Divided States: Donald Trump’s Guilty Verdict

Assessing the political impact …

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A deeply divided United States grew even more polarized on Thursday evening when the verdict was read in former U.S. president Donald Trump’s trial for paying hush money to adult entertainer Stormy Daniels in 2016. 

Trump was convicted on all thirty-four (34) felony counts, thus becoming the first former U.S. president — and first major party presidential nominee — to ever be convicted of a criminal offense.

The verdict had the effect of tossing a toaster into a swimming pool, pushing an already highly charged political atmosphere to the brink of meltdown mode.  Public officials of all stripes raced to release statements on the decision. Their reactions largely followed party lines, as these two examples illustrate:

South Carolina attorney general Alan Wilson (R): “I believe these charges would never have been pursued against anyone not named Trump, which makes a mockery of the judicial systems and causes the public to doubt the integrity of all prosecutors.”

U.S. congressman James Clyburn (D): “The jury has spoken. Justice has prevailed.”



Therein lies the dividing line, because how someone views the verdict depends largely on his or her personal politics. Take a quick glance at reactions on social media, and the commentary delves into a tenor that typically sets the stage for Saturday night bar brawls.

You will find there, for instance, some Democrats mocking Trump with images of orange baboons while some Republicans are displaying the U.S. flag upside down – a sign of distress. 

Then there is the money game. Political pros know donations on both sides flow in like Niagara Falls in flood stage in the immediate aftermath of major breaking news. Thursday was no exception. Team Trump received such a tidal wave of online contributions the campaign’s website crashed shortly after the decision came in.

“The American people see through crooked Joe Biden’s rigged show trial,” it posted on X. “So many Americans were moved to donate to President Trump’s campaign that the WinRed pages went down.” 

According to the Republican Party – which fundraises jointly with Trump – it raised a staggering $34.8 million in less than day. A whopping 30 percent of contributors were first-time donors, too.

“Democrats will rue the day they unleashed a sleeping giant,” the party noted.

Joe Biden was likewise raking in the cash on Thursday evening – or at least trying to.

“There’s only one way to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office: At the ballot box,” Biden wrote on social media before adding a link to a fundraising page.

Biden was still shaking the bushes for contributions on Friday afternoon …



Democrats have not released their fundraising totals in the aftermath of the verdicts, although Trump referenced the party’s overall fundraising edge in his first post-verdict press conference.

“They have a lot of money on the other side,” he said. “I don’t know where they get it – nobody knows where they get it – but for some reason they get money.”

Meanwhile, official comment from the White House in the aftermath of the verdicts has been muted.

“We respect the rule of law and have no additional comment,” a presidential spokesperson said in an unusually terse statement.

What makes this restrained response so interesting is just days ago, there was talk the president would address the nation from the Oval Office after the verdict was returned. Those reports were likely a trial balloon to gauge how well Biden’s reaction delivered from that historic setting would be received by the American people. The fact no such address from “the Oval” — or anywhere else — was scheduled suggests the trial balloon likely went over like a lead balloon.


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Which brings us to the true wild card at stake here: Swing voters. Always important in any presidential election, they are indispensable in 2024. Because a Rocky Mountains-size pile of evidence is rapidly accumulating showing it will be they, and they alone, who will determine this November whether America gets Biden II or Trump II.

Pollsters will be hard at work all weekend trying to gauge the impact Trump’s conviction has on those coveted voters. The responses of Left and Right are of secondary importance; all Thursday’s decision did was make each side dig their heels in even deeper. Those who were against Trump before are really against him now, while those who were for Trump before are rooting for him even harder today.

Certainly the intensity of their passion matters (to the extent it translates into campaign fundraising which enables the candidates to target independent voters) … but the overwhelming majority of the elector made up its mind on Trump a long time ago.

That leaves only a handful of undecideds – who sway from one side to the other from election to election. How they view a convicted criminal at the top of a presidential ticket is no longer simply important; it’s now the only question that matters.



Mark Powell (Provided)

J. Mark Powell is an award-winning former TV journalist, government communications veteran, and a political consultant. He is also an author and an avid Civil War enthusiast. Got a tip or a story idea for Mark? Email him at mark@fitsnews.com.



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Observer (the real one) May 31, 2024 at 1:34 pm

As a convicted felon, Trump loses his 2A rights! Given his multiple attacks on our 2A rights, I say that sounds like poetic justice!

CongareeCatfish Top fan May 31, 2024 at 2:57 pm

God, I wish GOP voters had chosen DeSantis over Trump. I am reminded of this every single day.

RIP GQP May 31, 2024 at 3:32 pm

The nation is not divided when only barely a quarter of voters want it to be a thing.

MAGA fools have shit the bed so hard they are openly begging for a civil war to bailout their dumbassed failed movement.

Too bad. You only have another MASSIVE Blue Tsunami to look forward to in November, as MAGA morons lose even more elections.

Nanker Phelge May 31, 2024 at 10:13 pm

Attorney General Alan Wilson fluffing the mushroom shaped member of a convicted felon is shameful. But he has proven many times to be a shameless weasel.

Every Republican Senator who would not vote to convict Trump should be ashamed of themselves that 12 regular citizens did what they wouldn’t at their own peril as the MAGA goons will be tracking them down.

Whatever happened to the party of law and order? It’s now just the party of endlessly grasping for power by whatever means necessary. Disgusting.

River Top fan June 1, 2024 at 7:59 pm

President Trump has done all he can to save this country from destruction. Maybe God has decided to bring an end to America. The Bible tells us that sin and evil will increase the closer we get to the end times and it most certainly is.

President Trump can fight for America like he’s always done but if God wants to take America down then he will. We have been a very disobedient country towards the Lord.

Think about King Josiah, he lead the people of Judah back to God like no king since David. God had already judged the nation of Judah, and determined Judah would join Israel in exile. Then God took King Josiah home so he wouldn’t see the exile.

Either way I’m not worried because I know this all ends with our Lord Jesus coming back.

Some non believer will surely attack my view in the comments but one day will have to kneel and confess Jesus as lord.

lol June 2, 2024 at 2:08 pm

Good god, what a sad snowflake.

YOU choose to support a person the courts have found to be a rapist, a life long financial cheater/fraud and a breaker of election laws.

You equate trump finally getting held responsible with “god” wanting to destroy America?!?

How much more gullible and stupid can you get, my guy?

River Top fan June 2, 2024 at 7:34 pm

Praying for your eyes to open.

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VERITAS Top fan June 1, 2024 at 9:16 pm

“If they can do this to me, they can do this to anyone.” They already have done it … Jan. 6 PATRIOTS. Never forget.

lol June 2, 2024 at 11:56 am

Yes. Never forget how many thousands of MAGA morons are serving prison sentences for following that coward, trump. Now he finally gets to face some jail time for his multitude of crimes.



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