INDIANAPOLIS — I-Team 8 spoke with political science professors who said we as a nation are in uncharted waters with the indictment of former President Donald Trump.
Historically, the closest comparison we’ve seen is what happened with Richard Nixon in the 70’s.
President Richard Nixon resigned in 1974. Two years after the Watergate scandal where high ranking people in the Nixon administration broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters.
“A former president being indicted is not the same as a having a sitting president leave office because of some type of criminal matter,” said Professor Aaron Dusso who teaches political science at IUPUI.
Even though he said this indictment doesn’t rise to the level of what happened with Richard Nixon, he told I-Team 8 it is still very historically significant.
“How do you think history will remember this time,” asked I-Team 8 reporter Kody Fisher.
“Woah, that’s a big question. I would say that history will look back at this as one of the most polarized times in the US history assuming that there’s a united states to look back on it,” said Dusso who added, “polarization is one of those key factors that people point to to the demise of democracy.”
IU Northwest Political Science Professor Marie Esenstein agreed.
She told I-team 8 the United States hasn’t seen polarization like this since the Civil War.
“I think we just need to do a better job of actually promoting political tolerance. You don’t have to like it, you don’t have to accept it, you don’t have to agree with it, but you should tolerate and support others who disagree with you just because that’s an American ideal and that’s what makes our democracy work,” said Esenstein.
Moving forward, Dusso said this indictment has the potential of changing politics. The worst case scenario he sees is the creation of a tit for tat retaliation by political parties advocating for indicting former presidents just because this indictment happened.
“I have my doubts that that is going to happen, but I can’t predict the future,” said Dusso.
Dusso told I-Team 8 this isn’t the first time a politician has been charged with a crime. It’s just the first time it’s reached this far up the political ladder.