Donald Trump attended a federal court in Washington DC on 3 August in which he faced a 45-page criminal indictment accusing him of conspiracy to overturn the democratic outcome of the 2020 US presidential election.
This follows his indictment in the state of New York over the alleged use of campaign funds to pay hush money to Stormy Daniels, a porn actress who was reported to be preparing to tell all about her relationship with Trump. And another federal indictment in a Florida court accusing Trump of stealing classified documents obtained during his time as the most powerful man in the world.
Outside the courtroom he joked that “I need one more indictment to ensure my election” (Trump is, of course, the front-runner for the Republican Party’s nomination for the presidential election in 2024). He is likely to get his wish, as the state of Georgia is investigating his attempt to pressurise electoral officials to declare the state in his favour in the 2020 election. Any one of these charges could land the 77-year-old in jail, some of them for up to 20 years.
These criminal investigations and prosecutions follow two separate attempts to impeach (remove) Trump during his presidency and will play out at the same time as the process which will culminate in a presidential election on 5 November next year.
Trump is very likely to be the Republican candidate in that election, but because of the drawn-out nature of the legal process, unlikely to be campaigning from prison. Despite the fact that the majority of the permanent state officialdom, and the majority of the tech and finance-based US ruling class opposes the re-election of Trump, it is entirely possible that Trump could win the 2024 election, making the indictments a positive selling point for his candidacy: “Every time the radical left Democrats, Marxists, communists, and fascists indict me, I consider it actually a great badge of honour … Because I’m being indicted for you,” as he put it to a recent rally in Pennsylvania.
Real Marxists (as opposed to the ‘fascist Marxists’ who live rent-free in Donald Trump’s head) will understand that this Shakespearean comedy shows that the USA, the pre-eminent capitalist power of the last 80 years is dysfunctional and divided and is experiencing a deep, profound crisis. As in other nations, the success of right-wing populists reflects the difficulty that the ruling class has in persuading a majority of the population to support their social and economic programme of austerity, precarious employment, and the impoverishment of the majority, in order to enable the enrichment of a tiny minority.
In some European countries, this has resulted in the ruin of conservative and social democratic parties alike, something which has yet to play out completely in the US (or the UK). What could bring the curtain down on this show, though, is what the ruling classes of all countries fear the most – the entry of the organised working class onto the political scene. Already we have seen a taste of this with several big strikes in the US. In reality, the establishment Republicans and Democrats are no more attached to democracy than the insurrectionist Trump but they do fear that another round of a Trump presidency could provoke just such a development.