Adkins: How much longer can Republicans buy this martyrdom act?

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Michael Adkins

Donald Trump, the first American president to be convicted of a crime, said “I was just convicted in a rigged political witch hunt trial: I did nothing wrong.” He said further that “it’s not hush money. It’s a nondisclosure agreement. Totally legal, totally common.” However, there are flaws in his statements. Neither hush money payments nor nondisclosure agreements with porn stars are common. His conviction on 34 criminal charges was not for paying off a porn star. Rather, he was convicted of making false financial statements connected to those payments. To say it was a nondisclosure agreement makes no sense as he denied he even had sex with Stormy Daniels. And for his supporters to claim he should not be charged for crimes because he is running for office is an insult to the concept of justice.

The former President cast himself, as he always does, as a martyr fighting for the

American people. That plays well to the MAGA cult who continually cast themselves as perennial victims. He has played that card constantly; after losing the 2016 Iowa Caucus, after losing the popular vote in 2016 and 2020, and with each impeachment effort. How much longer can Republicans buy this martyrdom act? And again, how the egotistical, self-centered Donald Trump ever convinced anyone that he is acting for others is beyond my comprehension. In his mind, everything is all about Donald Trump. I am stumped too by the question of how he can claim to be pro-law enforcement when he continually attacks the courts [except of course, the Supreme Court on which he placed three bootlickers,] the Judges who have continually ruled against him in case after case, verbally assaulting the Judge in this case along with his staff, and violated the court’s gag order on, at least, ten occasions?

The Nation is divided on the matter of Trump’s criminal convictions. One side view it as evidence that no one is above the law. The other buys into the Trump victimhood debate and declare it purely political. The argument that the trial and conviction were merely examples of federal government overreach is weak, this was a state court and state prosecutor. The federal government had no dog in this fight. Nor does it in the Georgia state charges. Only in the January 6, 2021 insurrection case does the federal government play a role in Trump’s legal woes. As for the claim that the trial was rigged, it is vitally important that juror #2 declared on his prospective juror questionnaire that his primary source of news was Trump’s Truth Network. And this juror voted guilty in all 34 counts.

Two follow-up questions are on nearly every one’s mind. First, what now legally; jail time or a slap on the wrist? Let’s look at that question. If it were anyone other than a former president, jail would be inevitable following the attacks on the court and the many violations of the gag order, thus proving there is unequal justice under the law. Can Trump win an appeal? Probably his best chance of that would be based on attorney incompetence. His legal team failed to request the charges be changed to misdemeanors.

Second question; how will this impact the Presidential election? We can only speculate at present. Five months ago, over 73% of Republicans polled said they wouldn’t vote for Trump if a jury convicts him of a felony, but shortly before the verdict polling indicated only 16% of Trump supporters claimed they’d reconsider their support if convicted. I have long contended that any candidate who loses 20% of his party’s voters cannot win an election. A 10-20% loss of GOP voters, coupled with the party’s Never Trumpers, mean the odds of Trump gaining an Electoral College victory are greatly diminished and the chances of a popular vote win impossible.

Michael Adkins is a former Chair of the Hancock County Democratic Party.