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Trump Just Proved How Stupid He Is

President of the United States Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a "Keep America Great" rally at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, Arizona. Image by Gage Skidmore.
President of the United States Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a "Keep America Great" rally at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, Arizona.

Donald Trump could pay a heavy price for his classified documents scandal and other allegations – a defeat at the polls. And none of this had to happen: 

Democrats think Donald Trump is a criminal. Many Republicans think he is innocent and a victim of political persecution. But what do Independents believe? This moderate voting bloc could swing away from Trump should he win the Republican nomination in a race that he is currently leading comfortably. The former president has already been indicted twice – the first for a hush money scheme in New York and the second for mishandling classified documents in violation of the Espionage Act among other charges.

More Indictments Could Be Forthcoming

Trump could still be indicted for his actions leading up to and during the January 6 insurrection.

He is also at risk of being arrested for his efforts to interfere with the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. Independents could look past the falsifying business records case regarding his payments to silence an adult video star who he allegedly had an extramarital affair with. And perhaps they could determine that the classified documents saga is not that serious. But one or two more indictments could seal the deal on his fate and result in him losing a general election bid against President Joe Biden.

Republicans Are Rallying Around Trump

Since the indictment for the classified documents Trump has received a bump from Republican voters. According to a June 13th Morning Consult poll. Fifty-nine percent of GOP voters support the former president. That is an improvement of four points when the poll was taken before the indictment. Trump and Biden are tied at 42 percent in a hypothetical matchup. In a Reuters poll released June 13, 81 percent of Republicans think that “politics is driving” the classified documents case.

How Do Moderates Feel About the Latest Charges?

An ABC News/ Ipsos poll questioned Independents about the latest indictment. It found that “Among Independents, 45 percent said Trump should have been charged, a third said he should not have been, and 22 percent said they didn’t know. Overall, 57 percent of Independents in this poll had an unfavorable view of Trump and, again, a majority of Independents were also more likely to count the charges as serious.”

This is bad news for Trump and proves he could pay a high price for his alleged misteps. In the same poll, 44 percent of Independents said Trump should end his campaign. Swing voters appear to be concerned about the charges, although 22 percent in the above survey still don’t know how they feel about his legal situation. This element of voters could come out against Trump should there be more indictments.

Perception of Accusations Breaks Down By Party Lines

So, it appears that a significant number of Republicans tend to believe the charges are specious, Democrats believe he is guilty, and some Independents have come out against the president. This has resulted in low overall opinion approval ratings for Trump. According to a FiveThirtyEight polling average, Trump only garners the support of around 40 percent of Americans. Meanwhile, in a similar aggregation average, 41 percent of Americans approve of Biden.

This race is neck and neck should Trump be the nominee. But how will Independents vote should there be a rematch between Trump and Biden? Those uncommitted Independents are likely to break toward Biden should Trump be indicted again. That is just too much legal jeopardy for moderates to take. Trump could survive with only two indictments, but three or four would likely send moderates to the exits.

But no-one in the current field can play the victim card as well as Trump. He also has the ability to compartmentalize the legal woes and adjust his campaigning without missing a beat. After being arraigned and pleading innocent to all charges on June 13, he visited a Cuban restaurant in Miami and hobnobbed with voters, taking photos and appearing to be unaffected by his legal situation. This seeming confidence is what Republicans love about Trump, but this carefree attitude may hurt him with Independents who believe that he is not taking the charges seriously.

However, I don’t see how he could win the general without the support of Independents. They don’t appear to like Biden that much, but having an accused criminal or even a convicted one could affect their voting decision. That means moderates could pull the lever for Biden should Trump face more legal charges, even though Biden is going through his own investigation for perceived corruption and bribery allegations.

Clearly, Donald Trump should have thought twice about how he should handled those classified documents – and all of the other legal nightmare he seems to have created. 

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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Written By

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.