Buried with indictments, Trump will be stamped with guilt, lose credibility and forfeit crucial swing voters

Whatever your politics, “Trump” and “loser” will be his linked lockstep legacy.


Win, lose or draw, Trump’s non-stop felony trial parade confirms an unfit, defiant loser who belongs in jail, not the White House 

Name one national American politician who survived never-ending, serious indictments and reams of horrendous court evidence, let alone guilty verdicts, then afterwards won (re)election. We’re not talking sideline violations, but a fistful of feckless felonies proved by a spigot of damnation. What personal bragging rights or major achievements can Trump boast – beyond his loudmouth charisma – that offsets dire denunciations? What real-world positive, Zelensky-like, has he ever heroically, single-handedly pulled off?

Forget the opponent, where’s any path – short of divine intervention – to national electability? That half of Republicans are blind to such realistic prospects speaks to irrational allegiance, ignorance of history, and a rush to suffer another humiliating defeat. Even FOX noise commentary deems Trump’s unelectable because 73% polled register hisserious infractions, “’Insurmountable’: Fox News guest says ‘real problem Republicans have’ is Trump can’t win.” Explained Princeton political scientist Lauren Wright (no liberal), “Are you going to vote for this person that is in a very, very weak position in a national election?”

Since Trump loses court cases as often as elections, perpetual trials will cement his singular legacy as an epic loser and serial criminal. What modern earthling has enough compensatory charisma? So, let’s not fret over liberal hue and cry about the Trump espionage charges, dreading the Florida venue and the biased, inexperienced judge, Aileen Cannon. Yet even having a lackey Trumper without relevant judicial experience in charge (under total scrutiny) will not save the Donald from his mounting notoriety. 

If Trump loses in Florida, so much the worse since he can’t demonize the proceedings. If the decision is unclear, Cannon’s predictable blunders (she’s also without any national security expertise) cannot but help the prosecution’s appeal. Plus, if things break down, the feds will seek a more neutral New Jersey setting. 

Right, getting elected from jail?

Whatever – look at the forest, not the trees. First, the unbelievably damning evidence for abuse of top secrets, then heavy-duty obstruction – without disagreement on the facts or the statutes. Only the hardest core Trump jury person would dare consider acquitting. The staggering pre-election reality – or unreality, a tsunami of indictments against a president – diminishes the importance of any specific outcomes or penalties. A “forever defendant politician” remains an irreconcilable contradiction, especially since the elected are supposedly hired to make and enforce laws, judgments and regulations. Just down Trump’s line.

So, even with hung juries or ambiguous results, will it greatly matter to the sole electorate that counts in 2024: the 10 % of centrist/swing voters (like Obama/Trump types) who decide the Electoral College? How many back Trump now? The hardcore 40%+ of Democratic voters are unshakeable – Trump is unfit for any office – plus, a nasty piece of work. The undying 35% on the right (bubble-imprisoned) won’t ever reject their victim/champion or vote Democratic– even were Trump to murder (on tape) some evil “deep state” kingpin on Fifth Avenue. The rogue right revels in law-breaking, lying, dishonest “maverick” hustlers who flaunt fabricated, woe-is-me victimhood. One or two mind-boggling verdicts will reduce Trump’s centrist and rightwing turnout, electing Biden and House/Senate Dems. Another electoral backlash. 

The more, the far less the merrier 

So, my thesis today is that non-stop, serial criminal indictments, let alone publicized trials saturated with hard evidence, delivers a devastating message to swing voters: here’s an untrustworthy conniver, unfit and unqualified and, worse still, an unelectable loser. Unending bad press is bad news – especially when the world confronts in the flesh the corrupt, even disgusting Trump character. Trial after trial, none the result of fantasy conspiracy ambushes, will take its toll and cost Trump a fortune, maybe hundreds of millions. For centrists, the constant media barrage will “convict” Trump beyond all reasonable doubt, whatever the delays or mixed outcomes. Thus let Judge Cannon do her worst. Nothing can save Trump from himself – nor from the legal torrent and unfiltered exposure on tap. 

Has anyone heard either plausible legal defenses (on the top secrets theft), nor the opening gambit for an offsetting outreach strategy? Nada and nada. Yelling “weaponization” and “witch hunt” and “I am being persecuted” is what guilty defendants do, void of the PR clout it may once have had. If the crimes were technical, or from sloppiness rather than overt intention, Trump might have remained viable. Were Trump an otherwise trustworthy, honest, or untainted candidate, that could reduce the upcoming stings. But Trump is the most corrupt and least reliable president in history – a malefactor who not only breaks the law but then boasts about what he just “got away with.” I still posit Trump has a self-destructive death wish, taunting prosecutors to indict him so his alleged virtue and nobility magically surface (and look how well that’s gone). His legal losses are inevitable when he exiles good lawyers and listens only to quacks. 

The real Trump, a sleazy, dim crook

In short, Trump is the most vulnerable defendant imaginable, the most polarizing politician ever, and the most reckless, arrogant lawbreaker. This is some winning character reference. That’s why Trump stands alone across American history. Hell, there’s barely one example of a losing president or party candidate getting re-nominated, let alone succeeding. Nor can I find across military, sports, hooligan or business figures one who’s come back from the dead after serial, public humiliations. There will be no pardon options in NY, NJ, or Georgia and none that won’t produce monumental backlashes. 

Finally, we still have to factor in the political fallout from weeks and weeks of excruciating details that expose the real Trump, how he thinks (or lurches madly), and what derangement drives his malignant (“eight year old” per Barr) narcissism, Whether the defendant looks incredibly calculating, reckless, ignorant, or depraved, his propaganda as an independent, populist maverick out for others will dissolve. Even were the most improbable miracles to come about – being acquitted – by what magic will this (or any savvier) politician survive unbroken? 

The Trumpster may hornswoggle enough benighted Republicans to get nominated, but will he not be less electable next year? Whatever your politics, “Trump” and “loser” will be his linked lockstep legacy. This clownish, unstable Donald who sucks up the wrong advice and brings the wrong arms will be taken down by the prosecutorial Goliaths with pulverizing testimony. If the infamy of permanent house arrest is not his fate, whither Trump?


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For over a decade, Robert S. Becker's independent, rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, history, implications, messaging and frameworks. He has been published widely, aside from Nation of Change and RSN, with extensive credits from OpEdNews (as senior editor), Alternet, Salon, Truthdig, Smirking Chimp, Dandelion Salad, Beyond Chron, and the SF Chronicle. Educated at Rutgers College, N.J. (B.A. English) and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D. English), Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, then U. Chicago) for business, founding SOTA Industries, a top American high end audio company he ran from '80 to '92. From '92-02, he was an anti-gravel mining activist while doing marketing, business and writing consulting. Since then, he seeks out insight, even wit in the shadows, without ideology or righteousness across the current mayhem of American politics.