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91 charges over a singular presidential election

Photomontage: The Duty The electoral campaign of the Republican favorite will inevitably intersect with the criminal trials which weigh on the candidacy of Donald Trump.

Fabien Deglise

January 6, 2024

  • United States

At the end of November, the Republican National Committee published the operating rules for its national convention next July, during which delegates from all American states will sanction and celebrate the choice of the candidate supposed to represent in the 2024 presidential election.

The Republican primaries officially begin on January 15 with the Iowa caucuses. Former President Donald Trump, after his failed attempt to obtain a second term in the White House in 2020 – a rare thing for a president in office in the United States – is the leader in the polls.

However, in their rules, the leaders of the Republican Party seem to have forgotten a crucial point: will the delegates be able to vote for a candidate different from the one who received the greatest number of votes during the primaries in the event that the latter is convicted of a crime or is in prison ?

The worst is never certain, but the question could nevertheless arise in this unique electoral race which will open at the start of the year in the United States. Singular and judicial, given that one of its candidates, while seeking to convince voters of his relevance at the highest summit of the State, is at the same time at the heart of a series of indictments, serious for the least, for having sought to tamper with the results of the previous presidential election in his favor and having attempted to lead an insurrection against the seat of American legislative power, among other things.

And the criminal trials that will result from this should regularly cross the electoral path and the campaign of the republican populist, in a country where the survival of democracy, placed in this troubled electoral context, remains, at image of this race, just as uncertain.

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This text is published via our Perspectives section.

The convergence of political and legal times will begin urgently from the first days of 2024, since on Wednesday, the Supreme Court of the country was seized by Donald Trump concerning the decision taken by the most Colorado's high court on December 20 to exclude the Republican candidate from the state's primary. The judges ruled that the former reality TV star turned politician with openly fascist aspirations could not qualify as a presidential candidate because of his involvement in an attempted insurrection when he was in the White House. . Maine followed suit a few days later with the voice of its Secretary of State, who disqualified Trump from the next elections in this progressive state.

A provision of the Constitution dating from the American Civil War includes this scenario. On January 6, 2021, the man launched his troops against the Capitol in front of the cameras to prevent the certification of the vote which brought Democrat Joe Biden to power. Colorado authorities technically had until January 5 to establish the list of candidates for the primary, which will be held on March 5.

Thus, the Supreme Court of the United States will have to make a decision “of monumental importance”, summarized jurist Laurence Tribe in the pages of the Harvard Gazette, a few days ago. “This is the most important pro-democracy decision in recent history. »

Pushing back deadlines

The risks for Donald Trump of being caught by the law during his campaign are numerous. He knows it, as he seeks to push back several deadlines, starting with the defamation lawsuit filed against him by writer E. Jean Carroll, which is scheduled to resume on January 16, the day after the Iowa caucuses, for comment formulated towards the octogenarian in 2019 by the occupant of the White House. She says she was raped by Trump in 1996, when he was head of the Trump Organization. The politician's lawyers argue the presidential immunity their client enjoyed at the time of the statements he is accused of and are asking for more time to consider other legal steps, including taking the case to the Supreme Court of the United States.

It is with these same arguments that the ex-president is seeking to delay the opening of his trial on March 4 in Washington, the day before “Super Tuesday”, this symbolically charged moment of the primaries where the most States are simultaneously holding their vote on the choice of presidential candidate. Federal justice accuses him of trying to change the results of the 2020 presidential election in his favor. He faces charges of conspiracy and attempting to obstruct a legislative proceeding on January 6, 2021.

Uncertainty also persists over Donald Trump's trial over the illegal keeping of secret documents at his private residence in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, after his departure from Washington, as well as the exposure of information relating to the defense of the country to simple visitors. In the current state of the procedures, the opening of the trial is set for May, but remains subject to attempts by the ex-president's team of lawyers to postpone the first steps until after the presidential election.< /p>

Finally, on August 5, a few weeks after the Republican Party convention and the final choice of its candidate, the trial should begin examining the accusation according to which Trump sought to attract voters bogus in his favor in Georgia, a pivotal state won by Joe Biden in 2020. The affair caused a lot of noise. The ex-president had, among other things, called the Secretary of State of Georgia, Brad Raffensperger, to ask him to change the results of the election. An exchange that has now made history.

Supports that remain

In total, Donald Trump faces 91 charges in four trials that will accompany his campaign. The populist also skillfully takes advantage of each milestone, each declaration, each decision in all of these “affairs” to pose as the victim of a political campaign orchestrated by the Democrats to prevent him from regaining his seat in the Oval Office. . A speech easily bought by his electoral base and, more broadly, by the Republicans who, despite all the stains on his path, make him the favorite of the next presidential election. A poll conducted by YouGov for The Economistbetween last December 30 and January 2 gives Joe Biden and Donald Trump tied with 44% each if the election were held today.

Trump is also leading his party's primary with a lead varying from 34 points to 57 points over these rivals, according to several polls. Mathematics perceived by many voters as a threat to American democracy, indicates a recent poll  from the NORC Public Affairs Research Center conducted on behalf of the Associated Press.

In June 2022, in the pages of Devoir, the American historian Nancy MacLean, professor at Duke University, in North Carolina, recalled that “the study of democracies which have collapsed has taught us that the best prerequisite for a successful coup d'état remains a failed coup whose instigators remain unpunished,” emphasizing that in 2020, “Donald Trump and his close allies conceived, promoted and financed a criminal plot to overturn an election they lost.”

In another time, this attempt would undoubtedly have been condemned, while justifying the definitive exclusion of its instigator from the democratic electoral framework. But on the eve of a decisive election year in the United States, it remains a weight on this same democracy, a weight that the present seems incapable of removing.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116