(Washington) Is this the clap of the beginning of the end? Or the boost of a “remontada”? Donald Trump’s upcoming indictment, a first for a US presidential candidate, is throwing his 2024 campaign into uncertainty.
The main risk for the candidate Trump is to alienate the moderate Republican electorate and independents, who could see his upcoming criminal indictment in New York as an impassable red line in their choice for the nomination.
The case in question: a payment of US$130,000, just before his presidential victory in November 2016, to the actress of pornographic films, Stormy Daniels, with whom he allegedly had an affair.
Especially since this first indictment could open the door to a series of others: Donald Trump is also the target of an investigation into the management of his White House archives and the electoral pressure exerted in the American state of Georgia. In the latter case, the prosecutor promised an “imminent” decision.
But the reality of this indictment could also benefit the tempestuous candidate, — he who does not currently benefit from the expected campaign dynamics.
“Most presidential candidates would be appalled by any aspect of this story – from the relationship with a porn star to the indictment,” Julian Zelizer, a professor at Princeton University, told AFP.
Having won power in November 2016 in an unprecedented political scenario that almost none had predicted, Donald Trump could be tempted to play from this position of rebel candidate.
The New York billionaire does not miss the slightest opportunity to replay his well-known score of a leader close to Americans – mostly white, rather old – who fights against “massive corruption” in Washington.
And has already sent out early fundraising emails, calling on supporters to donate $24 to $250 to “stand with President Trump at this crucial time.”
“The prosecutor in New York did more to help Donald Trump get elected president than anyone in the United States today,” influential Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said Saturday, calling the lawsuit in New York of “selective”.
Abandoned by part of the conservative right after the attack on the American Congress, the former leader had managed in a few months to regain almost total control.
The tribune, whose fall has been announced a thousand times, has so far survived all the scandals. As if, by dint of accumulation, they no longer had any effect on him.
Most polls, to be taken with a grain of salt of course, still give the former president, very comfortable with crowds, a clear winner in a Republican primary.
Most of his rivals for the Republican nomination have also been careful not to criticize Donald Trump for his legal pots, anxious not to incur the wrath of the leader of their party… and his electoral base, which could show valuable in their conquest of the White House.
They “are stuck,” assures Julian Zelizer. “Some wish to be more critical, but are afraid to challenge it,” said the academic.
The only potential candidate to step up to the plate: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, claiming that he did not “know” what “paying a porn star money” to silence her would entail.
Before receiving a volley of green wood from Camp Trump.