What does it mean for 2024 election?
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NEW YORK () — Even though former President Donald Trump was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury on Thursday, an indictment does not prevent the former president from continuing his run for the White House or getting elected to office in 2024.

In fact, the former president has used the indictment as fuel for his 2024 campaign, trying to turn the public against the case.

“This is an attack on our country the likes of which has never been seen before. It is likewise a continuing attack on our once free and fair elections. The U.S.A. is now a third-world nation, a nation in serious decline,” Trump posted to his social media site Truth Social after he received the news of the indictment.

Trump’s campaign and his allies have long hoped an indictment would serve as a rallying cry for his supporters, angering his “Make America Great Again” base, drawing small-dollar donations and forcing Trump’s potential rivals into the awkward position of having to defend him — or risk their wrath.

Now, Trump’s indictment has thrust the 2024 presidential election into uncharted territory as no other president in U.S. history has been indicted.

In an acknowledgment of the sway the former president holds with the voters who will decide the GOP contest next year, those eyeing a primary challenge to Trump were quick to criticize the indictment.

Without naming Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called the move “un-American.” Former Vice President Mike Pence, whose life was threatened after Trump incited an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, told CNN the charges were “outrageous.”

However, Colby Hall said the biggest problem with the Trump indictment is the way that most media coverage and people are over-politicizing it and already claiming whether Trump is guilty or not.

“The truth of the matter is, we don’t know what the indictment says yet anything about it is just conjecture or analysis and opinion. So this is where we are. There are very few outlets these days that abide by the traditional standards of journalism, that you don’t report on something until you really know about it,” Hall said. 

Princeton University political scientist Lauren Wright, Ph.D., explained the political issue at hand is if Trump is not ultimately convicted, fearing that the indictment could negatively affect the former president’s perception and public debate.

“A charge is not the same as a conviction,” Wright said. However, there is still a negative association with the idea of being charged that could negatively impact Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign.

Wright said that in her mindset, this is not a good thing for the former president. However, she said Trump could still win the primary due to his baked-in support.

But many still fear that this indictment could be a dangerous move for the country, exposing instability within our government. It has even raised the question of whether Trump’s indictment could influence other presidents or former presidents to be indicted, or make the process of an indictment of a president easier.

“I think this does probably open the door to more people thinking presidents are, you know, they’re not above the law. And they can certainly face these kinds of charges,” Wright said.

Trump is expected to surrender himself on Tuesday on charges connected to hush money payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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