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Trump's indictment is problematic

Trump's indictment is problematic
Trump indicted | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody. Ian Bremmer here, and at least a few comments from me on the Trump indictment. You didn't hear anything from me about this a couple weeks ago. Of course, former President Trump had announced that he was going to get arrested a week ago Tuesday and when I heard that, I thought that that one thing that guaranteed was that he was not going to be arrested a week ago Tuesday, so he didn't really need to talk about it. But then after that passed and nothing happened, he said, "I'm not going to get arrested. They don't have a case. They've thrown away. These guys are idiots." And then I started to get worried. I'm thinking, well, if he's saying it's not going to happen, that means may well. And of course that is where we now are, that for the first time in American history though, this happens all over the world in many other countries, but the US had been exceptional in this regard.

No US president, sitting or former, had been indicted. Can't say that anymore. Now, former President Trump has indeed been indicted and he will surrender and he will show up in New York and he will be fingerprinted and get his mugshot and all of those things that will both excite and infuriate to various degrees, people across the United States.

I will say, first of all, that you should look at the polls to start. What do people in the United States think about this and that should be a cause for concern. Recent, I think it's Quinnipiac Poll showing that well over 90% of Republicans believe that this decision to indict is political, is not on the basis of fair application of rule of law. 70% of Independents believe that. 30% of Democrats believe that. So, it's interesting. This is not just a matter of political divide. It's also that for those that focus on all of the various cases that are being brought, that have been brought against Trump. The matter of Stormy Daniels, this effort to break campaign finance rules and to cover up an affair in the run up to the election, and certainly, I mean, lots and lots of people believe that the case must be solid. In other words, the evidence against him, to be able to proceed with an indictment. But that doesn't mean that they take it seriously. In other words, if this were another political figure, would you bring up this case? Would you indict? Would you consider it a felony? And there, the witch hunt that Trump is talking about, is something that is broadly aligned with by Americans, whether or not they like Trump.

And of course, one of the most important points there is the unifying factor that this has for Trump among Republicans themselves. Republicans, many of whom had been trying to differentiate, distinguish themselves, even criticize the former president, all coming right back and saying, "This is a travesty. It's a breach of justice. How dare they go after Trump in this way?" People, like Mike Pence, for example, who certainly seems to be running for president. People like Governor Ron DeSantis. People like Mike Pompeo. I mean, almost everybody out there was talking to Chris Christie the other day who is very, very critical of former President Trump, but also believes that this is a politicized case and that's a challenge. I think that's a challenge in terms of really dampening any potential for momentum for other erstwhile candidates against Trump on the GOP side.

Trump can still lose the nomination. But if you ask me today, is he more likely to get the nomination than he was yesterday? And he's already well ahead in name recognition and polls across the board of every other candidate, the answer is yeah. You'd probably bet that Trump is going to.

Now, a lot of people out there that can't stand Trump say, "Well, that's great because he's going to be the weaker candidate among Republicans against Biden, and we just want Biden to win."

My response, no matter who you support for the upcoming election, is that the potential for Trump to become president if he gets nomination is real, and he's going to be running against an 82-year-old Biden. And I think that for the safety and stability of the country, as well as the way that the United States is perceived by others across the world, Trump getting the nomination is a assertively a problematic and damaging thing. Any other Republican would be a better and more stabilizing outcome. So, I absolutely think that this is unbalanced problematic.

Now, beyond all of that, the fact that Trump has been indicted means that everyone is going to be talking about him pretty much nonstop over, when we talk about domestic politics, going forward. It really is kind of the beginning of another period of massive divisiveness and abnormality after many were trying to focus more on policy and governance for the last year, year and a half.

I think that also means that other countries around the world will now take much more seriously the possibility that this wasn't just an aberration 2016 to 2020 the United States, but that indeed there's something much deeper and more systematic afoot, which means more hedging behavior for other countries around the world, allies around the world, and that's going to make Biden's job more difficult in terms of foreign policy.

Now, we're talking about this in isolation. We don't even know exactly what these charges are yet, though I don't think that's going to make much of a difference in terms of the voting public in the United States when it comes up. I do think what will make more of a difference is what happens with other cases that are much more significant in their seriousness and their impact in terms of Trump on US democracy.

In particular, the case in Georgia where you have on tape the fact that he wanted Republicans on the ground to find him votes to be able to overturn the outcome. Also, more broadly, the effort by the special investigator in the Department of Justice, around the events of January 6th, as well as to a lesser degree, in terms of impact and importance handling of classified materials.

So, this is by far the weakest, the least serious piece of the cases that are being brought against him. It makes it much easier for him to talk about a witch hunt. It aligns the GOP with him. But of course, it doesn't mean he's out of legal trouble on the other cases. But to the extent that Trump's entire political ascent has been about grievance politics, has been about us versus them, and tribalization of the US political space, not to mention capturing maximum audience attention for everything he does. I actually think perversely, very perversely, that this indictment on the Stormy Daniels case plays to his benefit and not to his disadvantage.

That's where we are politically in the United States right now and that's it for me. I'll talk to you all real soon.


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