Let’s See ol Donny Trump Wriggle His Way Out of THIS Jam!

ElectionsTrumpland 2024 Election
Let’s See ol Donny Trump Wriggle His Way Out of THIS Jam!

I have previously stated that the default position of all Splinter analysis for Donald Trump-related crimes is this famed tweet, but I must admit that he is mired in his biggest jam yet since ascending from reality TV to the presidency.

Famous tweet that says "Well, I'd like to see ol Donny Trump wriggle his way out of THIS jam! *Trump wriggles his way out of the jam easily* Ah well. Nevertheless.

There are two major angles he has to wriggle out of here. First is the legal aspect. He was convicted on 34 felony counts in his trial for paying porn star Stormy Daniels hush money and falsifying records related to it. Next up in his legal entanglement is sentencing on July 11th where it’s possible for Trump to be imprisoned just a few days before formally becoming the GOP nominee at the Republican Convention.

Judge Juan M. Merchan already threatened Trump with jail time during the trial when he kept violating his gag order, and he has said “the last thing I want to do is to put you in jail.” That was related to this specific issue, but it’s hard not to read into that quote as the broader attitude of the state of New York’s case towards Trump.

The charge of falsifying business records is a Class E felony in New York, the lowest tier of felony charges, and punishable up to four years in prison at the discretion of Judge Merchan. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg did not say whether prosecutors would seek to imprison the former president, but it would be unusual for a first-time felon convicted of a non-violent crime to do jail time.

This is where the ol Donny meme becomes reality once more. The American justice system is not inclined to dole out real consequences to wealthy white-collar criminals, and I highly doubt that it’s about to start with the most high-profile white-collar criminal in American history.

The bigger issue for Trump is that this may have real electoral resonance with key constituencies boosting his polling. It’s far too early to jump to any conclusions, but there has been a persistent dynamic in the polls where some respondents say that a guilty verdict would change their support for ol Donny.

Reuters traveled to a key Pennsylvania county to ask people about the convicted felon running for president, and registered Republicans are saying things like “He’s been found guilty on all 34 counts. Do I want to go with that? Probably not. I may be moving over to Biden.”

They spoke to 22 women because Reuters noted that “Public opinion polling has indicated that women were more likely than men to be swayed by the case,” citing an analysis of Reuters/Ipsos polls earlier this year. They continued:

57% of respondents who planned to vote for Trump said they would do so even if he were convicted of a felony. About 13% of his supporters said they would not vote for him in that case and 29% said they weren’t sure.

The latest NPR poll supported this notion, as theirs indicated that 17% of all voters say this guilty verdict impacts their vote. Let’s check in to see what Donald Trump’s opponent who’s totally in touch with reality is doing about it.

I do understand the Biden campaign’s hesitancy to play into Trump’s charge that this is politically motivated, but you can’t wax poetic about democracy and justice and blah blah blah, then turn around and largely ignore 34 guilty verdicts from a jury that included a juror who only got their news from Truth freaking Social. As the president is fond of saying, come on, man.

Regardless of whether the Biden campaign wants to prosecute Trump in the court of public opinion, this will hurt Trump with some voters who do look at the verdict itself as a turning point. In an election with razor-thin margins, where Trump is slightly polling ahead in swing states while his Senate candidates are behind their Democratic counterparts, both historically unpopular candidates need to scrounge up as many votes as they can get.

Dave Wasserman of Cook Political Report detailed this dynamic for the former president, highlighting how Joe Biden actually leads by four points among the most reliable voters, but trails Trump by ten points among low to mid-engagement voters. The New York Times/Siena poll found this occurrence too, as Nate Cohn noted that:

President Biden has actually led the last three Times/Siena national polls among those who voted in the 2020 election, even as he has trailed among registered voters overall. And looking back over the last few years, almost all of Mr. Trump’s gains have come from these less engaged voters.

The influence of low-turnout voters in this election makes it very tricky for pollsters to model. Whether or not it rains on election day is a better indicator of whether a lot of these voters will show up to the polls than anything we can come up with now, so who they support may be immaterial to the outcome anyway.

It’s a popular talking point by partisans on the left and right that polls are unreliable and just plain wrong, but that notion is empirically untrue. The fact of the matter is that polls since 2016 have overestimated Democratic turnout in general elections, but were “historically accurate” during the midterms in 2018 and 2022.

The root of this belief is that a lot of people adjusted their baseline expectations to the outlier Obama era where polling was extremely accurate, and now we are returning to a historical norm with more uncertainty baked into polling. We’re also in the middle of a political realignment which began in 2008 and got turbocharged in 2016. Polling is really hard these days.

If the Reuters/Ipsos poll is correct, Trump lost 13% of his support yesterday, and Joe Biden should win easily. Even if that real figure in the wake of Trump’s guilty verdict is more like 1.3%, that would still be enough to influence the tiny margins in swing states. Only time will tell, and the sole poll that matters is five-plus months out, but ol Donny may have found his toughest jam to wriggle out of yet.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin