New York (Dagbladet): Donald Trump hasn’t had a good week. On Monday, he issued an angry statement when the FBI searched his home, Mar-a-Lago, in Florida. They are said to have been searching for classified documents that Trump may have illegally kept. The former president himself thinks the whole thing is a political manhunt.
These are tough times for our country when my sweet home in Mar-a-Lago is now surrounded, searched and occupied by a large group of FBI agents. Trump wrote in a statement that this had never happened before for the President of the United States.
Trump is now under investigation for possible violations of the Espionage Act due to the possible withholding of the sensitive document. The FBI found classified and top-secret documents at Trump’s home, and according to the Washington Post, they were said to have been searching for documents related to nuclear weapons.
Large parts of the Republican Party also pursued statements of support for Trump, with harsh results against Democratic Attorney General Merrick Garland and the FBI. The completely unprecedented event sparked violent outrage among Trump’s most loyal supporters.
Trump has built his reputation as someone who challenges elites. The FBI’s research makes him a persecuted victim in the eyes of his supporters. They are very excited about this. At the same time, he is losing support among moderate Republicans and independent voters. Especially suburban women, a very important constituency, are tired of Trump and scandals, Democratic pollster and history professor John Zogby tells Dagbladet.
He believes the research shows that Trump is one step closer to being charged with criminal acts.
– There’s obviously smoke here. If there is also a fire, the documents will appear. Regardless, the courts and Attorney General Merrick Garland believe that it was likely that a crime had been committed and that a search was necessary. Many leftists in American politics are deeply frustrated with Garland and have accused him of not suing Trump, Zogby says.
The historian and pollster has followed American politics for many decades. With Trump, a lot is happening for the first time.
– I can explain it, but it is still very difficult to believe that all this is happening. We faced great challenges to American democracy in the past, too, with the Civil War and Watergate. But what is happening now is of enormous magnitude. Zogby says he is challenging the institutions that tens of millions of Americans depend on to stay safe.
In addition to research in Florida, Trump is also surrounded by a wide range of other legal issues. On Wednesday, he had to appear for questioning in New York, where his company is under investigation.
Living with the consequences
The inspection incites Trump’s primary voters. This plays right into their sense that they and Trump are victims of the elite. Much of what Trump and his movement are doing is motivated by bitter anger, Ross Baker, a professor of political science at Rutgers University, tells Dagbladet.
Trump is the first US president ever to ask the FBI to search his home.
Trump has broken down a lot of barriers. No other president in American history can be accused of trying to overthrow the country. The enormity of what Trump did on January 6 puts him in an entirely unique position unlike any other American president. Baker says he is now living with the consequences of what he did.
At the same time, there were many opponents of Trump who were satisfied with the research.
The research was a relief to all those who wanted to see that Trump was being investigated properly. But at the same time, it has sparked enormous anger among Trump’s loyal followers, David Birdsell tells Dagbladet.
He is a professor at Keene University and an expert in political communication.
Birdsell also believes that the research will make it more difficult for Republicans to achieve the electoral victory they hope for in the November midterm elections.
The polls are quite clear that Republicans are unlikely to hold an early election. I also think we can count on Trump announcing even before the midterm elections that he will run for president, Birdsell says.
He thinks there are three main reasons why this fall’s election isn’t as likely to be as good as Republicans thought a short time ago.
– They have nominated extremist candidates. Supreme Court decision on abortion. In addition, the Democrats have scored several major political victories in recent weeks. At the same time, Republicans did a number of strange things that kept voters away from them, Birdsell says.
Trump has long toyed with the idea that he will run for president again in 2024. Many believe he will announce his candidacy even before the midterm elections. It could lead to a historically unprecedented situation if Trump is indeed indicted.
Playing the victim
– Then we could have a situation in which a presidential candidate charged with crimes is on the move. Zogby says Trump is at his best when he can play the victim, and that could give him a completely unique opportunity to play the victim.
Republicans are still willing to take control of the House. They can also win control of the Senate. But their lead in the polls appears to be shrinking. However, in the run-up to the midterm elections, it could be bad news for other Republicans if it’s all about Trump.
Trump’s shield is rusting. Zogby says he is in a lot of trouble now.
Baker believes that Trump intends to run for president shortly before the midterm elections.
Baker explains that he personally wants to take credit for his victory in the Republican elections.
At the same time, he points out that the Republican Party is divided and that many are deeply fed up with Trump and all the scandals.
At least 20% of registered Republican voters will not vote for Trump as president. They might not vote for Biden either, but they don’t want Trump as president. Meanwhile, Democrats testify that many of their voters are now beginning to mobilize, among other things, as a result of the Supreme Court’s abortion decision, Baker says.
He believes that more and more people within the Republican Party are tired of Trump and want a new face.
– They don’t want to continue litigating in the 2020 election. They want to talk about other topics, but that won’t work as long as Trump is around, and as long as the most loyal supporters continue to resign from him. Many see this as an obsession within the party, says Baker.
– No chance
Neither Zogby, nor Baker, nor Birdcell believe that Trump will in fact be able to win the presidential election in 2024 if he becomes the Republican nominee.
– There is no chance of winning the presidential election in 2024. All the baggage he carries with him is highly toxic. Baker says most Americans don’t want to go through this again.
What would Trump’s second presidency look like if he actually won?
– It will be Mussolini. Something completely unimaginable had to happen for Trump to win this. I can’t now imagine the circumstances that would make him win, but of course it is entirely possible to come up with horrific scenarios for 2024.
Birdsell also describes it as a frightening scenario if Trump becomes president again.
– We can already see how the circle around him plans it. And they are likely to do serious damage—particularly to the American bureaucracy. They have already announced that they have 25,000 loyal MAGA supporters ready to enter the bureaucracy. The changes will likely be more comprehensive than those we saw from 2017 to 2021. They will be authoritarian and outright anti-democratic. It’s a terribly frightening prospect for both Americans and the rest of the world, says Birdsell.
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