Dem 51
image description
GOP 49
image description

Trump's Primary Opponents Are Still Scared to Death of Dumping on Him

Such is the hold that Donald Trump has on his supporters that nearly all of his primary rivals are scared silly of even suggesting that he might be guilty of anything. Nearly all of them think that if they dare say that we should wait to see what the evidence is and what the jury says, the angel of political death will call an Uber and arrive in half an hour.

Ron DeSantis, who has the most to gain from Trump being convicted, said: "The DeSantis administration will bring accountability to the DoJ, excise political bias, and end weaponization once and for all." Mike Pence was slightly more cautious. He said: "We're going to clean house all across the top floors, whether it's the Justice Department or whether it's the FBI. I just think we need a whole new team." Nikki Haley accused the government of abusing its powers.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) is not up again until 2028, and has more guts than any of the others. She said: "The unlawful retention and obstruction of justice related to classified documents are also criminal matters. Anyone found guilty—whether an analyst, a former president, or another elected or appointed official—should face the same set of consequences." She and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) are the only Republican senators to say the law applies to everyone. Asa Hutchinson said that if Trump is guilty, then he should drop out. Chris Christie initially said he would read the indictment and then comment. After he did, he called the indictment "devastating," but he didn't call for Trump to drop out.

One Republican politician (who is not running for president), Gov. Chris Sununu (R-NH), attacked the Republican field for being cowards. He thinks they need to go after Trump or leave. He said: "Either you want to run for president and beat the guy or you don't."

Long-time political operatives expect Trump to get a boost from his second indictment, just as he did from his first one. However, there could well be a difference between how Republican primary voters see it and how independents—who get to vote in the general election—see it. Also, an indictment is one thing. A trial, with lots of evidence presented, potentially followed by a conviction, is something quite different. (V)

This item appeared on Read it Monday through Friday for political and election news, Saturday for answers to reader's questions, and Sunday for letters from readers.                     State polls                     All Senate candidates