May 9, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Trump's weird weapon: Bad news


Former President Trump in Scotland last week. Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Call it the Trump Law of Inverse Reactions: Everything that would seem to hurt the former president only makes him stronger.

Why it matters: Trump's grip over Republicans seems stronger than ever — and chances of beating President Biden are as high as ever.

  • This dynamic is similar to the stunning election of 2016.

Former President Trump, in the past few months, has:

At the same time that all of the above was happening, Trump has:

What we're hearing: For the first time in a long time, top Republicans and Democrats are telling us the same thing, in the same words — Trump looks impossible to beat for the Republican nomination.

  • And if Trump is the GOP nominee, he could have a better-than-coin-flip chance of moving back into the White House. A Washington Post-ABC News poll out Sunday had Trump leading Biden by seven points — outside the margin of error — in a theoretical rematch.
  • A stunning finding in that poll: Even though majorities think Trump should face criminal charges, 18% (!) of those who want him arrested still back him over Biden.

The bottom line: Here's another echo of 2016. Beltway and establishment Republicans are fantasizing that something magical will make Trump go away — instead of deploying a coordinated effort to supplant him.

  • You know how that worked out last time.

Josh Kraushaar contributed reporting.

Editor's note: This newsletter item has been corrected to show Trump faced a civil trial over a rape accusation from 1996, not a charge.

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