As mentioned last week, the presidential race has begun. The first bomb or salvo dropped last week with the political indictment of Donald Trump by a Democratic New York Manhattan borough prosecutor. It used to be off limits to use the courts to indict a person for political reasons. Make no mistake about it: This trumped-up political ploy is just that — political theatrics.
There is an old saying that you can indict a potato. The legal threshold for getting a grand jury to offer a writ of indictment only requires that there is a scintilla of evidence that there may be a crime or misdemeanor. Therefore, a prosecutor can orchestrate an indictment. There will never be a conviction of Trump in this ploy. It would take six years of delaying and going through appellate courts before the case would ever be heard, and it would probably be thrown out by one of the appeals courts for lack of culpability.
You may ascertain from the facts whether you think it was a Democratic ploy or not. You have a Democratic district attorney in an overwhelmingly Democratic state and local Democratic venue, who ran on a platform of garnering an indictment of former President Trump for some reason, and he is running for reelection in a Democratic primary.
If indeed political prosecution has become the new partisan weapon in political skullduggery, then you could very easily see a Republican district attorney in rural Idaho get an indictment against Joe Biden for many reasons.
The New York indictment and arraignment of Trump is as far as this case will go. The purpose of the Democratic district attorney has been fulfilled and accomplished. The sensationalism was met with glee by the liberal media. However, it was met with glee by one Donald J. Trump, also. It gave him a political lifeline.
Make no mistake about it: The New York charade was politically motivated, but not for the reason you would think. Most would assume the Democrats wanted to bloody Trump in order to beat him in the general election next November against Biden. Not so. That story is written. That boat has sailed. Polling reveals Trump cannot be elected president. He is detested by 75% of the American electorate. Believe me, from years of observing politics, if you have a candidate who begins the race with 100% name identification and 50% negative, they should not run. They will lose. There is no mistake about it. If Trump is the nominee of either party — or any party — he will lose. The only other candidate who has similar negative numbers like Trump is Biden.
If you have a race between Biden and Trump, the old political truism that more people vote against someone than vote for someone will definitely come into play. Biden would beat Trump much worse than four years ago. Biden’s negatives are 50%. Trump’s negatives are 75%. Therefore, Biden would out-negative Trump again. There are no independents or Democrats who will vote for Trump, and only 30% of Republicans embrace him. The bottom line is any Republican besides Trump will beat Biden, and any Democrat will beat Trump including Biden.
So, you ask, why are the Democrats attacking Trump? The answer is they are trying to help him win the Republican nomination. The act has worked. Trump has a hardcore 30% of Republican primary voters. He had become so unpopular even among Republicans that he had dropped to 25%, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at 40% without DeSantis being in the race. This New York Democratic ploy has brought such an outcry of sympathy for Trump among Republicans that he has jumped from 25% to 45% in the polls. He has also milked the Democratic scheme for over $10 million in campaign contributions.
In short, Trump was going down the tubes in hopes of being the Republican nominee, but the Democrats gave him a lifeline. It also helps Trump by diffusing any other political indictments brought against him, which may have more merit than this one but will now be viewed as frivolous and political.
The Democratic effort to make Trump the Republican nominee may not succeed. Ultimately, they were hoping Trump could at least get to 50% polling with the outrage of their ploy, but he has only jumped from 25% to 45%. This 45% will probably drop back to 30 to 35% in about a month when DeSantis and others join the fray.
In the meantime, Democrats will do all they can to try to make Trump the GOP nominee.
The presidential race is in full swing. Machiavelli is not dead, even if Trump is.
See you next week.
Flowers is Alabama’s leadin political columnist. His weekly column appears in over 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the state legislature. Flowers may be reached at www.steveflowers.us.