He might say he’s the master of the art of the deal. But Donald Trump’s real superpower is his talent for wriggling out of accountability after sailing close to the law and normal rules of politics, business and life in a way that would have destroyed most public figures long ago.
However, after he bounced back following a lifetime of business bankruptcies, scandals and impeachments, it might soon be time to consider whether the ex-President’s flair for impunity is starting to fail him after a string of legal defeats tightened a net of scrutiny around him.
In the latest blow on Thursday, a judge in New York ruled that Trump and his eldest two children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, must sit for depositions in the New York attorney general’s civil probe into their business practices. It was far from Trump’s only recent rough day in court.
While he appears to be slipping deeper into a legal swamp, some obvious caveats are in order. Pretty much everyone who has bet that Trump’s run-ins with the law, truth and reality would doom his career have been proved wrong ever since his riotous entry into the 2016 presidential campaign. And his refusal to live by the rules that govern everyone else is, in fact, a key ingredient of his political appeal for millions of voters.
Such followers see their own disdain for elites and authority reflected in his travails and crusades. Trump remains the dominant force in the Republican Party, even out of office. And, in all of the latest legal threats currently facing him, the former President is yet to be proved guilty.
If his tough run of luck carries on, the legal protections offered by the presidency might convince Trump even more of the merits of another campaign as he sizes up 2024. But even his fortune might run out at some point, and he may find it harder to avoid the consequences of his political transgressions and alleged infringements of the law.
Behind the scenes in Republican politics, the rising tides of scandal could crest into conversations about whether Trump is the ideal standard-bearer for the party going forward – at least when it comes to a critical general election audience in the vote-rich moderate suburbs. Already, some Republicans fear that Trump’s obsession with his false claims that he was voted out of power illegally will overshadow a GOP midterm election campaign focusing on high inflation and gas prices, anger at school lockdowns and immigration.
A recent CNN poll backed up the idea that Trump’s appeal may not be as rock solid as it once was. Some 50% of Republican and Republican-leaning respondents to the survey conducted by SSRS said they wanted the GOP to nominate him again, while 49% wanted someone else. The more the ex-President gets dinged up, the more some of these voters might be open to a…
Read More: Analysis: Trump’s legal woes deepen and could bring new political