Strike three: On the indictment of former U.S. President Donald Trump

Not surprisingly, Mr. Trump has denounced the indictment as evidence of the “corruption, scandal, and failure” of the Biden White House, and his lawyers have attacked it as being the “first time that the First Amendment has been criminalised”. U.S. politics is already shifting gear as it enters the deep end of the 2024 presidential election cycle.
Mr. Trump leads by a significant margin the cohort of at least 14 Republican candidates seeking their party’s nomination for the election. Some legal experts say that even if he is found guilty in one or more of the indictment cases, there is nothing in the U.S. constitution that bars him from contesting the 2024 election. This could lead to the unprecedented situation of the U.S. being led by a convicted President, or a President who governs from prison, if not a President who takes office and then has all of his convictions dismissed.
The bizarreness of this scenario is only exceeded by the extreme levels of political polarisation of the U.S. electorate across the liberal-conservative spectrum on a variety of critical issues including the role of the government in the economy, reproductive and civil rights, immigration, foreign policy and much more. Unless bipartisanship somehow gains a foothold in this deeply conflicted polity, there is a real risk that U.S. exceptionalism may soon be a thing of the past.

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