Trump’s arrest may rally voter support if indictment fatigue doesn’t set in before election

Published: Apr. 4, 2023 at 4:42 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Reaction to Tuesday’s arraignment of former U.S. President Donald Trump has been swift.

Trump says he has already gotten a fundraising bump after pleading not guilty to the 34-count indictment.

Political experts say things could change long-term as we approach the 2024 Presidential Election.

More: Trump pleads not guilty to 34 charges; admonished by judge

Dillard political analyst Dr. Robert Collins has seen a lot in his years as a political observer and participant but says the indictment of President Trump is different.

Trump’s courthouse visit played out before millions of viewers and potential voters.

“It’s the first time in the history of the United States that an ex-president has been indicted. It is very historic,” said Collins.

Over the short term, Collins says Trump has already gotten a boost among supporters who believe he’s being politically persecuted, and state party leaders agree.

“There’s no doubt that the indictment of President Trump will make him more popular than he is already,” said Lou Gurvich, the head of the Louisianan Republican Party.

Only three states supported Trump for president in 2020 at a higher rate than Louisiana. According to a recent gallop poll, taken before the indictment, Trump’s approval rating in Louisiana was at 59%, the fourth highest in the country.

“I think it’s a travesty of justice. It’s all politics. They have been after Trump since the day he went into office,” said Frank Reeves.

“If the person he was going after was anybody other than Donald Trump there would not be this indictment,” said Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.).

“The polling does show that the majority of Republican voters believe this is a witch hunt,” said Collins.

Though experts believe this indictment could solidify Trump’s base in Louisiana, they say at some point, things could swing the other way.

“A lot of people probably get behind him, but at presidential election time it will probably hurt him,” said voter Jay Pina.

“The only way I see his base eroding is if you have two or three indictments, and it drags out for a while, and then you might see indictment fatigue,” said Collins.

Gurvich believes the prosecution of Trump will fall flat.

“Alvin Bragg ran on a campaign platform that he would get Trump. I think he’s committed an ethical violation and I think he should be charged with prosecutorial misconduct,” said Gurvich.

Collins says while Trump supporters may rally around the former president, many swing voters may be turned off by this indictment, especially if more indictments follow.

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