‘It’s a bad day for America’: Voters divided over Trump verdict

  • Author, Sam Cabral and Ana Faguy
  • Role, BBC News

Donald Trump is the first current or former US president to be convicted of a crime. But what will his conviction mean for the elections?

Opinion polls suggest that could change the minds of some voters, ahead of a tight race with President Joe Biden next November.

The BBC spoke to independent voters as well as some Republicans who told us they had doubts about supporting Trump.

After Thursday’s historic verdict, we asked them if his conviction would influence their vote. We begin with a voter clearly distressed by his choice.

The lifelong Republican voted hesitantly for Mr. Trump in 2016 and 2020, but Thursday’s verdict was a defining moment… ultimately.

I’m not a big fan of Trump and I’m not a lawyer, but from what I was reading, this case seemed very clumsy to me. I feel like the jury was led to a foregone conclusion. And I think this judge was biased. What struck me was how they really surrounded Donald Trump, keeping him under wraps with orders of silence.

Being under a cloud of legal ambiguity, and now with his conviction, I don’t see how [Trump] can move forward. But the alternative for voters is Joe Biden, and that’s simply not an acceptable alternative to me or others.

I was leaning toward Trump and will probably end up supporting him again. Given Biden’s policies and the way he behaves, I don’t think he has the stamina or the ability to do this job for very long. The border was wide open. The economy just stinks.

I think Trump will be vindictive. It’s a bad day for America. We have crossed the Rubicon. If he wins, I think he’ll start punishing people.

[Jim called back 10 minutes later]

There is no way I can support a convicted felon as president. Trump will have to appeal and win for this to change. But I’m definitely not voting for Biden.

Deanna is an independent-minded Republican who does not support Mr. Trump’s false claims of election fraud.

This trial was politically motivated. I think this became evident when the accusations were made against Trump. The timing seemed intrusive to the election and I believe the judge showed bias throughout the election.

There was enough evidence to convince the jury and certainly no one is above the law, but we have a biased system. Looking at how [the investigations into how] Confidential White House documents were handled by both Biden and Trump, showing Americans that the arm of justice wraps around a shoulder like a friend to some.

Nothing about this matter influenced my vote for next November’s elections. I’m Team Kennedy [independent candidate Robert Kennedy Jr] in 2024 because I’m tired of voting for the lesser of two evils. Americans must be forced to vote for no evil until we obtain worthy candidates for our highest office.

The dual British and American citizen voted for Mr Trump in 2016 to “shake things up a bit”, but turned against him in 2020.

I’m quite stunned that this happened. My wife is in New York, she said she went out and everyone was cheering like at the World Cup.

I was surprised because when Cohen was on the stand, it looked like he was tearing up. I thought there wasn’t enough evidence based on the fact that your key witness is a convicted liar. So I thought that if there was no doubt, he would not be convicted.

I’m not saying he didn’t get a fair trial, but the venue had a huge impact. In other parts of the United States, this case would not have gone to trial. It was a demonstration of the deep polarization in this country between Democrats and Republicans. They are so far from everything.

Honestly, I still think Trump will win in November. I don’t know if this verdict made a difference. You are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. What a choice: between a president who is clearly too old to hold the most powerful office in the world and a guy who is a convicted criminal.

For me, I don’t know… I don’t think I’ll vote.

Cat left the Republican Party last year but remains strongly attached to its leader.

Trump, a man who runs a multibillion-dollar business, was convicted because of the manner in which a payment was made to his private lawyer. This was made possible by testimony from such unreliable sources as Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels.

Cohen stole thousands of dollars from his employer, lied to Congress, and in this case, I believe he lied on the witness stand. Daniels changed his story, not once but several times.

Today marks a new low point in the United States. This trial not only made a mockery of our justice system, it showed that we no longer have a fair electoral system when we allow politicians to attack political opponents in a sham of trial involving a Democratic-leaning judge.

This decision made me want to vote for [Trump even more] In November, because if the left-wing elite have put this much effort into trying to thwart his candidacy for president, and the Republican ruling elite is barely supporting him, then those two things tell me he’s probably the best candidate for us, ordinary people.

Paul calls himself a “common sense centrist” and is still looking for the right candidate to support next November.

This verdict is a landmark in American history. This shows that no one is above the law, regardless of their status or influence.

The trial followed due process. The jury made a unanimous decision. The legal process was thorough and impartial. This is exactly how it should work.

But in hindsight, while accountability is crucial, the timing and nature of these accusations appear to be aligned with broader political agendas. People who don’t agree with the verdict don’t believe in the justice system. This is a path that many Trump supporters will take.

At this point, Trump is the cause of most of the divisions in America. Its support base is strengthening and pushing the left even further to the left. The gap therefore only widens and it becomes more and more frightening to grow up there.

This verdict does not change my vote, but strengthens my desire to vote. The importance of participating in the democratic process is highlighted at times like these.

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