Q&A of the Day – The Trump Trials & The 2024 Election Cycle

Q&A of the Day – The Trump Trials & The 2024 Election Cycle 

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods.    

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com   

Social: @brianmuddradio  

iHeartRadio: Use the Talkback feature – the microphone button on our station’s page in the iHeart app.     

Today’s Entry: This is hard to hear for Trumpers. But, @jessekellydc laid it out nicely. Trump will never be president. For those who don't research, the Georgia RICO case and the Mar-A -Lago cases are a near slam dunk. There are already 3 felony convictions in the Georgia RICO case. You best look it up if you don't understand what that means. In Federal cases there is a massive conviction rate. Only .4% of cases were acquittals at trial. 90% were guilty pleas. You can vote for Trump, knowing this fact (whether you like it or not) or you can vote for a candidate that can win. These are facts, not emotion. No matter how you feel about Trump's indictments, it is not going to allow him to become President. Period. #DeSantis is the only choice.  

Bottom Line: The “Great Red State - Blue State Debate” between Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis and California’s Governor Gavin Newsom, as I mentioned in the setup for the debate, had stakes attached to it that transcended a non-sanctioned debate between two governors who aren’t running in an election against each other. For Newsom, an opportunity to further his status as the potential future of the Democrat Party. For DeSantis an opportunity to shift both the narratives and momentum of the Republican primary race before votes start to count in January, or at a minimum, to set himself up for what could be an actual presidential matchup between DeSantis and Newsom in 2028. In advance of the debate many of DeSantis’ supporters were seeking to set the stage for potentially having both non-Trump and Trump voters take another look at the candidate who has consistently polled second to Trump but by an ever-wider margin. DeSantis’ national polled support peaked against the former, and perhaps future President of the United States, in late February when he closed to the gap to about 13-points. As of today, that gap is a whooping 47 points. Trump’s current lead against the entire GOP field of candidates collectively is similar to the margin between DeSantis and Trump once upon a time. Perhaps somewhat ironically, the biggest positive catalysts for increased Trump support throughout the year can be traced to each of the indictments against Trump which happens to be the subject of today’s Q&A.  

Its logical to suggest that if Donald Trump is convicted and jailed for a crime or crimes, in any or multiple cases, it could dramatically lower the likelihood he’d be elected President of the United States. That’s the crux of what Jesse Kelly, who can be heard here nightly, and is referenced in today’s note has to say. Quoting Jesse “the system won’t let Trump be president”. However, as I’ve noted previously, even if Trump were convicted and jailed, he would still be eligible to be elected President of the United States and could even be elected if jailed. The founders intentionally left open the possibility that a political establishment could seek to imprison their political enemies. The founders built a system that placed trust in the will of the people over the desires of government officials. The only exception is in the case of insurrection, which as I’ve also covered, as numerous efforts have been unsuccessfully made to attempt to keep Trump off of state ballots under the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause. The bottom line is that despite having been indicted in 4 criminal cases with 91 pending charges against him, not one of them is for incitement to insurrection, including the federal January 6th related case. And, importantly, as was even recently cited by a Colorado judge who ruled that Trump, in her eyes, was guilty of insurrection, still could not be kept off ballots because the presidency isn’t cited as an office one can be disqualified from under the 14th Amendment. Also, as noted by a judge in Michigan in a separate ballot access case, congress is the constitutional arbiter of insurrection, and congress acquitted Trump of insurrection when tried for it under impeachment proceedings. Thus, any argument designed around Trump potentially becoming ineligible based on potential convictions is false. The fact of the matter is that Trump could be convicted in each of the four cases pending against him on all 91 of the charges brought against him and could be elected and serve as the next President of the United States if voters will it. Thus, the argument is one of a political variety, whether Trump would have enough support to win if convicted, not whether he could be elected.   

In weighing the political possibilities, the timeline of the trials is the first and most important consideration. Here’s what the timeline of the four trials currently looks like: 

There’s a major caveat that applies to the three cases to be tried subsequent to the first federal case March 4th. Those dates may change, or those cases may be delayed, due to the proceedings of the case(s) to be tried before them. Trump, as a defendant, can’t be in multiple court rooms at the same time and that matters for potentially multiple reasons given the political implications involved in this conversation. The first overarching question about the potential political ramifications of a Trump conviction or convictions, is whether there could even be resolution to the cases prior to elections. That premise immediately debunks one of the main assertions in today’s note. That the Georgia RICO case is a slam dunk, and that Trump will be found guilty.  

The fact of the matter is that there’s never been a like case that resulted in a judgement in fewer than five months. In other words, not only will there not be a judgement determined in that case prior to Election Day. There won’t be a judgement in that case prior to Inauguration Day. That case is entirely irrelevant in the context of this conversation. And that leads to me addressing the other case highlighted as a slam dunk... The Mar-a-Lago classified docs case. First, it’s the third case currently scheduled which means that due to the legal proceedings in the first two cases it very well may be forced to be delayed. However, even preceding those possibilities, in early November, Judge Aileen Cannon indicated that she’s set to push back the start date of the trial due to the complications of both the classified evidence in question and the trials scheduled before it. One of the considerations is for the trial to be pushed back until after the presidential election. Nevertheless, any meaningful delay from the current May 20th start date would almost certainly result in a verdict being reached in that case after Election Day as well.  

Ironically, the one case that appears to pose the greatest risk to Trump isn’t one that was cited in today’s note. It’s the first case, the January 6th case. Not only can that case be decided before Election Day, it’s also the case that’s being tried before a judge appointed by President Obama in Washington D.C. - a location Trump won only 5% of the vote in, in 2020. Statistically, independent of other considerations, a jury pool in Washington D.C. would be the least favorable for Trump in any of these cases. Of all of Trump’s criminal cases that one is the one above others to watch. But even then, if Trump were to be convicted in that case, there’s the potential for a federal appeals process to play out. A process with the potential to reach the United States Supreme Court.  

Of course, as it applies to DeSantis and Republican primary voters at large, none of this will be decided before almost all, if not all, primary voters have voted. This is why the press is on with DeSantis supporters to advance this narrative now before the primary process begins. 

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