“They’re not indicting me, they’re indicting you. I just happen to be standing in the way,” Donald Trump declared (again) in the wake of a new updated federal indictment connected to the classified documents case.
The claim is as effective as it is stupid. The federal government is not, in fact, prosecuting the average Trump supporter for mishandling documents or obstructing justice (save for two Trump aides who allegedly helped him mishandle documents and obstruct justice).
But the idea that Trump is a populist sword-and-shield against the “establishment,” “deep state,” or “elites” has ensorcelled large swaths of the GOP base, which is at least partly why he’s got a massive lead over his opponents. The latest New York Times/Siena College poll asking potential Republican primary voters which candidate they would most likely vote for, Trump is at 54 percent , a 37-point lead over his closest challenger, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Among his core supporters—about 37 percent of the party according to a breakdown of the poll by the New York Times’ Nate Cohn—literally nobody thinks he committed any crimes and 94 percent think the party needs to rally around him against these presumably bogus charges.