Video Credit: Gulf News

It was another eventful week in American politics, as former US president Donald Trump was charged with plotting to overturn his 2020 election defeat to Joe Biden during an inquiry into events surrounding the January 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol.

Trump has been accused of spreading lies about election fraud for over two months in what experts describe as the most serious of his cases. This is the third criminal case where the former president is charged; other charges include alleged financial crimes, mishandling sensitive government documents and paying hush money to a porn star. He faces a possible fourth indictment soon.

No strong rival for Trump among Republicans

However, despite these legal troubles, the 78-year-old is still the favourite to secure the Republican Party’s nomination to run for president in 2024. Far from losing his popularity, Trump only seems to be gaining and thriving. The BBC quoted from an average of opinion polls from July 31, which shows Trump having a huge 27-point lead over his nearest rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

Everyone else polls at less than 6 per cent. And the data is even more stunning when you look at how Trump’s approval ratings have only grown as his legal troubles increased. The same polls show that back in February, Trump’s lead over DeSantis in the average of polls was just 2 points. Then Trump was indicted for the first time in April, sending his popularity on an upward trajectory. And he hasn’t looked back.

It will be interesting to see how Trump handles his campaign as his legal appearances increase. He will have to keep juggling his politics with court and trials.


Analysts say much of this has to do with Trump’s core base, which genuinely believes he has been wronged and is a victim of political vendetta. It is believed that about 45 per cent of Republican voters are Trump supporters. A CNN poll among Republicans in March showed that a staggering 84 per cent believed Biden did not legitimately win the 2020 election.

What helps Trump is that he has no competition in his party. DeSantis looked like an alternative at one point, but his campaign has unravelled in the last few months. Other Republican contenders have been unsure how to handle Trump, given his strong core base. So they are reluctant to criticise him but also can’t explain to voters why they should not support Trump and support them instead.

It will be interesting to see how Trump handles his campaign as his legal appearances increase. He will have to keep juggling his politics with court and trials. America has not seen this before, so this will be interesting to watch.

read more

How does Trump fare in a contest with Biden today? A new poll released by the New York Times only days earlier shows Trump and Biden tied at 43 per cent. An earlier poll by the Economist-YouGov had Biden at 44 per cent and Trump at 40 per cent. In another poll, Biden’s lead was just two points.

Trump is the first US president to have been impeached twice and to face criminal charges. These could lead to lengthy prison sentences if he is found guilty. And that is still a big IF. And even then, nothing in the US Constitution prevents him from running for president.

A conviction does not prevent Trump from being president if he wins. What isn’t clear is whether he can be president while in prison. This is uncharted territory for America. The world is watching.