Despite charges, political expert says Trump’s loyalists won’t stray
While there’s a long legal road ahead for former president Donald Trump, a political expert does not believe there will be much of a short-term impact on his presidential campaign.
“The charges are serious, but I don’t know if it’s going to dislodge his loyal supporters who have stuck with him through thick and thin,” Larry Jacobs, professor of politics at the University of Minnesota, said.
Friday, special counsel with the U.S. Department of Justice Jack Smith announced details surrounding the most recent charges against the former president.
“An indictment was unsealed, charging Donald J. Trump with felony violations of our national security laws as well as participating in a conspiracy to obstruct justice,” Smith said during a press conference, later adding, “We have one set of laws in this country, and they apply to everyone.”
There are 37 felony charges in all, accusing Trump of improperly storing sensitive documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate. Photos shared by the DOJ show some documents were stored in a bathroom, a ballroom, a bedroom and an office space. According to the indictment, some of those documents included information on nuclear programs and the nation’s weapons and defense capabilities.
“There are lots of reasons to think that Donald Trump may now be in trouble,” Jocobs said, adding: “There are a lot of candidates running against them [and] the charges of betraying national security are very serious, [the charges are] very detailed, some of the candidates running against them may now start to echo some of those charges.”
Jacobs says the first challenge that will test Trump’s loyalists is the Republican primaries.
“Donald Trump has a stronghold of about 25% or so of the Republican primary voter — those are the folks who are going to determine who is the Republican nominee for president in 2024. I don’t know if Donald Trump is going to lose that support,” Jacobs explained.
He also said as more candidates join the race for the Republican nomination — that number is now more than 10 — Jacobs says the probability of Trump becoming the nominee also increases.
“It’s going to spread out that vote, it’s going to dissipate, and Donald Trump’s 25% or so may look more and more strong, more and more difficult to overcome. So I think [it’s] unclear if Donald Trump can be beat,” he explained.