“It’s a catastrophic start to the campaign”, judges Lara Brown, professor of political science at George Washington University, believing that Donald Trump is going from “scandals to scandals”. He who hoped to ride a conservative “wave” in the mid-term elections immediately tripped over the carpet after the defeat of most of his proteges.
Dumped by conservative heavyweights, the former president once again found himself at the center of criticism after dining with rapper Kanye West, accused of anti-Semitism, and a white supremacist in late November.
Loss of donors
“Ridiculous”, “repugnant”, “scandalous”: elected Republicans, long anxious not to incur the wrath of their party leader, now have no words strong enough to show their disapproval. They were still strangled when, last weekend, the former president called for abandoning the Constitution in one of his usual diatribes, again denouncing “electoral fraud”.
The failure Tuesday in Georgia of one of its candidates for a seat in the Senate, the former American football player Herschel Walker, drove the point home. “Trump has also seen many of his major donors publicly say they will not support his 2024 candidacy,” Professor Brown adds.
The billionaire, known for his oratory skills and his meetings in front of tides of red caps, has not held the slightest campaign event outside his residence in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, since his declaration of candidacy.
Several open investigations
Political worries which the septuagenarian would have done well. He is already the subject of a myriad of investigations into the management of his archives, as well as into his financial affairs in New York.
His troubles are probably just beginning. For more than a year, the stormy Republican has been under investigation into electoral pressure in Georgia, which could lead to an indictment. And a parliamentary commission, investigating the responsibility of the leader in the attack carried out by his supporters against the American Congress on January 6, 2021, must submit a voluminous report in the coming weeks.
This panel has already indicated that it would recommend indictments, without specifying who could be targeted by these prosecutions. The decision whether or not to charge the former president will ultimately rest with Justice Minister Merrick Garland, who in mid-November appointed a special prosecutor to independently investigate Donald Trump. Without waiting, justice has already condemned his family business for tax evasion, a blow for the ex-businessman, although he himself has not been tried.
Real hold on the party
But be careful not to bury Donald Trump too quickly. Abandoned by part of the conservative nebula after the attack on the American Congress, the former leader had managed in a few months to regain almost total control.
The tribune, whose fall has been announced a thousand times, has so far survived all the scandals. As if, by dint of accumulation, they no longer had any effect on him. Coming to power in November 2016 in an unprecedented political scenario that almost none had predicted, Donald Trump could also be tempted to play this position of rebel candidate, if the defections in his ranks were to continue.
Still favorite of the primary… but until when?
He is still one of the big favorites in the Republican primary, and does not miss an opportunity to remind him, sharing any poll going in this direction. The ex-real estate tycoon can also still count on a loyal base, a hard core that swears unfailing loyalty to him and continues to flock to his campaign meetings.
The latter could however also lose patience, predicts Lara Brown. “If some in his base will rally to him when he says he is the victim of a witch hunt, many others could get tired of it”.
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