Speaking at his first official fundraiser of the 2024 campaign in New Jersey, former President Donald Trump unleashed not only his plans for a prospective second term but also his take on the criminal indictment that saw him arrested for mishandling classified documents. Holding nothing back, 45 excoriated the prosecution and the Biden administration’s role in bringing it, in what he described as a political attack inspired by fear of his potential next presidency. After seven years of “this is the end for Trump,” it appears that – according to the latest polling – rumors of his demise may have, once again, been greatly exaggerated.
Trump Responds Bigly
It would not be a Trump speech without the usual vilification and denouncements of his political opponents, and the Bedminster Club crowd was not disappointed with the former president’s quips and jibes. “Today we witnessed the most evil and heinous abuse of power in the history of our country. Very sad thing to watch,” he said. “It’s a political persecution like something straight out of a fascist or communist nation … I had every right to have these documents,”
And while this was very much a home team audience, the excitement with which he was met, appears to be a precursor to potential Trump voters in the upcoming election. As the man himself noted, each swipe from Democrat prosecutors just appears to solidify his base. Providing a glimpse of a potential future, Trump said:
“I will appoint a real special prosecutor to go after the most corrupt president in the history of the United States of America, Joe Biden, and the entire Biden crime family … On November 5, 2024, justice will be done. We will take back our country.”
But on the heels of a second indictment in as many months, does his base still support him?
A Delicate Dance?
For other GOP nominee hopefuls, the question of support becomes of paramount concern. If they denounce the Donald, they could lose a significant portion of his voting base for “disloyalty.” However, if they join Trump’s refrain of a political witch hunt, they are bolstering the frontrunner’s position and failing to make themselves stand out from what is fast becoming a crowded field.
Polling – even on the very day of Trump’s arraignment – shows that the former president still has a firm grasp on the grassroots of the party when it comes to winning the Republican presidential primary. A USA Today/Suffolk poll on the day of Trump’s court arraignment shows that he still maintains a 25-point lead over Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and is more than 40 points ahead of any other contender. But primary voters aside, how is the embattled business mogul looking when it comes to the actual presidential election?
Judging the Jury?
The latest ABC/Ipsos poll found that 47% of the public believe the charges against Trump are politically motivated. A further 37% say they aren’t, with the remaining 16% on the fence.
In what appears to be a minor paradox, a plurality also feels that he should have been charged. “Nearly half — 48% — of Americans think Trump should have been charged in this case, whereas 35% think he should not have been and 17% saying [sic] they do not know, per the ABC News/Ipsos poll conducted using Ipsos’ KnowledgePanel,” ABC reports.
Digging deeper, 80% of GOP voters feel Trump is facing political persecution with 16% of Democrats saying the same.
Rasmussen’s Daily Presidential Tracking Poll puts Trump a clear six points over President Joe Biden – a trend that has been expanding since early May. This suggests that 45’s recent legal troubles have not had a significant impact on his popularity across the country.
Presently, Mr. Trump faces 37 charges; this number could be reduced as the trial begins. All it takes for him to walk away is one juror out of 12 to agree with the defense that he is being unfairly targeted. This suggests that finding a sympathetic – or at least not rabidly anti-Trump – jury is the most likely defense strategy for the former president’s team.
When Donald Trump first descended the golden escalator to announce his candidacy for the 2016 election, he ran as an underdog, ready to fight against “the Swamp” and the political machinations that have long been a staple of DC politics. It seems that to almost half the nation, he has regained that status, and will once again be battling the forces and the figures that propelled him to the presidency in the first place.
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