Professor of International Politics comments on the fourth set of charges brought against former president of the United States.

By Hamish Armstrong (Senior Communications Officer), Published

Donald Trump has been formally charged with attempting to overturn the result of the 2020 US presidential election, relating to his defeat in the state of Georgia.

It is the fourth such set of charges Mr Trump has faced this year, following alleged payments made to adult actress Stormy Daniels, mishandling of classified documents and inciting riots which took place on the Capitol on 6th January 2021.

Mr Trump, alongside 18 co-defendants, is accused of asking Georgia officials to ‘find’ extra votes that would have given him victory in what turned out to be a key state in deciding President Joe Biden’s eventual win.

Inderjeet Parmar, Professor of International Politics at City, University of London, and author of and author of 'The Trump administration, the far-right and world politics,’ and ‘Trump’s coup and insurrection', underlined the severity of the latest charges and what they may mean to Mr Trump’s chances of being re-elected in 2024.

“Alongside the charges related to inciting the 6 January Capitol riots, this ranks among the most serious,” he said.

“The main focus on this occasion is Trump’s effort to present fake “electors” to Congress to certify a win for him even though Georgia’s voters had actually voted by a narrow margin for democrat Joe Biden.

If the charges are proven it could lead to Trump’s imprisonment, never mind disqualification from the 2024 presidential race.

“He would not be able pardon himself at state level if elected, nor just appoint a new Attorney General to undo the convictions. It is unprecedented at this level of United States politics. In addition, charges of criminal racketeering are very serious indeed.”

Political consequences

Having dismissed all charges against him thus far as an attack by democrats to prevent him from running for election in 2024, Trump maintains a fairly strong core of support. Professor Parmar believes there are a number of permutations for a guilty verdict on the outcome of next year’s election.

“Trump will deny everything as ever, but the possible damage to his reputation is two-pronged at the very least,” he continued.

“Firstly, independent voters will listen keenly to evidence in court and hear the full factual details given as evidence, as opposed to information warfare.

“Secondly, it may empower his main Grand Old Party (GOP) rivals for the nomination, as its frontrunner becomes embroiled, distracted and further exposed.

“I suspect Ron DeSantis (Donald Trump’s counterpart for the Republican nomination) will be the main beneficiary of this, but it may well instead deter GOP voters – a third of whom believe Trump lost the 2020 election – and encourage them to vote against him or stay at home.

“The remaining solid core of two-thirds of Trump voters are likely to remain convinced that it is a witch hunt. However, the effect of televising the court cases, if that happens, may well have an important effect, especially among those who watch live as opposed to edited excerpts produced via pro-Trump media outlets.

Unrest on the horizon?

Whatever the outcome of the charges brought against Mr Trump, Professor Parmar believes trust in electoral processes is at stake for an entire country, and risks creating further polarisation.

The big picture is that the United States is hurtling towards high levels of political violence and threats of violence becoming endemic – especially from Trump himself as well as his most vociferous Republican elected representatives.

“The 2024 election and counting of votes therein could be in jeopardy. Electoral processes, campaigns and actual counting and legitimacy of votes have all been cast into doubt. “

All quotes can be attributed to Inderjeet Parmar, Professor of International Politics at City, University of London.