Why ‘Hush Money’ Verdict May Strengthen Trump’s Campaign

The former president continues to benefit from a crucial political insight

Pablo Andreu
4 min readMay 30, 2024
Via Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Throughout Donald Trump’s “hush money” trial, one thing remained clear: Trump’s popularity has not dimmed.

The guilty verdict may even bolster the former president’s campaign. In the eyes of his rabid acolytes, Trump’s legal troubles paint a picture of a political martyr and reveal the pervasive rot of a corrupt legal system that operates as an extension of the political establishment he vowed to dismantle during his 2016 presidential bid. The more he is persecuted, the more he is lionized.

There is no other politician on the left or the right that enjoys this hagiographic treatment. It’s curious how someone with such a checkered past littered with actions that run counter to the purported values of his political base (to wit: a twice-divorced man who, it cannot be denied, ran afoul of matrimonial obligations by consorting with sex workers) gets away with stumping for Christian family values.

One might be tempted to dismiss Trump supporters as a cult, but casting such an aspersion fails to illuminate what the divisive figure uncovered about American political theater. Trump won by playing to win, unlike his political rivals who, taking cues from…