How will Trump’s White House run be affected if he ends up in prison?

Experts note that it is possible to keep campaigning from jail, and that it will be a long time before trial, leaving him plenty of time to make his own case in the virtual world

Former President Donald Trump speaking to his supporters during the Save America Rally at the Sarasota Fairgrounds in Sarasota, Florida on July 3.Octavio Jones (REUTERS)

Although Donald Trump’s indictment would seem to have boosted his chances to return to the White House, based on recent polls, it remains to be seen how his White House run will be affected by the felony charges in New York, where he is expected to be arraigned on Tuesday.

Vicente Palacio, Director of Foreign Policy at Alternativas Foundation, a progressive think tank in Spain, analyzed the consequences that the news may have on Trump’s aspirations. “This would not prevent him from continuing with the campaign: even from jail he could keep campaigning, and this makes it very explosive in the current situation,” he said.

Regarding the chances that the Republican party might abandon Trump and prioritize Florida Governor Ron De Santis, who has yet to confirm his candidacy but seems to be Trump’s biggest rival for the nomination, Palacio said it is an unlikely outcome.

“Paradoxically, what this may do in the end is to increase Trump’s popularity. The Republican party has a choice to drop Trump, who is starting to be a pretty toxic candidate, and choose Ron DeSantis instead. However, I believe that precisely the opposite is going to happen.”

It could be a year before a trial takes place, and it is unlikely that a judge will put Trump on the stand before the election. That is sufficient time for the former president to make his own case in the virtual world, says this expert.

“We should not underestimate the former president’s ability to act in the virtual realm,” said Palacio. “Social media are a very powerful tool in the hands of Trump and his team.”

In addition to the Stormy Daniels case, the former president is facing other investigations and legal challenges over his finances, his role in the assault on the U.S. Capitol, his behavior during the last election and his handling of classified documents, among other issues.

“These are matters that could incriminate him in an even more serious way that this case: it is unclear that [the Stormy Daniels case] is a real basis to send Trump to prison, at least for now,” noted Palacio. “On the other hand, the benefit that Trump is going to get from all this is that he can portray himself as the victim of a political persecution.”

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