THE "Teflon Don" isn’t quite so Teflon these days. To the many epithets which laurel him – 45th President of the United States, low-rent reality TV celebrity, shyster, liar, world champion narcissist, clunking hazard to all that’s good in the world – Donald Trump can now officially add "sexual predator".

Fate is catching up with Trump. A New York civil trial jury has found Trump sexually abused the writer E Jean Carroll, and defamed her by branding her accusations “a lie”. Price tag: $5 million. The jury didn’t go as far as agreeing that the sexual abuse was rape.

Trump has a flotilla of legal nightmares ahead. And long may they give him sleepless nights. Among the investigations is the inquiry into his alleged removal of secret government documents, and also his role in the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol Building. He faces possible jail time if convicted in another investigation into alleged election meddling in Georgia.

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And, of course, there’s the infamous Stormy Daniels case. A grand jury voted to indict Trump in relation to the $130,000 paid in hush money to the adult movie star. Daniels has become quite the social media celebrity with her merciless gift for mocking Trump with the most gruesomely intimate details imaginable as a consequence of their … what would one call it politely … "dalliance"?

The business practices of his family company, The Trump Organisation, are also being examined by prosecutors. A civil investigation is looking at various acts of fraud. A criminal investigation is engaged in a similar process.

It’s easier to follow the gyrations of a race-track tic-tac man giving the odds on the 4.40 at Chepstow than the flurry of litigation around His Orangeness.

One matter is sure, though: from now on, until he dies, until history books cease to be written, Trump can be legally defined as a sexual predator. Amid the alt-right outrage and the liberal glee, it’s important to remember that more than a dozen women have accused Trump of sexual assault. His predatory behaviour was one of the sparks which lit the MeToo fuse. This case matters in terms of assuring women in America – and hopefully around the western world – that nobody is above the law when it comes to sexually-predatory behaviour.

The hard right in America – and around the rest of the world – are making grand statements that Trump can still defy political gravity, that scandal slides off him like grease from a hot skillet. Jacob Rees-Mogg has been doing his best to frame the fall-out from the Carroll case in a way that’s sympathetic to Trump, on the joke channel GB News. That’s "joke" as in "sick joke". Maybe once Trump could flout political reality unlike others. But that time is long gone.

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It’s not so much that Trump is Teflon, it’s that his base is so deep down the rabbit hole he dug for them that they’ll accept and believe anything. Trump has debased his base to such an extent that it will even praise and genuflect before him when he’s shamed in court as a sexual predator. They believe nothing but their master’s lies. Unfortunately for Trump, though, nobody can win elections depending upon their base alone. And his base is all that Trump has left.

Trump won in 2016 by harnessing the understandable anger of a huge swathe of blue-collar America thrown onto the scrap heap by consecutive Democrat and Republican governments. Joblessness, drugs, crime, despair. They’d nothing left. Trump promised change; they gave him a chance. Riding in their wake, evidently, came the racists, misogynists, outright Nazis and demented Christian culture warriors who rather fancy larping some live-action version of The Handmaid’s Tale. But it was ordinary working people, not Trump’s base, which put him in Washington.

Biden isn’t doing too badly – or at least trying to do not too badly – by American workers with his Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act worth around £1.2 trillion. And those floating voters who gave Trump a chance as they were hopeless in 2016, abandoned him in 2020. Biden took 81 million votes to Trump’s 74 million. Trump’s endorsement actively damaged Republicans who supported him when they stood at the 2022 midterms. Trump is now a reverse King Midas. Everything he touches rots.

His performance in a filmed deposition for the Carroll case will do him lasting, irreparable damage among any Republican but the most partisan Maga-drunk extremist. Trump refused to testify but in video submitted to the trial, doubled down on his infamous ‘p***y-grabbing’ comments, saying: “Historically, that’s true with stars … if you look over the last million years that’s been largely true … unfortunately, or fortunately.” Trump had disparaged Carroll, saying he wouldn’t have raped her because she wasn’t his “type”. In his filmed deposition, he decided to tell Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan: “You wouldn’t be my choice either.” What a guy.

Democrats should be hoping Trump does indeed win the Republican nomination for the next presidential race. Wherever he goes, whatever he does, his opponents can simply turn to him and say "You’re a sexual predator". They don’t need to debate. They just need to goad him until he implodes.

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Sure, Biden is old, but so is Trump. If Biden were up against some young Republican culture warrior like Ron DeSantis, the Florida Governor engaged in a Don Quixote-esque medieval crusade against imaginary "woke" demons, then Democrats should worry. But against Trump? C’mon. His days of surprising the world and defying the odds are over. The middle layer of middle America which decides elections is done with Trump. They’re done with drama. In the age of perma-crisis, they want hope, stability and calm leadership. Yes, it would help if that leader wasn’t as old as Methuselah, but when you’re comparing "old and pretty decent" to "old and loathsome", it’s relatively clear how the chips will fall.

Trump was once a mirage, impossible to pin down, slippery, a lord of misrule who created such a conveyor belt of chaos that journalism couldn’t keep up with him. That paved his way to power. Today, Trump is more likely to end up in the Big House – as American’s call their federal penitentiaries – than the White House.