According to Trump insiders, Donald Trump’s campaign will use his indictment to refocus the 2024 presidential race on “fear” of the “deep state.”
After being charged by a Manhattan grand jury, the former president has switched his narrative, focusing his post-arraignment statement at Mar-a-Lago on the other legal charges hanging over him. Others close to Trump claimed such rhetoric would continue throughout his campaign and that further “B.S. indictments” would benefit the campaign politically.
Fear is one of the most potent motivators in electoral politics, and when you can look a voter in the eyes and say, ‘If they’re trying to do this to me, imagine what they’ll do to you if they have a chance…’ Trump knows how to promote this political fear, according to a former senior Trump White House staffer.
According to a GOP strategist close to the Trump campaign, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago address was setting out the case that the entire system has been out to get him since day one and teeing up the messaging that it’s going to be about him vs. the system.
Trump’s team received a lift immediately after he was charged and arraigned on charges of allegedly manipulating company records to pay hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels. The former president’s poll numbers rose above his opponents, and the campaign promptly raised more than $12 million.
According to the two Trump insiders, the surge in poll numbers is anticipated to continue through the GOP primary as the other contenders try to identify themselves in contrast to the former president.
One GOP adviser close to the campaign believes this indictment alters everything. The entire cosmos has shifted, and it has become very hard for Republicans to oppose Trump without appearing to be “teaming up” with the New York DA after what Alvin Bragg has done.
The former Trump White House staffer said that defending Trump at this time is a litmus test for every candidate as to whether or not you’re going to be prepared to stand up to the politicization of the American legal system or the so-called “deep state.”
The staffer went on to say that in the case of DeSantis, you’re attempting to be Trump-like; you need some distance from Trump and show some difference with Trump without alienating his supporters, whom you must convert into your supporters. The former White House official stated that you’re seeing DeSantis’ poll numbers plummet because it’s getting increasingly difficult to discern which lane he’s going down.
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has not declared a presidential run but is Trump’s primary opponent in the polls, released a statement in favor of the former president following the indictment. His poll ratings have dropped subsequently. Several candidates, both announced and potential, have backed Trump in his legal struggle with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
One official backing Trump’s election campaign disputed that Trump plans to change his strategy, citing DeSantis’ poll results. DeSantis’ poll numbers were already plummeting before the indictment during a book tour that included softball appearances on Fox. Since his indictment, Trump’s approval rating has risen beyond 50% in numerous polls, and he is the clear favorite. “Why fix what isn’t broken?” the official said.
Trump’s next court appearance will probably be in December, and the Manhattan jury is anticipated to reconvene in January. According to a former Trump White House staffer, these dates will be “flashpoints” in the campaign, and the Trump team will aim to “seize” the opportunity provided by the indictment.
If Trump is charged on charges connected to confidential materials, the Trump Organization, or suspected efforts to disrupt the 2020 election — all active cases against him — the campaign will pivot to convert the indictments into a positive, according to the former official.
Another indictment “identical to this one.” It’s not precisely what you’d want in a perfect world, but it does provide a significant political opportunity.
“No one wants B.S. indictments.” Nobody wants to be prosecuted on false charges, which is distinct from whether it would benefit Trump politically.