Faced with each new judicial attack, Donald Trump and his followers reinforce their positions. And with his indictment on Tuesday for his alleged attempt to steal the 2020 election, that has once again been on display to an extreme degree. Because, a few minutes after the news was released, his campaign posted a message on his Truth Social social network in which he declared that “the illegality of these persecutions of President Trump and his followers are reminiscent of those of Nazi Germany in the 1930s, those of the former Soviet Union, and other authoritarian and dictatorial regimes”.
It has been a comparison that has sparked criticism from America’s influential Jewish community, with some of its most important organizations, such as the Anti-Defamation League, calling it “offensive” and “shameful.” But it sets the tone for Trump’s response, and his supporters more generally, whenever they suffer a legal or political setback. In fact, it is an effective strategy, at least for the former president. With an overwhelming lead in the Republican nomination for next year’s election, the former president of the United States knows that flamboyant rhetoric, threats of more violence by his supporters and a refusal to admit any wrongdoing are a guaranteed hit technique that the newspaper columnist USA Today Susan Page defined it succinctly in two words: “Deny and Defy”. To this is added that the Republican Party, once again, has closed ranks around the former president.
Although there are still 15 months to go before the elections, a survey published on Monday by the daily The New York Timen showed the current president, Joe Biden, and Donald Trump, tied with 46% of the vote each. Former President Barack Obama himself has privately conveyed to Biden his fear that Trump will win the 2024 elections, thanks to the tremendous mobilization of his base, the demotivation of Democrats, and the existence of a wide network of media outlets that support , directly or indirectly, to the former president. A vote tie between Trump and Biden would in practice mean a victory for the former, since Republicans win in less populated states, which are overrepresented in the US electoral system. In fact, for 32 years, there has only been one election in which the Republican candidate got more votes than the Democrat. It was in 2004, when George w. Bush was reelected. Trump never got more ballots than his rivals, neither when he won, in 2016, nor when he lost, in 2020.
In fact, the most watched news television network in the United States, Fox News, held a dinner among its top managers and Trump on Tuesday night, just hours after the indictment was made public. The meeting seems to mark a new reconciliation, after the Fox News candidate for 2024, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, continues to fail to rise in the polls despite having spent almost 40 million dollars -practically all of his funds- on the first months of a campaign that has only taken him from being the great hope of anti-Trumpism to the great political disappointment of 2023.
Not that Trump is doing much better financially. On legal expenses alone, his campaign has spent $40 million so far this year. And one of the organizations supporting his re-election – in the US, campaigns are divided into several independent sections to circumvent legal funding limits – is virtually bankrupt after having spent more than $100 million since Trump announced in November that he was going to to run in the elections. Still, those who have seen his campaign agree that it is effective and well organized. If in 2016, with a much more chaotic team, Trump was able to win, there is no reason to think that his legal problems will prevent him from repeating in 2024.