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Donald Trump Broke America

Donald Trump. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
Former President of the United States Donald Trump speaking with attendees at the 2022 Student Action Summit at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida.

It’s tricky to figure out how much Donald Trump’s legal woes are hurting him politically. Rank and file Republicans appear to have rallied around him including various GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill and some conservative presidential candidates – one of whom has said he would pardon Trump should he become president. That leaves ordinary Americans to ponder whether they should withdraw their support from the embattled former commander-in-chief. These inclinations naturally break down by party lines, but we can take a look at recent polling numbers to see how Independents and right-leaning or left-leaning voters think about Trump’s two indictments.

What Does This Survey Say?

Let’s analyze a June 11 poll from ABC News and Ipsos for the latest in Trump’s support. The first question of the survey asked how serious respondents view Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents.

No surprise with the Democrats. The survey revealed 91 percent of D’s view the charges as “serious.” But a decent percentage of Republicans – 38 percent – also view Trump’s legal situation as serious. That’s a significant number. Independents are leaning toward viewing Trump’s legal woes as a noteworthy development. Sixty-three percent think the latest charges are worrisome. In the aggregate of all voters, 61 percent think the Trump allegations are serious. Such a strong majority is not a good sign for the president.

Almost Half Say He Should Have Been Arrested

The next question is slightly more telling. When asked whether Trump should be charged in the classified documents case, 48 percent said yes and 35 percent said no. So, there are still holdouts who think this is much ado about nothing.     

Forty-seven percent believe the charges are politically motivated. Independents are split down the middle on whether the legal situation is about partisan politics. That is an interesting finding because it shows that almost half of Americans surveyed believe the justice system is unfair to Trump. That’s not a good sign for democracy. And it has presidential candidates such as Vivek Ramaswamy wanting to disband the FBI and former Vice President Mike Pence declaring that he would fire the director of the FBI and “clean house” at the Department of Justice.

ABC News and Ipsos conducted a similar poll in April and compared the results in June. They found that “perceptions have shifted on the severity of this indictment compared to the last, attitudes are stable on whether Trump should be charged for a crime, whether the charges are politically motivated, and whether or not he should suspend his campaign.”

Nearly Half Say Donald Trump Should Stop Campaigning

Forty-six percent of voters want Trump to quit his campaign. That is almost a majority although many of these “end it all” respondents were Democrats along with a sizable portion of Independents. Trump has said he will not cease campaigning.

Overall, this poll is not a good look for the former president and the GOP. There are just too many voters – especially Independents – who are concerned about Trump’s legal situation. And things can get worse. Trump is being investigated for his actions leading up to and during the January 6 insurrection and for allegedly trying to change the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia – a vote that he lost.

Does the United States Have a Broken Democracy?

Let’s say he gets indicted on one of those cases and no charges are brought on the other. It is difficult to foresee a situation in which many voters would forgive Trump for his transgressions. Republicans are likely to stick with the former president and not consider three indictments to be serious. He is likely to lose more Independents should his legal woes get worse. If he is convicted, he is likely to lose more support. However, Trump may not even be the Republican nominee. And President Joe Biden is also being investigated for public corruption. This means many voters could choose their candidate based on each person’s legal situation. That is a sad state of affairs for democracy. Two candidates who are being accused of crimes are certainly not in the nation’s interests and shows that the United States is not a paragon of a corruption-free political system.

Maybe American democracy is broken in some respects. I guess we will have an answer soon. 

Author Expertise and Experience: Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.

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Now serving as 1945s New Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. Eastwood, PhD, is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer.