Republicans trying to turn it into an unexpected win for Donald Trump that he’s been criminally indicted really need to come to terms with reality. This is neither a win for the former president nor for his supporters, who view it as a moment to rally against Democrat corruption.
But Republican support for Trump has gone up since the indictment!
Yeah, a poll does say that, and it means nothing other than that Trump is more likely to be the party’s nominee. And then what? Are swing voters going to be more likely to support a major party candidate who is actively defending himself in a criminal proceeding? Are white women going to be more or less likely to cast their lot with Joe Biden or with the candidate who was recently processed for his fingerprints and mugshot?
It’s not fair. Duh. We know that. It has never been about fairness. It’s about who calls the shots. Democrats and the permanent bureaucracy are demonstrating time and time again that they do.
This isn’t going to “backfire.” If Trump is convicted, then regardless of the penalty’s severity, Democrats will have proven that they can swerve on every precedent, toss out every one of their supposedly sacred “norms,” and get a good night’s sleep all the same. If he’s acquitted, they will have lost precisely nothing. And then they’ll try again.
Anyone who looks at this and thinks, “It’s only going to motivate Trump’s supporters,” hasn’t been paying attention to the last two elections. Enthusiasm is a relic of American politics post-2020. Before then, it mattered whether a candidate could excite enough people to take time out of their lives and physically go to the nearest polling location, wait in line, and cast their votes. (Pray that the weather is good, of course!) Democrats have no need for that anymore. Now they simply take the weeks and months ahead of Election Day to pester every marginally blue household on file, hand the otherwise apathetic resident a ballot to check “Democrat,” and then put it in the bag with the rest.
Trump has a lot of supporters and they will walk through fire and crawl through glass to get him back in the White House. But it’s not enough to overcome the harvesting, mail-in machine of the opposition. That’s nothing to say of the legal power Democrats are willing to use to put dissidents in jail.
Feeling demoralized? That’s the point. And if not, they’re confident it’s only a matter of time.
The 2024 election is still more than a year away. It’s not over yet, but Republicans won’t have a chance if they kid themselves into believing this huge loss is actually a secret win.