Last week, I predicted that an indictment of Donald Trump would help him with fundraising. Now that the indictment has happened, Trump raised more than 4 million USD in the first 24 hours. Emotion is the key driver for message driven grassroots fundraising. As mentioned, this is also the reason why Trump continued to push the narrative of the stolen election; it was great for fundraising purposes.
The indictment will foremost be a challenge for the Republican Party and its allies. The party of family values will gloss over an extramarital affair with a porn star. The party of law & order will argue that booking hush money payment as a business expense is a technicality.
In the U.S., the party that is out of the White House is always a bit disoriented. On the one hand, there will therefore be the core supporters of Donald Trump who will join the claim that the indictment is politically motivated. On the other hand, there are the moderates, who know that Trump is passé and that Americans rarely go back to the past.
It’s also noteworthy to me that FOX News and the New York Post are not as forceful and unanimous in their support of the former president as they used to be. Even in the Republican primary race, Trump’s position is not as strong as it appears at first glance. Yes, he’s ahead in the early surveys with 45%-50% of the vote (and he has won the nomination with a plurality of the vote before), but these are surveys with Republican primary voters. Trump is known commodity to all of them. What these surveys therefore really say in my view is that 50% do not vote for Trump. I don’t see how an indictment will make them change their mind. Also keep in mind that this indictment is just the beginning of Trump’s legal problems.
In a more general sense, remember this: you can’t win a presidential election alone. You need coalitions. Once the incumbent coalition falls apart, it becomes very difficult to hang on to power.