From Demanding the Execution of Black Children to Convicted Felon—What’s Next for Donald Trump?

The fight to protect the country from the twice-impeached, convicted felon is far from over.

Let’s rewind to May 1989. Five Black children were wrongfully accused of assaulting a white woman in New York City’s Central Park. Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise were thrust into a nightmare. As the media vilified these children, Donald Trump, one of the most powerful men in New York City at the time, saw an opportunity to fan the flames of hysteria. Exactly thirty-five years ago this month, Trump spent $85,000 on ads in The New York Times, The Daily News, The New York Post, and New York Newsday, demanding their execution. All five children were wrongfully convicted. Their convictions were vacated by 2002, and twelve years later, they settled their civil case for $41 million.

Fast forward to 2019, and Trump still refused to apologize for his relentless attack on these innocent Black children. Now, on May 30, 2024, exactly 35 years after calling for their deaths, Trump himself is a convicted felon, found guilty on all 34 felony counts for falsifying business records to cover up a hush-money payment to a porn star. Despite whining that the trial was rigged, the twice-impeached president was convicted by a diverse, impartial jury of twelve with overwhelming evidence that included his own words on audio. Donald Trump, 77, is the first president in U.S. history to be convicted of a crime.

It’s poetic justice that 35 years later, the tables have turned on Trump, who once bragged he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue without losing support. Teflon Don is unraveling like a low-budget mob boss, but the saga isn’t over. Clinging to the hope of being reelected President of the United States is his last desperate attempt to dodge accountability.

Donald Trump Found Guilty On All Counts

Will The GOP Still Nominate Trump?

Donald Trump is scheduled to be sentenced on July 11, and just four days later, on July 15, the Republican National Convention will convene, where the convicted felon is expected to be nominated. This situation raises a critical question: Will the Republican Party still nominate Trump? Yes. 

As stipulated by the party’s official convention rules, any delegate who attempts to back a candidate other than the one determined by the primary results “shall not be recognized.” The Republican Party has traditionally positioned itself as the party of law and order, but now its leader is a convicted felon. Deeply entrenched in the Trump cult, its unwavering support of Trump over the country underscores the longtime downward spiral of the GOP. Then there are his cult-like followers. Trump’s campaign donor site crashed after the guilty verdict was announced. 

Will Trump Get Jail Time?

The question of whether Trump will face jail time is swamped with implications of privilege and double standards. For a first-time, non-violent offender on an ordinary records case, arguably, the conviction would not result in jail time. However, Trump has violated the gag order ten times, claimed the trial was “rigged,” denigrated the court, has shown no remorse, and has taken zero accountability. Due to those antics, more than likely, anyone else would serve time, but it’s doubtful if Trump will be treated like “anyone else.” There is also the serious threat of the conservative U.S. Supreme Court considering Trump's claim of immunity from prosecution.

This uncertainty underscores a broader debate about accountability and the extent to which powerful individuals can act with impunity. Trump starkly contrasts the consequences faced by less influential people – even other celebrities. Wesley Snipes served 28 months in prison, even after apologizing, for misdemeanor charges of willful failure to file federal income tax returns. Trump’s charges are much more serious than Snipes’.

It’s Up To The People

The fate of Trump's political future lies in the hands of the American people. Political analysts are looking directly at the Black community. Why? In the 2020 election, Trump's Republican Party launched an assault on Black voters, reportedly attempting to invalidate our votes in key cities like Philadelphia and Atlanta, which helped to swing the electoral college. Given that Black voters often hold the sway in battleground states, it's imperative not to be swayed by false equivalences propagated by pundits. Beware of the imaginary and consistently inaccurate polls to flood the news cycle. Polls do not vote; people vote. 

Trump's Republican Party, devoid of any coherent ideology beyond catering to his whims, has resorted to divisive tactics, exploiting immigration and transgender issues in a bid to sow discord. They are banning books, suing a grant program for Black women, proclaiming April Confederate Heritage Month in Mississippi, and using “DEI” hysteria to cut jobs. They've shamelessly deployed their handful of Black figures, from Florida Representative Byron Donalds and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, within their ranks to defend Trump. Yet, their hollow gestures fail to mask their lack of substantive policies benefiting Black communities, like reducing Black voters to indictments and mugshots.

On the other side, we have President Joe Biden, who is not perfect, but no president is. He has an incredible record that includes appointing more Black judges than any president in history, record-low Black unemployment, $16 billion to HBCUs, executive orders on racial justice, investment in Black maternal health, and repairing the country after the atrocious handling of the COVID pandemic. Biden’s administration is the opposite of the unpatriotic Trump and his Republican minions – and he is not a convicted felon. Imagine if Barack Obama was convicted of one felony count. There wouldn’t be a debate; Obama's political career would be finished.

On Election Day, November 5, in the name of the Exonerated Five, voters who nearly had their voices overturned in 2020 and the arrogance of crimes in plain sight, let’s finish Donald Trump. As Yusef Salaam, one of the now Exonerated Five and currently serving as a member of New York City's 9th City Council district, said in a statement, “On January 7th, a large majority of Americans agreed that Trump should never again lead this country. Let us hope we wake up tomorrow with the same conviction.  We have to do better than this.  Because we are better than this.”

Clay Cane is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Grift: The Downward Spiral of Black Republicans From the Party of Lincoln to the Cult of Trump.

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