The New York Times and Siena College are out with the latest 2024 polls, and the outlook is as expected. Former president Donald Trump, despite facing mounting criminal charges, is crushing his rivals. He’s in a dead heat against Joe Biden, with 43 percent of registered voters backing each candidate in an increasingly likely rematch.
It’s not hard to feel a mix of disappointment and dread looking at these numbers. How can whole swaths of the American electorate support a man whose legal peril crosses the spectrum of exceptionally dumb to outright despicable? It seems many have shrugged off Trump’s classified documents scandal as some kind of bureaucratic oopsie. After two and a half years, many who may have recoiled on January 6 have apparently come around to the idea that hey, the guy had a point. Even Ivanka and Jared, are reportedly impressed and thinking of rejoining the band.
If these feel like familiar dynamics, it’s because they are. And that at least offers some comfort to anyone who doesn’t want the twice-impeached, racist plague reinstalled in the White House. Republicans do not have to care about the newest reasons to hate Trump, and there are many, in order for him to lose one more time. It only requires that enough people that didn’t want him to be president before still don’t want him to be. And how many people, after all the indictments, have actually changed places? That’s the real question.
None of this is to say that Biden’s reelection does not have real threats. Plenty of people have legitimate reservations about the president; others are disappointed in his economic record despite the sustained, very positive data; a good portion of voters are reasonably exhausted by the mere thought of a Biden-Trump redux and could very well stay at home next November. But Trump’s grip on the party, even amid his current legal jeopardy, shouldn’t prompt too much surprise.
As Trump said himself, he could shoot down a man on Fifth Avenue and barely suffer the consequences with his core fans. The problem is all the other people think he sounds like an ass.