How Trump’s arraignment impacts Minnesota voters — and Trump himself

Political experts explain what Tuesday’s arraignment means for Minnesota voters

Political experts explain what Tuesday's arraignment means for Minnesota voters

Former President Donald Trump — is now a criminal defendant facing 34 felony counts.

It’s something that’s never happened before in American history.

“This is a momentous occasion,” says Larry Jacobs, a University of Minnesota political science professor. “One that we should be sober about.”

Despite Tuesday’s arraignment, Trump has vowed to continue his 2024 run for the White House.

Last month— he called the impending indictment a political witch hunt.

“The weaponization of our justice system is not, as some have called it, a political spectacle,” Trump declared.

“The political fallout is yet to be seen,” says Hamline political science professor David Schultz. “Short-term, it might help him in terms of solidifying his base within the Republican party.”

But long-term, Schultz says — not so much.

“Probably it does not help him with, let us say, independent voters or swing voters,” he explains. “It may not help him, let us say with more moderate Republicans.”

Schultz points out that recent presidential vote counts in Minnesota and Wisconsin have been very close.

In 2016, Trump lost in Minnesota to Hillary Clinton by only 1.5%.

That year, he won Wisconsin by less than 1%.

President Biden prevailed in Minnesota over Trump by seven points in 2020.

He won Wisconsin by less than 1%.

“Moving small numbers matters,” Schultz says. “And if here among independent voters, a few voters are turned off now even more by Trump it becomes a problem.”

Jacobs notes that Trump, pre-arraignment — was already reaping benefits.

 “He’s already raised apparently $7-million just in the last week since the indictment seemed to be forthcoming,” he says.

Jacobs says he expects Trump to use the indictment as part of his political strategy.

“He’s going to use the indictment as a way for Americans who support him,” he says. “I’m like you, I’m under attack– will you rally to me as I rally to you?”

Jacobs says Tuesday’s events may even be a factor in helping Trump win the Republican nomination.

Potential GOP opponents — like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence have denounced the investigation as politically motivated.

The Minnesota Republican presidential primary next year is to take place on March 5th.

Trump’s next court date is in December — setting the state for him to be juggling presidential campaign events with appearances in court.

“This is going to be occurring, this trial, really in the dead heart for our purposes, the Republican primaries,” Schultz says. “Is he going to be out on the stump or is he going to be in court? He doesn’t have to really be in court, but as a lawyer and law professor, I would say you do not want to not be in court if you’re facing a criminal trial.”