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Political analysts weigh in on Trump indictments

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Political observers called it a surreal moment as former President Trump emerged from a Manhattan courtroom after pleading not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records.

Chad Kinsella, associate professor of political science at Ball State University, said, “If he’s convicted, it’s like a great episode of ‘The West Wing’ or ‘House of Cards.'”

Kinsella expects Trump to capitalize on his indictment as he seeks the 2024 GOP nomination for president.
“He’s raising a whole lot of money off of this. There was a poll released today in New Hampshire, he’s the front-runner now,” Kinsella said.

Trump’s indictment could open a Pandora’s box where local prosecutors may see fit to indict future presidents, both Democrats and Republicans, for crimes they may have committed before or after they were in office.

While Trump may win the GOP nomination, appealing to voters in the general election may be a tall task for an indicted candidate.

Steven Webster, a political scientist at Indiana University Bloomington, says being charged with a crime does not disqualify Trump from running for president.

“There are examples in American history. Eugene Debs, for instance, was a socialist. He ran for president while he was in prison,” Webster said.

Debs won 3.4% of the vote in the 1920 presidential election.

Should Trump win the presidency in 2024, it’s unclear if he could hold office if he is convicted. A future president cannot pardon Trump if he is convicted because he was charged in state, not federal, court.