Trump’s Stunning Guilty Verdict Shatters His Aura of Invincibility

True, the hush-money affair is less serious than Trump’s alleged crimes related to the insurrection and the theft of national security documents. But it shouldn’t be hard to make the case that an extremely serious offense lurks beneath the tabloid trash: Trump committed extensive fraud to deceive the American people about a tawdry affair and cheat his way into the most powerful position in the world, one he never should have been granted in the first place. The GOP presidential nominee is now a convicted criminal. As Dan Pfeiffer put it, Democrats should “call Trump a convicted felon at every opportunity.”

The larger story is also a powerful one. The system sought to hold Trump accountable despite a roar of second-guessing—and in the face of incredible strains inflicted on it by Trump and his GOP enablers and media propagandists, who make up an extraordinarily powerful elite cadre. The system held. That reflects positively on our country. There is time for the Biden campaign to figure out how to tell that story as well.

No question, Trump could still defy political and legal gravity in plenty of ways. Though some polls suggest Trump will pay a political price for his conviction, it’s anyone’s guess whether voters will make good on that, and a lot rides on whether Democrats succeed in driving it all home. Beyond that, Judge Aileen Cannon seems to have delayed Trump’s trial for theft of state secrets. The Supreme Court could still stall Trump’s insurrection-related trial until after the election. But I suspect that has now become somewhat less likely: Now that Trump has been branded a felon, dubiously helping Trump delay justice will become harder to justify, and will come at a greater political and institutional price.

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Kim browne

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