What Trump’s indictment means for 2024

Former President of the United States Donald Trump speaking with attendees at the “Rally to Protect Our Elections” hosted by Turning Point Action at Arizona Federal Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Gage Skidmore/The Star News Network.

Well, it finally happened. I genuinely thought this whole thing was a push by the Fox News outrage machine to fearmonger their loyal listeners, but here we are: Donald Trump has been indicted by the New York grand jury for a staggering 34 felony charges highlighted by his involvement in hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels. The stunning move makes Trump the first president in American history to face criminal charges and makes Daniels the most powerful porn star in history. Members of “The #Resistance” and other liberal activists have celebrated this victory like they just won a war. But what they fail to realize is that indicting Trump could have catastrophic effects on both the 2024 presidential election and the future of our country.  

I’m sure some of you reading this might be confused about my last statement. Make no mistake, Trump deserves to rot behind bars for the rest of his life for a platitude of reasons ranging from decades of shady business practices to being the main instigator of the Jan 6. insurrection. He’s easily America’s most catastrophic president since the reign of Dick Cheney — Bush was technically president, but let’s be real, Cheney ran the show. Currently, Trump is on his revenge tour to win back the presidency in 2024 since he still refuses to accept that he lost in 2020. Despite his insistence that he lost and his legacy of chaos, Trump is still polling as the favorite to win the Republican nomination for president. If he wins the nomination, I highly doubt his chances in the general election, as he’d be hampered by being the only presidential candidate in history who has been both impeached and faced criminal charges. Trump on the ballot would likely set up Joe Biden on a relatively clear path to reelection, which would mark a grave defeat for Trump’s political career and the dangerous Trumpism ideology.  

But the indictment greatly shakes up the trajectory for 2024. Running while being criminally indicted is going to hurt Trump in the primary more than Democrats realize. Anti-Trump sentiment has been growing amongst Republicans since their dissappointing results in the previous midterm elections, and his indictment may be the last straw. The indictment is a major piece of baggage that not only sabotages his chances in the general election, but may spell doom for him in the primary. With his chokehold on the Republican base loosening, the time is ripe for him to face a significant primary challenge. And there’s nobody who benefits more from this than Trump’s favorite governor, Ron DeSantis.  

DeSantis has been the subject of widespread speculation about whether or not he pursues a bid for the presidency in the coming election. He’s yet to declare a bid, but a sizable number of Republicans — many of whom were stalwart Trump allies — have already endorsed him and regard him as the future of the party. He’s the most legitimate threat to defeat Trump in the primary, as the campaigns of Nikki Haley and Asa Hutchinson are long-shot bids that are more symbolic than anything. Now that Trump has been indicted, it’s only a matter of time before DeSantis jumps in, as Trump’s legal issues set up a perfect opportunity for DeSantis. Though the MAGA base is claiming that the indictment will help Trump, it seems counterintuitive that having 34 felony charges is something that will benefit him. If anything, it adds more fuel to the slowly growing anti-Trump fire and could result in a significant amount of Republicans abandoning Trump once and for all. DeSantis would be the ideal candidate to win over these disgruntled Trump supporters, as he shares a lot of the same policy views of Trump, but doesn’t have the legal baggage. If DeSantis is able to tap into this growing ire, he could easily win the Republican nomination and place a dagger in Trump’s political career. 

While Republicans would celebrate this, the rest of the country should be very concerned if DeSantis wins the nomination. He would likely be facing off against Biden in 2024, despite the fact that he will be 81 years-old on election day. Biden’s strongest chance for reelection would be against the scandal-ridden Trump, who would be very vulnerable in the general election. But having DeSantis on the ballot would bring the already high age concerns about Biden to the forefront of the campaign, as there would be a staggering 35-year age difference between the two on election day. This alone could help DeSantis win over undecided voters, since they’re the most gullible and frankly dumbest voting group that also happens to be one of the most important. While it’s too far out to make an accurate election prediction now, DeSantis should be considered the favorite over the rapidly aging Biden and would be in the driver’s seat to win the presidency.  

If DeSantis ends up winning the presidency, the American people should be very scared. DeSantis has ruled Florida as a wreckless authoritarian who seeks to silence anyone who dares criticize him. Propelled by supermajorities in the Florida Reichstag, he’s passed a slew of disastrous policies that negatively target the LGBTQ+ community, voting rights and schools in Florida. I see no reason to believe that he would operate differently in the White House, as he would try to push for legislation that would fundamentally destroy our country and its future. What’s even scarier is that he would likely have the chance to appoint new Supreme Court justices, as the partisan hacks known as Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito are in their 70s. This would cement the Supreme Court’s dangerous ultraconservative majority and doom the country for decades to come with terrible decisions that would send the United States back centuries.  

My point is this: Though Trump’s indictment is deserved and justified, it gives an undeniable boost for DeSantis’ presidential ambitions. The prospect of a DeSantis candidacy should strike fear into moderate voters and any American who desires their freedom. If DeSantis ends up winning the presidency, he should thank Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and the Manhattan Grand Jury for taking down Trump so he could begin his reign of terror over the United States.  

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