Republicans Are Enraged and Energized, But for How Long?

News & Politics

Longtime Republican operatives have never seen anything like it. The outpouring of rage and emotion following the guilty verdict in Donald Trump’s hush-money trial has energized the entire Republican Party.

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More practically, the verdict has opened the spigot of donations large and small. Money is pouring into the Trump campaign’s coffers to the tune of $53 million in the first 24 hours after the verdict.

The amount was “nearly double the biggest day ever recorded for the Trump campaign” and demonstrated that the guilty verdicts “have awakened the MAGA movement like never before.” One-third of the donors had never given to Trump previously.

“You can’t tell me that it doesn’t drive that low-propensity, unlikely voter into a frenzy and one where they are more inclined to engage in the election,” said Zack Roday, a Virginia-based Republican strategist. “This will drive turnout, and I think it will also drive people who don’t follow politics.” 

“That’s not good news for Joe Biden, and it probably is good news for Donald Trump, within that context of addition and subtraction,” he said.

Indeed, the verdict is not all positive for Trump. There have been no serious polls done in the aftermath of the verdict. We can expect to get some idea of the impact of the verdict on the presidential race by midweek. But it would be shocking if the overall impact of the verdict was a plus for the former president.

“If Donald Trump can continue to convince voters that this was a rigged jury with a judge who should basically be a black jack dealer in Vegas because he’s so good at rigging the deck, then that is going to be very helpful for Donald Trump,” said Ford O’Connell, a Florida-based GOP strategist. 

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“He has to be able to continue that narrative because most people who are not political partisans have not been watching this trial until the verdict was read,” he continued. 

What the verdict has done is unite the warring factions of Republicans like they haven’t been in two decades. But for how long?

The Hill:

Still, with so many outside factors impacting the election, like inflation, the economy, health care and immigration, it’s unclear whether the guilty verdict in May will be on swing voters’ minds in November. 

“Everybody wants to have snap judgments on what this means,” said Tucker Martin, a Virginia GOP strategist, adding, “We’ve literally never been here before.

“It could be that so many things are baked into the cake with Trump already that it doesn’t change anything,” he said. 

Others question how much the verdict can unite the party beyond Trump allies, especially considering how much support former Republican candidate Nikki Haley (S.C.) garnered.

“There is a zeal out there in the base, an enthusiasm, a motivation, and … President Trump is no longer just an individual. He is now a symbol,” Speaker Mike Johnson told Hugh Hewitt on Friday. “He is a symbol of fighting back against this corruption of our system and the deep state and all the rest.”

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 It’s not just MAGA members of Congress who are outraged at the verdict.

Politico:

Even the handful of GOP senators who once resisted Trump’s influence on the party were critical of the conviction. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose relationship with Trump unraveled after he congratulated President Joe Biden for winning in 2020, posted on social media Thursday night that he expects the former president’s appeal to succeed — without directly mentioning Trump.

Even Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who supported the former president’s second impeachment, issued a statement criticizing the decision to bring the case.

With this kind of support on display, there’s a real possibility that the unity could last through election day.

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