Trump's victim campaign - what is the price of returning to the White House?

Date: March 23, 2023.
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If Donald Trump enters the US presidential race next year, the creators of his campaign will not have a difficult job. Their boss has recently designed his main messages on Truth Social, where he settled after his exile from Twitter.

“Gestapo”, “This is no legal system”, “This is Russia and China but worse”, “Soros backed animal” (Manhattan D.A)

Trump absolutely does not see his life outside of politics, which he showed last November when he filed paperwork for the 2024 presidential run. He has been showing that drive even more with an indictment and possible arrest hanging over his head in connection with bribery of former porn star, Stormy Daniels. Trump faces three more serious investigations. His attorney, Evan Corcoran, is scheduled to testify before a grand jury in Washington, D.C. on Friday in connection with the investigation by the Department of Justice regarding Trump's retention of classified government records at his Florida residence after leaving the White House.

The Justice Department is also investigating the former US president for his efforts to reverse his 2020 Electoral College loss to President Joe Biden. An Atlanta grand jury is eyeing Trump and his allies for pressuring Georgia officials to undo his loss to Biden in the state’s popular vote that year.

Too many problems with the law, even for Trump

Too many serious problems with the law, even for someone with Trump's resume.
It is possible that things would have gone much faster and less favourably for Trump if his biography failed to mention the last job in his career: the President of the United States. Hiding behind that shield, Trump instrumentalises all investigative processes against him for political promotion, which is still based on the victim's struggle against the violent ("Gestapo") system. He will use this if he enters the presidential race again in a year and a half.

Alarm that he raised last weekend when he said that he would be arrested on Tuesday, bore fruit. Although it was clear that it was a false alarm, some supporters responded to Trump's call and protested in the streets. The matrix has been set, and in a sense the Trump campaign has already begun. Violently, on the streets, in front of the prosecutor's office; wherever it was necessary to disrupt and block legal actions.

Risks of bringing an indictment and risks of not bringing an indictment

The legal system has trouble prosecuting Trump and he knows it. If the indictment brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg against the former president is accepted, it will be the first such case in US history. That in itself is a risk for the legal system. No matter how well-founded the evidence, there will be a large number of people who will consider it political persecution. If the indictment goes into effect and Trump is about to be arrested, the big question is how that arrest can be carried out, given that he still has Secret Service protection as a former president.

Furthermore, the indictment and possible arrest, or at least Trump's voluntary appearance before the prosecutor, will represent the bringing to justice of a registered candidate for the US presidency. The risks are even greater and long-term, if legal proceedings are not initiated against Trump. US citizens are sensitive to violations of the law, and particularly to the equality of all before the law. But faced with the possibility that the former president may be charged with a crime, and perhaps even arrested, their faith in the principles of the legal order weakens.

According to the Economist/YouGov survey, a huge number of citizens agree with the hush-money charge “a crime for a candidate for elected office to pay someone to remain silent about an issue that may affect the outcome of an election”, The Washington Post reported.

However, their determination changes drastically when the name of Donald Trump is included in this question, so only 15% of Republican voters stand by their position that it is a serious criminal act.

Justice inhibited by politics

Legal proceedings against Donald Trump will not be conducted in a sterile environment of inviolability of judges, prosecutors, investigators and juries. They are already deeply inhibited by politics, and extremely populist ones at that.

“There is also the issue of whether the political division and trauma of putting Trump on trial would be in the wider national interest - at least in a fairly constrained case that seems to hold fewer lasting constitutional implications than those connected to the January 6 investigations. History may not look kindly on any failed prosecution”, CNN's Stephen Collinson concluded.

Despite the scandals, Trump's approval rating is still consistently high. According to the Economist/YouGov, 53% of Americans still view Trump unfavourably, compared to 43% who view him favourably.

The former president will, without a doubt, continue to ride this wave, counting on the fact that support will grow if the "repression" against him intensifies.

There is no reason for Trump to reject a temporary arrest with this strategy, if it would bring him a higher rating. But how effective can it be for another presidential term?

“Mr. Trump’s strategy appears to focus exclusively on winning the votes of true believers. But many are suffering Trump fatigue and there weren’t enough of them to re-elect him last time”, said Karl Rove from The Wall Street Journal, former Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush from 2000–2007.

He also has a recommendation for Donald Trump: "He'd be better off playing down his indictment and focusing on winning in court”, but at the same time admits - "But then he wouldn't be Donald Trump."

Source TA, Photo: Shutterstock