Here’s what you should know about Donald Trump’s conviction in his hush money trial

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Donald Trump is convicted of a crime. This is how it affects the 2024 presidential election

NEW YORK: Donald Trump has been convicted of 34 crimes and is banned from owning a weapon, holding public office, or even voting in many states.

But in 158 days, voters across America will decide whether he will return to the White House to serve another four years as the nation’s president.
Trump’s conviction in his New York hush money trial on Thursday is a stunning development in an already unorthodox presidential election with profound implications for the justice system and perhaps even for U.S. democracy itself.
But in a deeply divided America, it is unclear whether Trump’s status as a convicted criminal will have any impact on the 2024 election. Trump remains in a difficult position against President Joe Biden this fall, even though the former Republican president now faces prison time ahead of the November election.
There were signs, at least in the short term, that the unanimous guilty verdict helped unite the disparate factions of the Republican Party, with Republican officials in Congress and in state capitals across the country rallying behind their presumptive presidential nominee as his campaign anticipated a flood of new donations.
Outside the courtroom, Trump described the verdict as the result of a “rigged, disgraceful process.”
“The real verdict will be made by the people on November 5,” Trump said, referring to Election Day. “This is far from over.”
The immediate reaction of the elected Democrats was muted in comparison, although the Biden team launched a fundraising appeal a few minutes after the verdict, suggesting that nothing had changed in the fundamentals of the election.
“We are THRILLED that justice has finally been served,” the campaign wrote. “But this convicted criminal can STILL win back the presidency this fall without a huge boost in Democrat support.”
Strategists predict muted effects
Some surveys have been conducted on the impact of a guilty verdict, but such hypothetical scenarios are notoriously difficult to predict.
According to a recent ABC News/Ipsos poll, only 4 percent of Trump’s supporters would withdraw their support if he were convicted of a crime, but another 16 percent said they would reconsider.
On the eve of the verdict, the Trump campaign released a memo from its polling team saying that the impact of the trial had “already been factored into the campaign in the target states.”
Trump campaign advisers argued the case would help them energize their core supporters. WinRed, the platform the campaign uses to raise funds, received so many donations that it collapsed. Advisers quickly worked to set up a replacement platform to collect the incoming money.
Trump traveled to a fundraiser planned before the verdict on Thursday evening, said a person familiar with his plans who was not authorized to speak publicly.
His two most senior campaign advisers, Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita, were not with him in New York but in Palm Beach, Florida, where the campaign is headquartered.
While it may be days or weeks before any certainty is known, Trump’s critics in both parties largely agree that the political fallout is unlikely to be major, although some hope that the convictions will have at least a small impact on what is likely to be a close election.
Sarah Longwell, founder of Republican Voters Against Trump, which regularly conducts focus groups, said the guilty verdict could help Biden win the majority by pushing so-called “double haters” – a term that describes voters who dislike both Trump and Biden – away from Trump.
Above all, she suspected that voters simply had not followed the process very closely.
“The best thing about the end of the trial is that it’s over,” Longwell said, describing the courtroom proceedings as a distraction from more serious issues in the campaign. “Now there’s an opportunity to focus the narrative on who Trump is and what a second Trump term would look like.”
Republican pollster Neil Newhouse predicted that the trial may ultimately have little impact given the rapid pace of news and the fact that there are still several months before polls open.
“Voters have short memories and even shorter attention spans,” Newhouse said. “Just as the two impeachments of former President Trump barely dented support, this conviction could be overshadowed by the first presidential debate in three weeks.”
A plan for the election campaign after the verdict
The judge scheduled sentencing for July 11, just four days before the scheduled start of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee.
Each of the charges of falsifying business records carries a sentence of up to four years in prison, but prosecutors have not said whether they are seeking a prison sentence. Nor is it clear whether the judge – who had previously threatened prison for violations of the news ban during the trial – would impose that sentence if asked.
Unless Trump is in prison on Election Day, he will be allowed to vote in Florida, where he has resided since 2019.
And a prison sentence would not stop Trump from continuing his quest for the White House.
Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump, who accompanied the former president in court this week and also serves as co-chair of the Republican National Committee, said in an interview with Fox News Channel before the verdict that if convicted, Trump would continue to try to campaign for the presidency.
If Trump is sentenced to house arrest, she said, “We will let him participate in virtual rallies and campaign events in that case. And we have to play with the cards we are dealt.”
There are currently no campaign events listed on the calendar, but Trump is expected to hold fundraisers next week.
Biden himself has not yet commented.
He spent the night at his family’s beach house in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, after attending church earlier that day to commemorate the anniversary of his son Beau’s death.
Voters grapple with the verdict
Texas voter Steven Guarner, a 24-year-old nurse, said he is undecided about who he will vote for in the upcoming election.
Guarner, an independent, said the ruling would be a deciding factor for him once he studied the details of the trial, but he did not believe it would sway the many voters who have already decided on the Biden-Trump rematch.
“I think his base is the kind that maybe doesn’t care so much about the court system or agrees with him on it,” Guarner said of Trump.
In fact, Republican politicians from Florida to Wisconsin to Arkansas and Illinois condemned the verdict as a miscarriage of justice that they said was caused by a politically motivated prosecutor and a Democratic jury.
Brian Schimming, chairman of the executive committee of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, called the proceedings against Trump a “farce” and a “national embarrassment.”
“There was no justice in New York today,” Schimming accused.
And Michael Perez Ruiz, a 47-year-old who was ordering food shortly after the verdict at Miami’s Versailles restaurant, an icon of the city’s Republican-leaning Cuban-American community, said he would continue to stand behind Trump.
“I would vote for him 20 times,” said Perez Ruiz.

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