It’s a mistake not to take Trump’s troubles in New York seriously
Former President Donald Trump tries to show a tough facade at the Conservative Political Action Conference, March 4, 2023. The Manhattan district attorney's office appears to be getting close to a decision on whether to charge Trump over hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels during his 2016 presidential campaign, but the former president's calls for supporters to rally to his defense have garnered only a handful of demonstrators. | Alex Brandon / AP

Donald Trump claiming on his Truth Social Media site that he was going to be arrested Tuesday and charged by the Manhattan district attorney’s office on charges related to a 2016 payment to pornographic actor Stormy Daniels is a sign, not of his strength, but of his weakness and total desperation.

No one in New York should harbor any fear that the impending prosecution of Trump there will result in any type of meaningful uprising of angry Trump supporters. The warnings about an impending right-wing rebellion against so called “left-wing prosecutors” have no basis in reality.

The response in NYC thus far to Trump’s call for protests was a sad turnout of a handful of members of the New York Young Republican Club, notoriously branded for years now—even by fellow Republicans—as a bunch of young fascists. They were far outnumbered by both the press and by members of the 16,000-strong NYPD.

Much of the corporate press fell for this latest Trump publicity scheme. He manipulated them, trying to build up support among his so-called “base” for a “movement” to free himself from alleged persecution by the left.

Too many reporters fell for Trump’s attempt to draw attention away from the fact that he faces serious charges of falsifying business records and making payments to influence the outcome of an election. These are serious crimes for which countless U.S. senators, governors, congresspeople, mayors, and other political officials have, over the years gone to jail.

Trump paying hush money to a woman with whom he had sex while his wife was giving birth to their child, as reprehensive as it may have been, is not illegal and is not the crime for which the former president is being charged.

Republican claims that he is being persecuted years later for crimes of marital disloyalty that should now be forgotten are totally false and beside the point. If Trump is not prosecuted for falsifying business records and illegally influencing election results, it will be tantamount to an admission he is above the law. That is unacceptable.

There is no reason to take seriously claims by profiles-in-courage like the billionaire dilettante Elon Musk and Republican leaders that prosecution will propel Trump to the White House. As prosecution gets closer, he is actually losing the support of many of his “courageous” followers who are now afraid to turn out at rallies for him. They see that over 1,000 who answered his call to “take back the country” at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, are now spending their time in jail.

There are a few fanatical supporters on right-wing social media who rush to Trump’s defense, but very few are following them. Keep in mind that more than 99% of the millions who once voted for Trump never even attended a single Trump rally. That ratio is probably getting worse for the former president as prosecutions near.

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Even Trump’s most ardent supporters find it tough to see him as a victim, and they are getting tired of his antics. Trump’s reaction to the potential charges has not attracted sympathy from voters who have already rejected him numerous times.

Referring to Daniels repeatedly as “Horseface” and claiming that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is Black, is a “racist” who is being pressured to file charges by “[George] Soros” and other “Marxists” makes it hard for people to take him seriously. People are growing increasingly tired of Trump’s racism and anti-Semitism.

He continues to repeat his lie that the 2020 presidential election was “STOLLEN [sic]” and has compared himself to convicted Jan. 6 rioters (“AMERICAN PATRIOTS”) who are being “HELD IN CAPTIVITY LIKE ANIMALS.”

Only a handful of supporters have answered Trump’s call for an uprising to save him from ‘persecution’ in New York. Here, Gavin Wax, leader of the New York Young Republicans, addresses the press during a rally in support of Trump and in opposition to the potential criminal indictment sought by New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg on March 20, 2023, in front of the New York Criminal Court building in New York. | Bryan Woolston / AP

A report in Slate says Trump also recently released a recording, produced in collaboration with a former Fox News anchor named Ed Henry who was fired from the network in 2020 after multiple sexual misconduct allegations against him were made public, in which he recites the Pledge of Allegiance while a chorus of Jan. 6 inmates—recorded over the phone from prison—sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Slate notes that Trump’s posts, for what it’s worth, are interspersed with automated Truth Social advertisements urging followers to, for example, obtain a “Free Trump 2024 Gold Bar” by visiting, where one learns that shipping and handling charges for 50 “free” bars—the number the site recommends buying—will cost $199.50.

The election results of the 2022 midterms and multiple polls since show what U.S. voters really think about all these Trump shenanigans, his believability, his opinions and treatment of women, and his claims of persecution.

Some 64% of voters say he is not “likable.” The reasons voters don’t like him include the belief that he is sexist (51% to 34%), is bad for race relations (67%), and acts often in criminal or at least unethical ways. (The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake runs down the impressively long list of Trump scandals in which the public has sided against him here.)

Voters also don’t tend to believe his claims and counter-claims about being the victim of “Deep State” conspiracies. (See here for an example involving the 2020 election.)

So don’t worry, if you live in New York or anywhere else really, that some big uprising on behalf of Trump is about to happen. What we should realize is that even if Trump is prosecuted, it took 16 months after the indictment of Allen Weisselberg, his top financial officer, for Weisselberg to end up on Rikers Island.

The issue is that Trump will use the many months ahead to try to stir up his shrinking base. Republican leaders can be expected to continue to fear him, though, and will try to use their committees in the House to support the idea that he is a victim. They will all fail, however, as long as the people remain alert to their game and reject it on all fronts.

Let’s hope, too, that the media stops falling for Trump’s nonsense.

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John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward and a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee. In the 1970s and '80s, he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.