Donald Trump’s double jeopardy | Vanity fair

One of the most widely heard refrains in the industrial-academic complex is Donald TrumpA criminal trial in New York will not change the hearts and minds of voters. But I think that’s a big mistake. The reality is that none of us know what voters will do in the next 169 days. And while bad headlines may influence the voting public much less than in the past, the media still helps set the tone for how the public perceives a candidate.

First, consider a poll. (Friend known How do I feel about opinion polls; they are imperfect snapshots in time and should be taken with a grain of salt.) But one conducted by ABC/Ipsos in early May found that one in five Trump supporters said they would reconsider their support (16%) or withdraw it (4%) if he were convicted of a felony in the New York case. Those are some seriously moving numbers for the electoral college. Second, many point to the former president’s indictments – and the resulting growing support for Trump – as evidence that his trial was not a factor either, or even Even it could be a mistake. useful. However, as Atlantic‘S Russell Berman recently WrittenMany surveys show that such levels may be biased, while other data suggest that the indictments had the exact opposite effect. Third, even if Republican primary voters are emboldened by Trump’s indictments, they are still a very different cat than the voters he needs to win over in the general election election — voters who may feel much more uncomfortable with Trump’s past debauchery.

In fact, let’s stop for a moment and consider said depraved behavior. There is no historical precedent for a Trump trial; The closest parallel was when impeachment proceedings were initiated against President Richard Nixon. But Nixon took over a world where shame still lingered among Republicans, most of whom could essentially be bullied into doing the right thing. Indeed, Nixon resigned because he was persuaded by a trio of Republican lawmakers, including then-Sen. Barry Goldwater, that his support for Hill had evaporated. That development was no less similar to the scenes that unfolded last week, in which the House Speaker and some Republicans a lot of hope stormed 100 Center Street and knelt before Trump—by attacking witnesses and defaming the judge’s daughter. That was shortly after the twice-impeached former president’s fixer testified about alleged hush payments he made to an adult film star, preventing her from going public about what she claimed was an affair with Trump — an event she described well. , creepy details to the jury several weeks ago. (Trump has pleaded not guilty and denies the incident.)

It’s also worth noting that Trump’s trial featured a host of figures that general election voters may have forgotten about. Someone fix the bug in question, Michael Cohen; said porn star, Daniels thunderstorm; dissipated playmates Karen McDougal; and tabloid tycoon David Pecker. Trump’s alleged crime was to intentionally mislabel payments to Daniels to buy her silence after the incident. Access Hollywood The released tape, in which Trump can be heard making lewd comments about women, is likely the equivalent of an in-kind campaign contribution. Trump defended those payments by claiming he was trying to protect his third wife. Melania Trump. But there is little evidence to support this assertion. As Cohen testified last week, when the tape emerged in 2016, Trump apparently told him: “This is a disaster, a total disaster. Women will hate me. Women will hate me. Guys, they think it’s great, but this would be a disaster for the campaign.” This is also not the best defense for Trump when his wife, Melania, has not yet attended the trial. (Meanwhile, the only family member who shows respect is the one who is often overlooked. Eric Trump.)

When you consider what a flabby public humiliation all of this has been for Trump, you understand why Democrats chose Joe Biden in 2020: He reads like a boring, scandal-free white guy and therefore has the best chance of winning. Of course, that hasn’t stopped House Republicans from trying their best to paint the president as a corrupt criminal mastermind like Trump. But, well, they haven’t really succeeded. GOP lawmakers tried to oust Biden with a claim lacking much evidence, Sangha piano-based impeachment inquiry, ended with a whimper when they star witness was sent to prison. Now, Republicans mostly just attack Biden for being old — which is true, even though he is only three years older than Trump.

We are now entering the main part of Trump’s criminal trial, including further cross-examination of Cohen, closing arguments, and highly unlikely but still possible testimony from Trump himself. Regardless of the verdict—that can come as early as next week—a flurry of conjecture will follow. If Trump is found not guilty, experts will certainly argue that it would legitimize his claims about the trial being a political “witch hunt.” But the not guilty verdict did not erase the tabloid spectacle in that Manhattan courtroom — where, once again, an adult film star testified that she had sex with Trump shortly after he His third wife gave birth to his fifth child.

None of us knows how this will inform the events of November. But if you think the trial will have absolutely no impact on the election, you might be jumping to conclusions. .


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