Aziz Huq Writes About Trump’s Indictments

Trump’s Indictments

In​ the 1920 US presidential election, Eugene Debs, or Convict 9653, won 913,693 votes while serving a ten-year sentence in a federal prison in Atlanta. ‘Under the influence of this unreasoning mob psychology,’ the editors of the New York Times complained, an ‘acknowledged criminal is nightly applauded as loudly as many of the candidates for the presidency who have won their honourable eminence by great and unflagging service.’ The following Christmas, Debs, the perennial Socialist Party candidate, was released with a commuted sentence on the orders of President Warren Harding.

Debs won 3.4 per cent of the vote in that election, but Donald Trump is currently polling ahead of Joe Biden in five of the six states he needs if he is to win 270 electoral college votes on 5 November. The Republican primary electorate wants Trump, even though the former South Carolina governor, Nikki Haley, has at times polled substantially better against Biden in swing states and nationally. Trump’s campaign has made much of his own legal problems. Debs was prosecuted under a federal law called the Sedition Act, passed at Woodrow Wilson’s urging in 1918 and aimed at the anti-war campaigners of the Socialist Party. Trump sees himself as the victim of a malign campaign orchestrated by the ‘Biden Crime Family and their weaponised Justice Department’ that has led to him facing 91 felony criminal charges across four indictments in four different courts: state courts in New York and Georgia; federal courts in Florida and New York. In claiming that these charges are intended to ‘interfere with the presidential election’, Trump is trying to portray himself as an interloper in, and an enemy of, the political establishment rather than a former president with a vice-like grip on one of the US’s two major political parties.

Read more at London Review of Books

President Trump The judiciary