Crowing about the Trump verdict will only hurt Biden – populists thrive on claims of persecution | Simon Jenkins

Crowing about the Trump verdict will only hurt Biden – populists thrive on claims of persecution | Simon Jenkins

The more the political establishment damns the ex-president, the more those outside its reach are drawn to him

“Guilty”, screamed the one-word headline in the New York Times last week, dripping with undisguised glee. Howls of contempt descended on Donald Trump as he slunk from his Manhattan courtroom to cries of “felon”. He now awaits sentence and three more criminal trials, two of them over his response to his 2020 election defeat.

Ecstasy is a dangerous substance in politics. Trump’s enemies should be careful what they wish for. Within 24 hours of his leaving court, $39m reportedly poured into his campaign coffers. Though some Republicans seemed hesitant, an Ipsos poll for Reuters showed voting intention tilting in his favour. As with his victory in 2016, the more the political establishment damns him, the more those outside its reach are drawn to him.

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