Donald Trump, Guilty, Verdict
Photo Credit: Jon Richards / WhoWhatWhy

Former President Donald Trump is now a convicted felon.

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As everyone but the most fanatical hermit knows, Donald Trump is now a convicted felon. 

The quick facts: A New York jury found him guilty on Thursday of falsifying business records to conceal an affair with a porn star ahead of the 2016 election. Normally a misdemeanor, what made these offenses felonies is that they were committed in the furtherance of another crime — in this case, a campaign finance violation.

Effectively, Trump wanted to pay adult film actress Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about their trysts to boost his chances of winning the presidency. And he faked the paperwork so he didn’t have to report it as a campaign expenditure.

While that ploy worked, the bill for it has now come due nearly eight years later.

Obviously, the verdict is going to be appealed, but the most important question right now is: Will it matter?

Not to MAGA Republicans. If anything, expect Trump to break fundraising records in the next couple of days — as his supporters put their bucks behind his claims of being the victim of “election interference.”

Within seconds of the verdict, GOP lawmakers took to social media to express their outrage. There is not a single voice among them (i.e., among those who had not previously been critical of Trump) who now said, “Well, let’s find a nominee who is not a felon.”

Among his base, the likely outcome of the verdict will be that they will back the former president even more fervently… One hopes that support is entirely peaceful, though nothing should be ruled out right now.

However, what about those conservative suburban moms who have been voting for former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley in the GOP primaries… even long after she dropped out?

And what about the few voters who are genuinely on the fence?

It is hard to see how a guilty verdict helps Trump with them, especially because his behavior during the trial has been so grossly inappropriate and outrageous. 

Whether it was his demeanor in the courtroom, his social media posts denigrating the judge (and his family), or the parade of Republicans bending the knee outside of the courthouse, it set new standards for unpresidential conduct. 

And while this thuggish behavior has always worked for Trump in the past, this jury of 12 New Yorkers could not be bullied.

Let’s not forget that their willingness to convict the former president is an incredible act of courage.

Had they found him innocent, they most likely would not have faced a firestorm of anger on left-leaning news outlets, or threats from enraged supporters of President Joe Biden.

However, that is what now awaits them when they get home. Fox News and the entire right-wing propaganda machine will relentlessly go after them and — like so many judges, lawmakers, potential witnesses, and Republicans who have dared criticize Trump — they must have known that they would be threatened (or worse) for standing up to the lawlessness of the former president.

Next week’s polling should give an indication of how American voters are processing this historic development. If it fails to move the needle, democracy itself may be in for a rough ride.

Cartoon by Jon Richards, text by WhoWhatWhy Staff.


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