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The Political Fallout of Trump’s Indictment

What will GOP voters do?
March 31, 2023
The Indictment of My Dreams | Not My Party with Tim Miller

[Editor’s note: Watch Not My Party every week on Snapchat.]

Tim Miller: At long last, Johnny Law has come for Trump. But was the porn-star payoff the right charge?

Nelson Muntz (from The Simpsons): Please God, I need this.

Miller: This is “Not My Party,” brought to you by The Bulwark. The indictment of my dreams has come true.

Kara Scannell: A Manhattan grand jury has indicted former President Donald Trump.

David Muir: Making him the first former president in U.S. history to face criminal charges.

Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty): B-E-A-utiful.

Miller: A conman finally reached the “find-out” portion after decades of f*cking around.

Sterling Archer (from Archer): I see what you did there.

Miller: And yet there’s something about this news that is tempering my glee just a tad.

Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders on How I Met Your Mother): Oh God, what is it?

Miller: Dude’s rap sheet is a mile long. He stiffed regular Joe contractors, cheated on his taxes, assaulted women, peeping Tom’d on girls, obstructed justice when Russia interfered in our election, attempted a coup, is solely responsible for a deadly assault on our Capitol.

Moe Szyslak (from The Simpsons): That’s quite a list.

Miller: And after all that, the thing that nabbed him—

Blake Moran (Erich Bergen on Madam Secretary): So to speak.

Miller: —is Stormy?

Finn Mertens (from Adventure Time with Finn and Jake): That’s a little disappointing.

Miller: Here’s how we got here, for anyone whose memory of the details around l’affair Stormy is a little fuzzy.

Miller: It all started when Donald put his mushroom cock in Stormy while his third wife, Melania, was at home with their newborn child, Barron.

Renter of the Simpsons’ former apartment (from The Simpsons): Wow, just uh, wow.

Miller: When he decided to run for president, he had his bagman, Michael Cohen, pay Stormy off, so the details about their affair, and his little pecker, didn’t hurt the campaign.

Dina Fox (Lauren Ash on Superstore): You’re bad at sex and your penis is weird!

Miller: Then he lied about it on his tax forms and after he won on Air Force One.

Reporter: Do you know about $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?

Donald Trump: No.

Miller: Cohen has already been convicted for violating campaign finance law in making those payments.

Lila Pitts (Ritu Arya on The Umbrella Academy): Is he part of your little scapegoat plan?

Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart on Star Trek: The Next Generation): That’s correct.

Miller: Now [Alvin] Bragg is hitting Trump on a similar charge. After all, it was Trump, not Cohen, who benefited from the scheme.

Zorn (from Son of Zorn): Yeah, no, that seems more appropriate, doesn’t it?

Miller: So, I’m not saying I’m against this indictment and it’s definitely not some partisan “witch hunt.” John Edwards, a Democrat who ran for president in 2008, was indicted on strikingly similar charges, though he was acquitted when the jury reviewing the case was deadlocked. And by the way, that’s what I kind of expect would happen again.

Jeff Winger (Joel McHale on Community): Don’t ruin this.

Miller: Given that the stakes are so high—that a former president gets nabbed if he’s actually indicted—that’s why I was hoping the first one to drop would have a little bit more oomph. You know, a high crime worthy of his traitorous asininity.

Harvey Allen (Tim Blake Nelson in Fantastic Four): He deserves to be in jail.

Miller: In fact, there are five other ongoing investigations against Trump, beyond Stormy. One, over classified documents. Two, the insurrection. Three, pressuring the secretary of state to “find some votes” in Georgia. Four, tax fraud at the Trump Org. And five, a new SEC probe into Truth Social over some shady finance deals.

Cheryl Peterson (Aya Cash on Welcome to Flatch): You know, the usual, nothing major whatsoever.

Miller: All of those feel like they carry more weight than a seven-year-old case over a porn star payoff. So regardless of how the legal case plays out, the political fallout is immense and already underway.

Young Jack (Michael Self in Jack the Giant Slayer): This is my favorite part.

Miller: The big question is whether a Stormy indictment and the possibility of others, lead Republican primary voters to want to stand by their man, or whether it’s an excuse for them to turn their lonely eyes to a MAGA imitator without the bracelets. And as a result, this indictment drama has sped up the timeline for our tiny-D face off between Don and DeSantis.

Steve Smith (from American Dad): So it begins.

Miller: After the news of a possible indictment broke, DeSantis, for the first time, took a not-so-subtle shot at Trump.

Ron DeSantis: I don’t know what goes into paying hush-money to a porn star, to secure silence over some type of alleged affair. I can’t speak to that.

Penny Hofstadter (Kaley Cuoco on The Big Bang Theory): Ooh, burn!

Miller: On his fake Twitter, Trump accused DeSantis of being . . . maybe gay, and maybe a pedophile?

Francine Smith (from American Dad): Aren’t they the same thing?

Miller: And his trolls have been savage in demanding that DeSantis get in line and defend their man in the face of this indictment.

Steve Bannon: Governor DeSantis, you’re better than this. That was a weasel approach.

Miller: So the reality is, the relative weakness of this charge might be playing somewhat into Trump’s hands, politically, at least in the short term. The good news is, we all might get another chance to pop the Trump-in-cuffs champagne. So here’s hoping that Bragg is just the first one to the plate, and over time, the weight of all this law and order will be too much even for Trump to bear.

Wyatt Teller (Keith Carradine on The Big Bang Theory): I’ll drink to that.

Bunk Moreland (Wendell Pierce on The Wire): As many times as necessary.

Miller: See you next time for more, “Not My Party.”

Tim Miller

Tim Miller is The Bulwark’s writer-at-large and the author of the best-selling book Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell. He was previously political director for Republican Voters Against Trump and communications director for Jeb Bush 2016.