Political observers, even political obsessives, tend to view things in a binary fashion. Yes or no? Really important or totally insignificant?

The answers are never quite so cut and dried. So it is with Tuesday’s arraignment of former President Trump and what effect it may have on the 2024 presidential race. The reality is more complicated, or at least nuanced, than most want to hear.

It could help him secure the Republican nomination, while having little effect on the general election and hurting him less than many suspect.

Once filed, the charges against Trump could reveal particulars of the indictment that turn out to be surprises. Maybe the case is stronger than is generally considered, but on the face of what we know now, these are the flimsiest of the legal challenges, criminal and civil, facing Trump. That does give him ammunition when he says this is all political. One does wonder, if these facts were alleged against someone else, whether charges would even be contemplated.

My skepticism about the impact comes back to this question: Of all of the

More from the Cook Political Report

Polls
Free
CPR 2024 National Polling Average
Cook Politcal Logo