The popularity of Donald Trump among Republican voters tells something about their naivety before a presidential candidate who wants the president to enjoy “total immunity” against criminal prosecution. How can we explain that what was the party of law and order closes ranks behind a guy facing 91 criminal charges in four different trials, even admitting that some of the charges are questionable? Perhaps a reflection by 54-year-old Jocelyn Kanan, a New Hampshire fan of Trump who works for an industrial building company, points to one of the factors at play (quoted from “Trump’s Legal Woes Splinter GOP Unity,” Wall Street Journal, January 21, 2024):

“All of us at some point we did something. Nobody is an angel,” Kanan said.

In the United States 8% of adults have a felony conviction, that is, are felons for life (except for expungements, which depend on state laws and have many exceptions). This 8% is composed of 23% in the black population and 6% among the non-blacks. More than 1 American adult on 12 you meet in the street is a convicted felon. Moreover, one-half of black males have been arrested at least once before they reached adulthood, and 39% of white males too. (Sarah K. Shannon et al., “The Growth, Scope, and Spatial Distribution of People With Felony Records in the United States, 1948-2010,” Demography, vol. 54 [2017]. The data are for 2010.)

Not “all of us” but very many “at some point we did something” very bad according to some law. This is due to the criminalization of so many actions by so many laws. Some of those who “did something” are husbands or sons but also wives or daughters of other people, which adds up to lots of individuals. Many ordinary individuals have been continuously bullied by the powers in place. Who would be surprised that so many people are furious with the system? Significantly, Mr. Trump does not advocate against the criminalization of minor youth errors and trifles of ordinary people; he wants “total immunity” for himself.