Voter panel: ‘Indictment is pulling us apart’

US voters

Former US President Donald Trump has been charged over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in the run up to the 6 January riot. We asked people on our US voters panel for their reaction to the news, and how it makes them feel about Mr Trump’s campaign to run again in 2024.

Luke Gordon

Luke Gordon grew up in a liberal-leaning part of the north east. He voted for Donald Trump in 2020, but he wants someone else to win the Republican nomination for 2024.

January 6 will always have a splintered legacy: Those who despise Trump will gleefully remember it as a “sombre” day and those who voted for him will remember it as the day after January 5.

There is nothing to celebrate with this indictment. It fuels both the Democrats who want to use the justice system for political gain, and the Trump-leaning Republicans who already view the system as against them. It serves only as another force pulling us apart as a country.

At least these charges are somewhat believable. The other charges, for mishandling documents and an improperly recorded business expense, were laughable and an undeniable abuse of prosecutorial power.

Trump’s base is big enough that no amount of indictments can tank his road to the Republican nomination. Whether or not there are enough voters still willing to put up with his baggage to return him to the Oval Office remains to be seen. I tend to think there aren’t.

Kathleen McClellan

Kathleen McClellan is a strong anti-abortion voter and backed Donald Trump twice.

It seems as though they’ll never stop trying to keep Donald Trump from running. I don’t think it will end until Mr Trump is made ineligible to run for office. If this fails, they’ll try something else. That’s what makes this indictment look bad for America. 

I think January 6 will be remembered as a riot, not an insurrection. I had family living in Haiti years ago, so I know what a real insurrection looks like. I think January 6 served a perfect device to smear Donald Trump and his supporters.

I don’t feel any differently about the 2024 election. If Mr Trump becomes the Republican candidate I will vote for him, but I still think we need some younger faces. We currently have two candidates who would be in their 80s in office. 

Nuha Nazy

Nuha Nazy says democracy, women’s rights and gay rights are her top priorities.

I remember doing a tour of the Philadelphia Senate building where George Washington peacefully shook hands with his successor, got on his horse, and returned to his farm, even as his soldiers were lined up outside waiting for his orders to fight to keep him in power. I am upset that Donald Trump could tarnish that.

I think an indictment is a great step. It gives Donald Trump a chance to clear his name, if he is in fact not guilty as he claims. It allows the justice system to reinforce that no-one is above the law.

For those, like me, who found January 6 to be antithetical to the peaceful transfer of power, we get to see him held to account. We may be challenged to accept a result other than guilty, but that’s OK. We still have to give the system a chance to prove that law and order is still a fact in this country.

Jim Sullivan

Jim Sullivan describes himself as a dedicated Republican.

The indictment just builds on the already simmering belief that our justice system is corrupt and politicised.

They say the victors write the history books, so I suspect how 6 January will ultimately be remembered depends on who wins these cultural wars between the left and the right. I doubt anyone will look back on 6 January and speak fondly of it, though.

I do believe that Trump will gain voters from all of this. The indictment and all these investigations only helps to boost Trump. It solidifies his base. It sucks the oxygen out of the room for all of his rivals – see how far Ron DeSantis has fallen now – and it sets Trump up as something like the messiah figure that he portrays himself to be. That perspective resonates especially so now with his base, given the Biden scandals that appear to be bubbling up.

This country appears to be at a real turning point. I am not hopeful. I hate to say that. We’re headed to very dark place.

Isaiah Reeves

Isaiah Reeves describes himself as a progressive.

I don’t think this indictment is bad for America at all. I’m surprised it took two-and-a-half years. I believe these charges are more severe than the [other cases] because it had actual ramifications on the country and threatened to have a terrible detriment to the rule of law and transfer of power.

This doesn’t make me feel any different whatsoever about the next election. I didn’t like him before, I thought he was a bad candidate, bad president, and bad person. I don’t think that he will actually face any real consequences for his actions, and he will certainly become the Republican nominee.

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