The new date for Trump’s impeachment trial is the day before Super Tuesday. Does it matter?
The federal trial over former President Donald Trump’s alleged illegal efforts to overturn the 2020 election is set to begin on March 4, 2024 — the day before “Super Tuesday” the Republican presidential primaries. However, that, just like four indictments and two impeachments, may not stop Trump’s campaign, said GOP strategists who spoke with ABC News on Monday.
Trump has not campaigned, choosing instead to stage a few events each week, and retains the ability to draw crowds with his signature rallies, which means the impeachment trial may not significantly impede his campaign operations ahead of Super Tuesday. And given his strong dominance in early state polls, strategists warn that the primaries may already be over by March 4 anyway.
“The conversation around Super Tuesday has deepened,” said Doug He, former communications director for the Republican National Committee. “But if Trump wins Iowa and New Hampshire, there will be no electoral impact, in the primaries, because he is closed at this point. I think that highlights the importance of Iowa.”
Trump allies have criticized the timing of the trial, which was announced by US District Judge Tanya Chutkan after the expedited schedule was rejected by special counsel Jack Smith and Trump’s lawyer asked to delay the trial until 2026, with Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance. dubbing it “Direct interference in the elections.”
“Does the trial start the day before the biggest day of the primaries? It’s called Super Tuesday for a reason. It’s the biggest day for the primaries. That’s when the trial starts?” asked a pro-Trump GOP adviser.
Trump later posted on his social media platform that he intended to appeal the March 4 date announced by Chutkan.
However, the timing of the appointment could present both disadvantages and opportunities — potentially taking Trump off the campaign trail the day before to grab the most delegates while also stoking attacks on an alleged “two-tier” justice system that has so vitalised. his supporters.
“He will be able to send messages about it, but it will certainly interfere with his ability to campaign. It’s a double-edged sword,” said the adviser, who discussed the new ruling on condition of anonymity.
GOP strategists underestimated the logistical hurdle that the March 4 impeachment trial would pose to Trump — if he was asked to attend at all.
California, whose primaries are a big prize on Super Tuesday, is expected to take a large portion of the votes already cast before March 5. With Trump benefiting in part from his name recognition, he is not necessarily happy every day. The primary calendar is like some of its lower-polling competitors.
“California is Super Tuesday, but I bet more than half, if not two-thirds, of the votes will actually be mailed before Election Day, because early voting is all mail-in,” said Rob Stutzman, a California native. Republican strategist. “He’ll be able to campaign all weekend… and he’ll still be somewhere that evening to campaign.”
“He’s the kind of guy who does two walks a week anyway,” Stutzman added. “And you’ll have scenarios where he gets out of court at 5 o’clock and gets on the plane, and there’s a rally at 7:30 in western Pennsylvania. And that’s what he’ll do is talk about his day in court, being a bully all day. And he’ll still be on stage in the evening.” “.
And Trump’s lead in national and early state polls suggests that the strategy is adequate.
Stutzman said it’s “very balanced” as to whether Trump can win Iowa and New Hampshire – the two states where the first two nomination races took place. polling he have shown Trump has a huge lead, but if he does, the former president could face a smooth path to his third consecutive nomination.
“Unless he narrowly wins states against someone, it could be Super Tuesday, but if he wins the first four states, yeah, you would think he’s not the candidate at that point,” Stutzman said.
But while the March 4 trial date may ultimately be just a speed bump in Trump’s primaries, the general election could be something else entirely.
Trump faces four different criminal cases, in which he maintains his innocence in each, and is expected to extend through November 2024, which means he will have to navigate between the courtroom and the campaign trail for several months on end, all while he battles with the legal authorities. Remain front and center for swing voters, not just GOP primary voters.
“You want to know that your politician who wins in November isn’t going to be in a knockout. And you can’t say that about Trump. And so these voters, they don’t like Joe Biden, they don’t think the economy is working, but they wanted to,” Heee said. Giving him a chance, partly because they’re tired of all the chaos.” “It doesn’t help them come back.”
This article originally appeared on abcnews.go.com