Former President Donald Trump’s 2024 White House campaign now enters unknown territory: Voter reaction to the first major party nominee to be convicted of crimes....READ THE FULL ARTICLE FROM THE SOURCE

Trump must now convince Americans he deserves a second term even after a New York jury found him guilty of all 34 felony counts tied to falsifying business records as part of a plan to influence the 2016 presidential election.

While the challenge is unprecedented, Trump’s approach is very familiar: Attack the legal system.

“This was a rigged decision, right from day one,” Trump told reporters at the courthouse on Thursday less than an hour after being found guilty and echoing past comments the Republican has made designed to brace voters for the possibility of a guilty verdict.

Expect that effort to continue now that a jury has found the former president guilty, while supporters of President Joe Biden will likely argue that the unprecedented verdict proves Trump is unfit for another four-year term.

On point, the Trump campaign sent out a series of fundraising solicitations within minutes of the verdict. “I am a political prisoner!” he told potential donors.

More rallies, more fundraisers

So what comes after Trump’s historic conviction?

Sentencing will come on July 11, just four days before the start of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee where Trump is set to accept the GOP presidential nomination.

Don’t expect that looming decision to stop the former president and his campaign from holding rallies and fundraisers, giving him more chances to argue that the judge and prosecutors played politics in pursuing the hush money case against him.

Trump will also be preparing for a couple of important events. There’s a June 27 debate with Biden hosted by CNN in Atlanta, as well as the decision on selecting a running mate. The former president has said he will probably announce his pick at the Republican convention, scheduled for July 15-18 in Milwaukee.

In the meantime, pollsters associated with Trump and Biden will pore over data to assess how voters react to the first-ever conviction of a former president and current presidential candidate.

One thing Trump likely won’t have to worry about anytime soon: Prison. He plans to appeal the verdict, and that process could drag out for years.

Target: Independents

The coming campaign will be directed at a relatively small number of voters: Independents who are on the fence between Trump and Biden.

Campaign officials and independent pollsters have said for months that the verdict will have no impact on Trump partisans; nor will it affect solid Biden voters.

Everybody else? No one really knows how they will react to a convicted felon running for president. After all, it’s never happened.

But even a small percentage turning away from Trump could make a difference in tightly contested battleground states like Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

At the same time, Trump has suggested that even a guilty verdict could help him because “the people of the country see this as a rigged deal.”

It’s a pitch that still has to play out, but the trial itself does not seem to have hurt Trump much. The former president is leading Biden slightly in many polls nationwide and in battleground states, although most of those leads are within margins of error.

During the six-week trial, Trump was able to campaign and do fundraisers on Wednesday, the court’s off-day, and on weekends. Now look for him to work on the campaign just about every day of the week. That starts with a press conference Trump is planning for Friday at his namesake tower in midtown Manhattan.

The Biden campaign also enters a new phase

Trump will also have to contend with a more aggressive Biden campaign, which is relishing the idea of running against the former president following a conviction.

During the trial, Biden officials said they don’t plan to focus exclusively on the guilty verdict, but the full panoply of allegations against Trump.

The former president has been indicted in three other criminal cases, including two accusing him of trying to steal the 2020 race for the White House. In civil court actions, Trump has been found liable for bank fraud and sexual abuse.

Michael Tyler, the Biden campaign’s communications director, said the Trump guilty verdict proves that “no one is above the law,” but the election will be decided on issues like the former president’s threat to be a “dictator on day one” and his willingness to promote authoritarianism and violence.

“There is still only one way to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office: at the ballot box,” Tyler said. “Convicted felon or not, Trump will be the Republican nominee for president. The threat Trump poses to our democracy has never been greater.”

One thing is clear: Trump and Biden’s post-conviction playbooks will be put to the test this summer as the candidates both seek a second term.

Sarah Longwell, who as founder of the organization Republican Voters Against Trump has conducted many focus groups, predicted that the verdict “won’t be a public opinion earthquake.” But she said it could still be significant.

“In an election where inches will matter,” she said, “this just created a new barrier for undecided swing voters: voting for a convicted felon.”

More trials? Who knows?

Another unknown is whether Trump will face another trial before Election Day on Nov. 5.

The former president is facing federal criminal charges in Washington accusing him of trying to steal the 2020 election from Biden. But that trial was delayed when the Supreme Court agreed to hear Trump’s claim that he should be immune from prosecution for presidential actions.

The court is expected to rule around the start of July, and a decision against Trump could mean a trial before Election Day – perhaps in the middle of the fall campaign season.

A favorable Trump ruling would almost certainly push the trial past Election Day.

There are also no trial dates scheduled for Trump in the South Florida federal case over allegations the former president mishandled classified information and obstructed justice and the one in Georgia over his attempts targeting the 2020 election results in the Peach State….CONTINUE READING THE FULL ARTICLE>>>


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