Four journalists at the Washington Post Analysis of Donald Trump’s polling numbers for the 2024 presidential election among all voters as well as in-person interviews with Republicans from multiple states. They concluded that the “twice-impeached and four-times indicted former president’s persistent message has trickled down to voters” to persuade the GOP even though most Americans recognize Trump as a bona fide criminal. These contradictory social realities persist in part because most voters were witnesses to many lawless acts committed by the perpetrator during his presidency.
Criminally speaking, how can there be a division between his 2024 supporters who believe in state persecution of Trump and those who oppose a third run by the typically corrupt former president for President of the United States when Trump continues to incite violence in violation of court orders not to do so?
Considering Labeling theory, to examine The social construction of crime theoryAnd take some lessons on that Myths about crime and criminal justiceI will attempt to explain processes of criminal stigma in the midst of competing explanations for Trump’s predicament by locating them in the common ways in which society attempts to control deviant, harmful, and lawless behavior.
The Washington Post’s reporting asserts that negative GOP sentiment toward criminal indictments and Trump’s victimization, rather than positive sentiment toward his criminalization and conviction, shaped the ways in which most Republicans as well as Trump’s rivals responded to the 2024 nomination for 91 criminal charges. Against him.
While these political versus legal interpretations of reality capture the moment in the ongoing Donald Trump saga, I do not believe that naming the victim “hidden” nor that his narrative of victimhood will prevail. On the contrary, this “master” label for Trump’s identity or victim status is only temporary and will not stick to Trump’s identity or status as criminal.
Regarding the 2024 presidential election and the so-called race for the Republican nomination, the politically motivated labels of the former president’s alleged “persecution” or victimization through a “witch hunt” have so far stuck above the legal designations of “fraudster” or “fraudster.” Or “fraudster.” “Criminal” in the minds of most Republicans. However, over the weekend, Trump found it necessary not only to emphasize his citation, as he continues to plead with one of the chief justices to jail him for violating “gag orders,” but he also felt compelled to share it on social media. A messianic courtroom painted portrait of himself and Jesus, Allegedly It was created by Peter Gerard Scally who was jailed for life for rape and human trafficking last year.
At this point in time, neither the Republican majority nor his alleged rivals for the nomination are willing to acknowledge Trump’s pure, unadulterated corruption or even that the alleged criminal charges against him may be legitimate.
In general, the Republican Party is in a state of collective denial of Trump’s lawlessness. They prefer to falsely discredit the Democratic opposition and President Biden’s “crime family,” while blaming the imaginary “deep state” and the very real state and federal judicial departments for “weaponizing” the discriminatory wheels of law enforcement against the former president.
While Trump will in all likelihood be the 2024 GOP presidential nominee, I believe the con man’s highly effective, culturally-based persecution tactic and his political narrative of victimhood are already beginning to wane as his co-conspirators begin to admit guilt. More importantly, once criminal charges turn into criminal convictions, Trump’s trumped-up political defenses of persecution and martyrdom will quickly lose their grip on Republican voters.
Contrary to conventional speculation, criminal convictions, unlike criminal indictments, would not reinforce his label as a “victim.”
For example, in real politics, we have seen evidence that Trump’s victimization of “rigged” elections is beginning to subside in the United States. Last week’s defeat of Ohio’s Jim Jordan for Speaker of the House And in the guilty confessions of two of Trump’s lawyers and the other defendants Sidney Powell And Kenneth Chesbrough In the Georgia RICO case. On the latter issue, lawyers, like accountants in the world of Trumpian chaos, have always been among the “middlemen” whom Trump can throw under the proverbial bus or blame for his misdeeds in order to escape accountability. Now they will testify not only against Trump in the two conspiracy trials, but also against other indicted defendants who are at this very moment working on their own plea deals to reduce their sentences rather than face what could be very long prison sentences.
Unlike Trump, his political rivals for the highest office, and House Republicans who know the truth about Trump’s crimes, obstruction of justice, failed coup, etc., there were 25 resilient Republicans last week who refused to pretend otherwise. . As a result, they banned the anointing “legislative terrorist” Jordan also once described former Republican House Speaker John Boehner as a hidden conspirator on January 6 and Trump’s preferred candidate to be third in line for the presidency.
So what explains why Republicans have thus far been primarily associated with the weaknesses and victimhood of their “strong man” and with positive images of the former president as an outlaw or revolutionary rather than negative images of Trump as a fraud or revolutionary? criminal?
