively, Democrats had little choice but to absorb the landslide and regroup. With the specter of another Trump presidency on the ever-more-near horizon, will they do the same this time around — or are they desperate enough to take a riverboat gamble on some candidate other than Biden?

So as this most dubious trial carries on, what will prevail, justice or politics? A just verdict in a case ginned up out of whole cloth, or a conviction for a man so widely and famously despised in the very jurisdiction in which he is being tried? People on both sides are beyond anxious for the answer in the untrodden territory of a once and perhaps future president under criminal indictment. But as one poll after another suggests, and with the caveat that a guilty verdict could change the dynamic, the voters appear largely unmoved.

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