Late last month, a grand jury voted to indict Trump on 34 felony charges of falsifying business records, resulting from a long-term investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and his predecessors, the first-ever indictment for a former president in U.S. history. Trump is accused of orchestrating a scheme to unlawfully conceal payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election to keep her quiet about an affair the two allegedly had a decade prior. Trump has denied that the affair ever happened and decried Bragg’s investigation into him as politically motivated.
In the wake of Trump’s indictment, and his subsequent arrest and arraignment at a Manhattan courthouse, new reports indicate that his 2024 presidential campaign and joint fundraising committee saw “turbocharged” donations from supporters, a possibility that many suspected. According to Politico on Saturday, both entities have collectively raised $15.4 million in the wake of the indictment, nearly matching the $18.8 million raised in the first quarter of 2023 overall.
Many commentators from both sides of the political aisle suggested that a criminal indictment of Trump, no matter what the charges, would result in a surge of support from his base, both in financial and general electoral terms. Trump has said that he intends to continue his 2024 campaign no matter the indictments brought against him, and has even pledged to continue if convicted and sent to prison. No laws exist that would prevent the former president from doing so, and precedent exists for candidates seeking political office from prison.
“In general, any time a candidate’s name is all over the media and dominating attention, it’s good for fundraising,” Eric Wilson, a Republican digital strategist, told Politico. “The wall-to-wall coverage just put him top of mind for donors.”
Despite that surge of support, it remains to be seen how the indictment and the other ongoing investigations against him will affect Trump in the general election, where he will need to persuade a broader swathe of the electorate than just his GOP base.
While Trump maintains considerable popularity among Republican voters and currently leads polling for the 2024 Republican primary, he is and has long been notably unpopular across the full spectrum of voters in the country, who voted him out of office in 2020 and broadly rejected the candidates he endorsed in the 2022 midterms. Many proponents have said that criminal charges will only worsen his image outside of his devoted base.
Newsweek reached out to Democratic strategists by email for comment.
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