Arresting developments

If I had been together enough back in January to come up with a list of predictions for the year ahead, I’m pretty sure that “Donald Trump gets arrested” would have been on it somewhere, but I have to admit that I wouldn’t have guessed that the first charges he’d be facing would be in connection with the Stormy Daniels affair.

Conspiracy theories alleging that the case is some sort of political witch-hunt are rather undermined by the fact that, of the various legal perils facing Trump, this is by far the least likely to damage his standing amongst his hardcore support; clandestinely paying off an adult film star to cover up an alleged liaison is so on-brand that it will probably enhance his appeal to the MAGA faithful.

If anything, the indictment is a gift to Trump; it forces his potential rivals within the GOP to spring to his defence, and more or less nails him on as the candidate for 2024, while not really affecting his appeal to the general electorate, since the facts of the case are already widely known, and priced in to public opinion.

So if the shadowy deep-state conspirators really want to prevent Trump returning to the White House, they’re going to have to up their game a bit. Unless their plan is to make sure that he cruises through the Republican primaries, on the assumption that he will crash and burn in the general election. Because that strategy worked so well in 2016…

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