While Donald Trump rises in the Republican polls. His unparalleled popularity within the conservative wing of the United States contrasts with his personal life surrounded by legal and sexual scandals.
Photo: Flickr-Gage Skidmore
LatinAmerican Post | July Vanesa López Romero
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Leer en español: Donald Trump 2024: una figura a prueba de escándalos
The world was shocked when on March 31st, the Manhattan grand jury indicted Donald Trump on 34 counts for allegedly falsifying business records. These would be related to payments to the porn actress Stormy Daniels. The former president of the United States would have bribed Daniels with an amount of 130 thousand dollars (plus taxes) in exchange for his silence regarding a sexual encounter he had with her in 2006, the year in which he was already married to Melania Trump. The payments, made over 11 months throughout 2017, would have been passed off as legal fees. The person in charge of delivering the money to Daniels was, apparently, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, whom the former president decided to denounce and a key witness in the trial.
Added to this news is the statement of the model Karen McDougal, who claimed to have had a six-month sexual relationship with the tycoon in 2006. This is the first time in the history of the North American country in which a former president has been charged.
A Scandal-Proof Figure
Donald Trump is the president of the United States who has achieved the most polarization in a country that is by nature highly polarized. Likewise, there is no doubt that he is the most controversial president and with a bank of fans who have revered him since his candidacy in 2015. With Trump, there is no middle ground. Either you love him, or you are entirely against him.
That fan base was the one that allowed him not only to reach the White House in 2016 but also the one that today has him leading the popularity polls in the Republican Party primaries for the 2024 presidential candidacy. Moreover, before a grand jury made the Indictments, Trump had already announced that he would be charged and attacked, but his lead in the polls has only increased in the past month.
The election landscape has fluctuated widely. In February, the polls assured that Ron DeSantis would defeat Trump, but with the latest events, it seems that the former president is closer to the White House than was believed a few months ago. Trump is ahead of Ron DeSantis in several states, including Florida (where DeSantis is governor), and has 56% of the vote in his pocket, while DeSantis has 23%.
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This shows that the more controversial Trump is, the more he is loved and supported by his fans and the conservative wing of the United States. He has become a figure who is not only scandal-proof but also feeds on them.
How Conservative are Conservatives?
This panorama is paradoxical, considering the accusation against Trump directly relates to extramarital aspects and a porn actress. These facts would generally be dismissed as immoral, especially by a wing as conservative as the Republican Party.
However, it must be borne in mind that those in favor of the former president are utterly sure that the accusations are false and that it is all a political strategy to put his candidacy at stake by 2024. On the other hand, it is necessary to understand that the Republican electorate has radically changed since he came to power. From a controversial and even violent speech, Trump managed to capture the attention of ordinary Republican citizens. His fan base is made up of people who have been away from the political scene all their lives but found in Trump, a president who says things without mincing words, who has a speech that generates enthusiasm but is structured from hate. People who mostly do not have a university degree and are part of a sector could be called workers.
America's conservatives are no longer made up of wealthy people who seek to present an image of perfection when they commit immoral acts in privacy but of overlooked citizens who avoid this type of controversy because they are more interested in having an acidic representative whose speech polarizes even more. This is why Trump is leading the polls today despite his legal ups and downs. A strategy that could not be completed until he had a legal process against him.