Tuesday – the day Trump had proclaimed would be the day he was arrested – came and went without incident, prompting some to ask: did Trump make the whole thing up for political gain?
No, no, he did not.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office, led by Alvin Bragg, is most certainly gearing up to indict Trump, so Trump was truthful when he predicted that he would be arrested and taken for a “perp-walk.”
Still, the former president was likely promoting his pending arrest for political gain.
Trump Case: Where does the Manhattan DA stand?
Bragg’s case against Trump is developing rapidly, and the entire world is waiting patiently for news of those developments.
Today looked to be especially important; as the grand jury was meeting and potentially voting on whether to indict Trump on charges relating to 2016 hush-money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels.
Meaning that today could have well marked the first time in US history that a former president is charged criminally. However, that meeting was delayed.
Stay tuned, we’ll know more soon.
But even if the grand jury votes soon, and even if the grand jury votes to indict Trump, it could be a while before Trump takes a “perp walk.”
According to POLITICO, “white-collar cases typically involve a whole lot of negotiations over how and when the accused have to turn themselves in – and those talks will be further complicated by the fact that this is a former president with Secret Service protection.”
What would an indictment mean politically?
The former president seems to be embracing the idea that he will be getting arrested.
And why not?
Trump has spent years building a political persona around the idea that he is a persecuted individual, the victim of an unrelenting Democratic witch-hunt.
Trump overdoes it – but there is some truth to the idea that Democrats have pursued the former president vigorously, without reprieve, for almost a decade.
Even the case now at issue, Bragg’s Stormy Daniels hush-money case, was until recently a “zombie case,” dead in the water. That the Manhattan DA reanimated the case, lends credence to the idea that Democrats will stop at nothing, and will turn over every possible rock in the effort to indict Trump.
What will MAGA and moderate Republicans think?
Like I said, there is some truth to that narrative (there’s also truth to the narrative that Trump has likely broken the law in multiple instances). Either way, Trump knows that his base will accept any arrest, regardless of the merits, as proof-positive that Trump is the subject of a Democrat-led witch-hunt and will respond with zealous support.
I think Trump is correct; I think MAGA-Nation will find the arrest validating. But will an arrest discourage more mainstream Republicans from supporting the former president in the future?
Remember, Trump has enjoyed widespread support (however reluctant that support may have been) from the Republican Party during the last two presidential election cycles. Maybe a full-on arrest would cause the mainstream GOP to finally migrate towards another candidate (say, Ron DeSantis).
MORE: Is AOC a Sellout?
As for undecided moderate, swing-voters, an arrest is unlikely to persuade any of them to pitch their tent in Trump’s camp.
So, the upshot of the Doanld promoting his own arrest may have a limited ceiling – it will likely satisfy the people who are already staunchly in Trump’s corners, without winning him any new supporters (and perhaps even dispelling existing supporters).
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.