Watch Nidhi Razdan: Trump’s criminal trial begins and US elections loom Video Credit: Gulf News

For the first time in the United States, a current or former President is facing a criminal trial and how this plays out could have a long lasting impact on American politics. Last week, jury selection got underway for Donald Trump’s trial in New York in what is called the ‘hush money’ case.

Trump is accused of paying off an adult film star, Stormy Daniels, after an affair in 2016 to stop her from going public, and then falsifying his business records about the money. He faces 34 counts of fraud for lying about what the $130,000 was spent on but has denied any wrong doing. Even though he could potentially face 4 years in jail, most experts believe it won’t come to that.

Nevertheless, the way this trial goes could impact Trump’s election bid later this year — and it should. Yes, liberals all over the world, including in the United States, have been disconnected from a real anger against what was the status quo, rallying against the “establishment” and the traditional elites of their societies.

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“No more Trump”

That partly explains why Trump registered such a stunning win back in 2016 which caught the liberal media by surprise. However, fast forward to 2024, and Trump’s abysmal record in office, his two impeachments, his string of criminal cases and his misogynistic conduct should be enough for anyone to turn away and say “no more Trump”!

With the criminal cases, Trump is trying to project himself as a martyr, as someone who is facing a political witch hunt. That’s an argument that only his hard-core Republican base seems to be buying. It is the moderate Republicans that need to be convinced and it’s time for them to take a stand.

The latest polls show a much closer contest between Trump and Joe Biden. The latest poll from the New York Times and Siena College puts Trump at 46% and Biden at 45%.

This is closer than the last survey that was done in late February, where Trump was in the lead by 5 points. Significantly, a new poll from Reuters/Ipsos shows that 60% of registered voters said they would not vote for Trump if he were to be convicted of a felony by a jury.

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An informed choice

Interestingly, back in late January, a poll done by NBC News showed Trump leading Biden by 5 points but this changed when people were asked what they would do if Trump was found guilty and convicted of a felony. Biden then scored a 2 point lead over Trump.

Trump has bluffed and shouted his way to the top post in the past but his own past may finally be catching up with him. The massive payout of over $83.3 million that he was ordered to make to a former columnist, E. Jean Carroll, who had accused him of sexually assaulting her, is a case in point.

What makes things worse is that Trump shows absolutely zero remorse for his actions. His only response has been to paint himself as a victim and do everything he can to delay any legal accountability.

The hush money case is not Trump’s greatest crime among the many other serious charges he faces. But this trial will further call his bluff and hopefully help the people of America make an informed choice this November.