While Donald Trump is the only American former president to face federal prosecution, he is not the first president to run after being charged with federal crimes.
Under federal law, the indictments against Mr. Trump, unsealed on Friday, present no legal impediment to his ongoing campaign to seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
The Constitution does not prevent an individual who has been convicted of a felony from running for president; nor does the Constitution bar a former/current president or any other civil officer from running for or being reelected to a federal office, abiding term limits.
However, campaigning in the face of federal prosecution will require astonishing means – both financial and political.
While legally Trump can still run for president even if he is convicted, pundits on both sides of the aisle have an opinion on whether or not he should.
Where Do Voters Stand?
Some Republicans may resign to the left’s weaponization of the justice department and conclude that Trump, while a fierce warrior, is just too wounded to win the battle for the White House.
Others, particularly his unrelenting MAGA base, refuse to yield. The recent indictment against Trump concerning his handling of classified documents has only seemed to strengthen the momentum of his presidential campaign.
He’s whipped his MAGA base into a frenzy, adding fuel to their conspiratorial fires. Trump has even given his followers a new collective title – MAGADONIANS – which they have enthusiastically embraced.
Trump described Magadonians in his June 2nd Truth Social post, in his characteristic all-caps format.
“WE ARE VERY SMART, WE STICK TOGETGHER AS ONE, WE FOLLOW TRUTH SOCIAL, WE PUT ‘AMERICAN FIRST,’ AND WE WILL ‘MAKE AMERICAN GREAT AGAIN!’”
Others, rally behind Donald Trump on principle. They may not love him, but they are disheartened by the unequal treatment Trump, and frankly any conservative, seems to receive from a highly politicized justice department.
People may not like Trump, but they hate Biden and the unprincipled and opportunistic political elite he represents even more.
These are the anti-establishment voters. Some have even tossed out idealistic musings about a Trump – Kennedy, Jr. ticket. This, they contend, would be the ultimate force against maligned cooperation between tech, media, and a profit-seeking political elite that colludes with corporate entities such as big pharma.
Donald Trump Still in The Lead
I believe, secretly, everyone would be more than a little relieved if Trump backed down, but the odds of that happening are about the same as being killed by a vending machine – roughly 1 in 112 million, according to one website.
In an interview with Tucker Carlson back in April, Trump stated that even if he were convicted of a crime he would continue campaigning for the White House.
“I wouldn’t even think about leaving,” Trump told reporters ahead of his speech. “Probably it will enhance my numbers.”
He seems to be right.
As of Monday, the first weekday after Trump’s charges were revealed over the weekend, polls show Trump leading DeSantis, his next closest competitor in the Republican primary, by a significant spread – 36 points.
Furthermore, according to a YouGov poll, 14 percent of likely GOP primary voters viewed Trump “for the better” in light of the indictment charges; 61 percent said the charges “won’t change” their view, 18 percent said “it depends,” and only 7 percent said “for the worse.”
The Man To Beat All Odds
The New York Times claimed that while a continued campaign in 2024 would be legal, it would be extraordinary. Clearly, they haven’t been paying much attention over the past seven years.
Trump has evaded two impeachment efforts, been exonerated from any wrongdoing in the Russian collusion hoax, survived a myriad of political and personal scandals, and still come out on top.
Extraordinary is what Donald J. Trump does. If there is anyone who could pull off a presidential win from jail, it would be him.
Jennifer Galardi is the politics and culture editor for 19Fortyfive, writing opinion columns for the publication. She has a Master’s in Public Policy from Pepperdine University and produces and hosts the podcast Connection with conversations that address health, culture, politics, and policy. In a previous life, she wrote for publications in the health, fitness, and nutrition space. In addition, her pieces have been published in the Epoch Times and Pepperdine Policy Review. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.