Trump on Trial

What impact does a Trump indictment have on the GOP?

David Frum, a former speechwriter for Pres. George W. Bush, says it puts the GOP on a "slow boat to doom" in 2024, but polls may indicate otherwise.

What impact does a Trump indictment have on the GOP?
Bryan Woolston / AP

Now that former President Donald Trump has been criminally charged, some Republicans are worried about the impact his pending legal battles could have on the party moving forward.

Trump was formally indicted Tuesday in New York and pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to allegedly cover up several hush money payments.

While it could take months, if not over a year, for Trump to go on trial, the indictment is sure to play a major role in his 2024 presidential campaign.

David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and current senior editor at The Atlantic, told Scripps News that this indictment is the beginning of the end for Republicans who are hoping Trump regains control of the Oval Office in 2024.

"They are on a slow boat to doom in November 2024," Frum said. "Because in the public as a whole — the entire voting electorate — Donald Trump was, is, and remains deeply unpopular."

It's a bold prediction considering the indictment news appears to have bolstered Trump's support within the Republican Party. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden's approval rating has remained below 50% since September 2021 — shortly after the botched U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

However, Frum says while Trump may have boisterous supporters backing him, it's not an accurate representation of the American electorate as a whole.

"The country is intensely polarized over Donald Trump, but it is not evenly polarized over Donald Trump," he said. "At any given moment, there is a substantial majority of the country that is against him and an intense minority of the country that is for him."

In a recent poll conducted by ABC News and Ipsos, 45% of respondents agreed with the New York grand jury's decision to pursue charges against Trump, compared to 32% who disagreed with the indictment. However, nearly half believe the charges against him are politically motivated.

The grand jury's decision sparked debate over how the judicial branch intervenes in American politics, and if it should — especially when the subject is a presidential candidate.

"By November 2024, there may be trials, there may be convictions, and if Donald Trump is convicted of a felony, he loses his voting rights in Florida," Frum said. "So you could have a nominee for president who's legally forbidden to vote for himself."

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