/ 03 June 2024

Taking American voters into uncharted waters

Image source: Flickr
Image source: Flickr

The Squiz 

We commend you for your excellent news-deflecting abilities if this is the first time you’re hearing that former US President Donald Trump was found guilty of all 34 charges in his ‘hush money’ trial on Friday… After deliberating for a day and a half, the jury found in favour of New York prosecutors who went after the property mogul/Republican firebrand for falsifying business records. It’s the first of 4 criminal cases that have been brought against Trump and relates to the reimbursement of hush money paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels to cover up a sex scandal during his 2016 presidential campaign. 

Is this a big deal? 

The verdict is history-making. Never before has an American president – past or present – been found guilty of a crime. And never before has a person convicted of a crime been a presumptive major-party presidential candidate. So Trump – the former/hopeful future leader of the most powerful nation in the world – has squared away a remarkable twofer with Friday’s guilty verdict… Addressing the media on Saturday, Trump – while still under a gag order – blamed President Joe Biden and the Democrats for the “scam” trial. That saw Biden push back: “It’s reckless, it’s dangerous, it’s irresponsible for anyone to say this was rigged just because they don’t like the verdict,” he said. 

So what does it mean for the election? 

The top line is Trump is not prohibited from running for president because he has a criminal conviction. He could even win the top job on 5 November and be inaugurated early next year from jail if it comes to that. Whether that’s what a majority of American voters want is another question… The pundits are predicting another close race between Biden and Trump, so there’s a raging debate going on about how Friday’s verdict might affect the result, if at all. There’s also more legal wrangling to come in this case, with Trump confirming he will appeal the verdict… In the meantime, there are some dates for your news diary – Trump is slated to be sentenced on 11 July, just a few days before he’s set to be confirmed as the Republican’s presidential candidate at the party’s national convention. So strap yourself in, it’s going to be quite a ride… 

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