Former President Donald Trump’s ongoing indictments could become a problem next year at the height of the 2024 presidential election in May.
- On March 9, a Manhattan grand jury indicted the former president of the United States over hush money payments related to a former scandal with pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels.
- On June 8, Trump was briefly arrested with 37 charges of willful retention of classified documents and obstruction of an active investigation, facing trial in 2024.
- On July 10, Trump’s lawyers requested a delay in his federal trial regarding his handling of classified documents, arguing that the trial would interfere with the election cycle.
- On July 12, the Department of Justice reversed its decision to give Trump immunity in the civil lawsuit regarding sexual assault claims made against him by E. Jean Carroll, which could move a trial forward in January.
- On July 18, Trump was also notified that he may face a third indictment as part of special counsel Jack Smith’s probe into attempts to overthrow the 2020 presidential election.
- On July 21, Federal Judge Aileen Cannon’s second indictment trial will begin on May 20, 2024, in U.S. District Court in Fort Pierce, Florida.
Why It’s Important
Trump is the runaway favorite in the upcoming 2024 presidential election among Republican voters. FiveThirtyEight notes that 50.8% of Republican primary voters prefer him as the prospective candidate. This impressive popularity lead began in March amid the indictments—which suggest that his immense popularity unintentionally energizes his fanbase and supporters to believe that the federal government is actively persecuting him.
Unfortunately, this favorably does not extend to independents and Democrats. Betting company EmpireStakes currently holds 34.8% to 30.8% odds that current President Joe Biden wins against Trump in the general election. Recent Morning Consult polls find Biden winning 43% to 42%.
The 2024 Republican National Convention will begin on July 15, 2024, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Republican primaries are scheduled between January 15 and June 4, with a candidate likely to be determined by Super Tuesday on March 5.
This means that most of Trump’s legal troubles could begin after he has already been selected to be the Republican candidate, creating a dangerous situation where the election cycle focuses on his criminal trial and damages his perception among moderates and independents—instead of focusing on Biden’s record of leadership, scandals, and economic issues.
If charges are handed down before election day, Trump may lose his eligibility to run for president and leave the Republican Party without an energized candidate to run, ensuring a Democratic victory. If charges are announced after an election victory, Trump could pardon himself, facing a moral grey area that needs to be litigated in the courts.