The appeal to Trump by his core supporters is clearly emotional. DeSantis: is saying, that he’s the “ boring but effective bureaucrat” that can deliver, without all the crazy. Clearly, DeSantis lacks charisma and any real personal appeal at all. That may be his biggest issue with this group of voters. It was never ( really) about policy at all? Something has to give here.The Republican Party can’t go on like this.

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Anyone else notice how in seven years, the Republicans have gone from chanting "LOCK HER UP" on national television (at the 2016 Republican Convention) to suddenly being sooooo concerned about "Innocent Until Proven Guilty" and politically-motivated prosecutions?

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I think Josh underestimates how much this might help Trump in a primary. Just enforces the whole "Biden's out to get me" nonsense he spews, but it probably does help at least a few GOP primary voters who maybe were on the fence between DJT or RDS to back Trump again. In a general election? Yeah, I think Josh is right. Not sure Josh was addressing Erick Erickson directly, but Erick's contention that this locked up the White House for Trump is absurd. At the end of the day Trump (or any candidate) needs swing voters to vote for them. The GOP base is not nearly large enough to win an election even with the electoral college bias. Have a hard time believing being indicted is going to help win over those voters who are soft supporters.

Not the main point of the piece, but I was curious to unpack the reasons why Trump's polling has picked up last 3-6 months. And had a few hypotheses I wanted to put out there.

First, the post-midterm polling bounce for DeSantis was just that, a bounce. If there is one thing, I hope we've learned last few elections, it's that candidates get artificial polling bounces based on current events and that those bounces inevitably fade. And the reason they fade is those polling bounces seem to be driven entirely by who picks up the phone. Your candidate had a bad week? Less likely to answer a poll. Good week? More likely. In November 2022, RDS is the guy who won by 20 points and Trump is the guy who watched his most high-profile handpicked candidates lose winnable elections. Perfect brew for RDS to get a polling bounce due purely from his supporters being more likely to answer polling questions in the immediate aftermath (and vice versa with Trump fans).

Second, I don't think we should underestimate how much Trump's visit to East Palestine helped his support within the GOP. This story got full court press coverage in right wing news outlets. I remember in the immediate aftermath of the train derailment; I was pretty confused as to why this story got such intense coverage in right wing press. If anything, there was a left-wing valence to the story; one about the need for environmental regulation and safety regulations. But I'm a lib after all so of course I'd understand the left-wing story a lot more. I follow right-wing press, but I'm not immersed in it. So, I did the thing I should have done from the beginning, I checked out where exactly East Palestine was located in Ohio. And sure, enough it clicked once I saw how isolated this town was from major population centers. This was a place that must have voted overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016 and 2020. And then the messages from right wing media made more sense. Biden abandoned you because you voted for Trump. Buttigieg* hates you and is one of "those elites" who think you should suffer. I'm painting a bit of a caricature of the right-wing media message, but honestly don't think it's that far off. So, who goes to East Palestine? Trump. And what does he say? "You're not forgotten". He of course has no plan whatsoever to help the people in East Palestine. But he went. If there is one talent Trump has, it's the ability to read a crowd.

* To me, you can't ignore how much the anti-Buttigieg rhetoric also carries with-it a homophobic component. I know support for gay marriage continues to rise, but there are still about 25% of Americans who are anti-gay marriage. And this 25% is disproportionately in the Republican party and disproportionately makes up GOP primary voters (and I'm guessing is still hugely important in the South). Also, I've said before, I think we're sort of in another "Boston busing" moment. Namely, that while we're probably never going back to a pre-2010 status quo, there is still a reactionary backlash brewing. Also, there is a big difference between someone saying they no longer think gay marriage should be illegal and being 100% accepting of gay couples/culture. Just seems to me a big part of the current identity politics flashpoints happening with schools and drag shows right now. Hypothesis on my part for sure. Not gay myself, so curious if Josh thinks there's anything to this hypothesis or if I'm off base.

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We were all relieved: it wasn’t you that plowed into Gwyneth Paltrow Josh.

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I'm a center left Democrat and I despise and fear Trump. But this prosecutor should not be prosecuting him for this offense. Every ex-president should enjoy a significant degree of immunity from prosecution for complicated financial or procedural crimes. A prosecution like this one helps establish the tradition of prosecuting political rivals. One more norm of healthy politics out the window.

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Mar 31, 2023·edited Mar 31, 2023

Once upon a time, a state legislator - can't remember which chamber, his name, or anything - got himself into trouble in the "big city" of Austin as those folks often do - a prostitution sting, I believe. His arrest impending, he fled town back to wherever he was from in East Texas, and the DPS or the Texas Rangers went after him, supposedly found him hiding in his old toy box in his mama's house. (I have no gift for the invention of zany detail, so you're going to have trust me this happened or at any rate was so reported.) I am pretty sure that was it for him, politically. That toy chest business - real or fable - was too much to overcome.

The problem with trying to make Trump look foolish is that he plays the fool all the time.

I disagree his appeal is emotional, though. To me, it's more - supporting him was a way of not supporting the two-party status quo, and D.C. in general. Nobody asked him to run for president, heaven knows, but when he did, and perhaps accidentally said two or three true things that no polite D.C. hack of either party had uttered in decades, he became the people's absurd champion, more like Finn McCool than a politician.

But I also don't think polling can reflect that people are tired of his personal mayhem. Like, the dude you know that you talk politics at, but he never answers - your brother-in-law say, in his company logo jacket - he voted for Trump but didn't tell you that. Conversely, there are people who may tell a pollster they like Trump, primarily because immigration - this cannot be overstated - but will secretly not vote for him - they'll go with DeSantis.

P.S. for the lawtalking guys - I've read too many Agatha Christies, I think, where extortion and blackmail and something called "poison pen letters" play an outsized, and perhaps uniquely British, role. I find I am curious about the transaction. Do you have to report hush money to the IRS? How do you let the other party know you are open to hush money? Is it just sort of understood? If not, how do you seek it while avoiding that nasty charge of extortion? Or is that by the way, and the central charge here will be diverting campaign money to this sordid purpose?

Will Stormy Daniels run for Congress? 

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Let's nor forget the "common person" trump supporters.

I know far more of them than I care to admit.

Related to some of them.

To the extent they even know about the indictment it only reinforces their belief in trump. "Paying hush money to a hooker? What's wrong with that?"

trump wins with this indictment.

Democrats win even bigger.

trump continues to be the best campaign topic the Democrats could ever dream up

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I’ve noticed that the same pundits who are predicting this indictment helps Trump are the same ones who were so confidently predicting a red tsunami before the midterms. Most of them I believe are probably right leaning although as journalists they try to appear non partisan. They really don’t understand the amount of hatred and disgust the electorate as a whole has for Trump.

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