Is the raid of the former president’s home in Florida a game changer? Anyone who believes that Donald Trump is finished politically is seriously mistaken. A look at where the real risk lies.
During his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump said, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” Few of his remarks have proved as true as this, given that Trump could get away with anything. His supporters have stayed loyal despite a never-ending series of scandals.
The raid of his property in Florida is unlikely to change that. The FBI was searching for secret documents that Trump allegedly took illegally from the White House. The search of a former president’s property is unprecedented in U.S. history, like so much that occurred before, during and after the Trump presidency.
The move triggered a Pavlovian response. Trump celebrated his status as a victim (“witch hunt”), his supporters spread conspiracy theories, Republicans stood behind him and the Democrats now think of him as being even more of a criminal than they did before.
So, in a political sense, nothing has changed. Both parties will use the latest Trump scandal to mobilize their base in the run-up to the midterm elections in November. However, in a legal sense, this development poses risks for Trump. A criminal conviction would make it impossible for him to run for president in 2024, and a prison sentence is also not out of the question. Division in the U.S. would reach new and dangerous heights. We must hope that the country rids itself of Trump by political, not legal, means.