Political scientists tell us that most of these voters sympathize with Trump because they believe it is in their self-interest to do so. Psychologists reduce identification with Trump to satisfying various aspects of these voters’ deep emotional needs. Although political scientists and psychologists are right about these accounts, they have not addressed or reconciled the contradictory responses of those other Republicans (or Democrats for that matter) who have the same political interests or psychological needs.
They simply suggested why these Trump voters ignored or rejected his dastardly actions, but not why they could excuse Trump’s antisocial behavior, or why they had so far internalized Trump’s abhorrent behavior rather than externalizing it. In other words, they have essentially nothing to say about why voters can legally accept or reject Trump’s social deviance or nonconformity.
By contrast, sociologists and criminologists discuss these matters in terms of “primary” and “secondary” deviances, as I first put them Edwin Lemert. They suggest, for example, why the Republican Party’s identification with Trump as a national outlaw, revolutionary rebel, or persecuted target will shift to anti-Trumpism only when the legal system begins to criminalize or successfully label Trump as a convicted felon. Not once, but several times.
Primary deviants are people who have intentionally violated a custom, rule, or rule of law without being stigmatized by a social group as deviants or by a court as criminals. After nearly five decades of violating customs, customs, and laws, in addition to being held responsible several times for civil complaints, Trump remains in the eyes of most Republicans a fundamental deviant.
Secondary deviants are people who: (a) are informally labeled as deviants by social groups for violations of customs that do not live up to standards or for violations of civil and administrative law as well as torts that do not constitute a crime, (b) formally labeled as responsible For violations that are violations of civil, administrative, or tort laws that may induce others not to recognize a person as a violator of the law, or (c) formally stigmatize him or her as a person who has violated one of the two types of criminality—misdemeanors or felonies—which almost always prompts others to Not identifying with those who are officially classified as criminals.
As far as Trump is concerned, he remains a fundamental deviant when it comes to ordinariness, having never been successfully stigmatized or shamed by others, and certainly not himself. Meanwhile, Trump has been held liable on numerous occasions for fraud or violation of civil laws and damages. However, since these conflicts are subject to fines rather than loss of liberty, most people view these legal violations committed by white-collar or corporate people using drawing paper, pens, or campaign dollars as not being truly criminal like those criminals who take over stores Seven Eleven or gas stations with a firearm of some kind.
As detailed in Stealing a Nation: Wall Street Looting and Federal Regulatory Collusion With the exception of those who participated in the organized Wall Street protests, most people in America as well as the Obama administration and the Department of Justice in particular did not look at the more than 5,000 securities fraudsters involved in criminality. Hence, none of these violators were criminally prosecuted as more than 1,000 of their fraudulent predecessors were during the savings and loan scandals of the late 1980s, which caused comparatively much less harm and damage to both the economy and the American people.
The criminally accused former Teflon Don also likes to say: “Come on, everyone is doing it,” “Everyone is corrupt,” “Look at the Biden crime family,” etc.
Folklore, bad boys, and one loyal gal
Americana, as evidenced in books and films alike, often celebrated and romanticized various outlaw characters beginning in the mid-19th century. From Jesse James and Wild Bill Hickok to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to Bonnie and Clyde to D.B. Cooper to Donald J. Trump, regardless of their crimes, these iconic outlaws are all seen as “butting their noses” into the establishment or “in the heart” of society’s elites. On behalf of ordinary or young people who can only imagine doing the same kinds of transgressive things as these legendary figures in US history.
While these outlaws are on the run and resisting capture, ordinary people often encourage them to “get away with it” as they attempt to challenge or escape the legal system. Their fan bases have identified in real time with these heroes usually but not always until such time as they meet their death usually at the hands of law enforcement. Likewise, once a former president is formally branded as a criminal by the judiciary and convicted by a jury of his peers, his support for the presidency will likely weaken in his emotional attachment and thus the number of Trump supporters. Republican supporters will back off dramatically.
Trump understands this phenomenon intuitively better than most people. He knows he can only get away with his fraudulent lies and criminal behavior, as well as his 50/50 chance of winning the 2024 election as long as he is not criminally convicted. If he is convicted once, let alone twice before next November, Trump knows he will be doomed politically. He also knows he can’t win any of these criminal cases, so this becomes his only legal strategy Postponing trials until after the elections Which, fortunately for the United States, will not happen.
Greg Barrack He is a professor emeritus of criminology and criminal justice at Eastern Michigan University, and one of the founders of the organization Journal of White Collar and Corporate Crimeand author Criminology on Trump (2022) which is a sequel, Accusation 45y The President: President Trump, the Republican Party, and what we can do about the threat to American democracy It will be published on April 1, 2024.