‘Twice I backed Trump but no more’ – voters split on verdict

‘Twice I backed Trump but no more’ – voters split on verdict

Just nowSam Cabral and Ana Faguy,BBC NewsBBC

Donald Trump is the first former or serving US president to be found guilty of a crime – but what will his conviction mean for the election?

Opinion polls have suggested it could change the minds of some voters, ahead of a tight race with President Joe Biden this November.

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

After Thursday’s historic verdict, we asked them if his conviction will sway how they vote. We start with a voter clearly agonising over his choice.

This lifelong Republican cast hesitant votes for Mr Trump in 2016 and 2020, but Thursday’s verdict was a defining moment…eventually.

I’m not a big Trump fan and I’m not a lawyer, but – based on what I was reading – this seemed like a very clumsy case. I feel like the jury was led to a foregone conclusion. And I do think this judge had a bias. What stood out to me was how they really hemmed in Donald Trump, keeping him under wraps with gag orders.

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

I was leaning toward Trump and I’m probably going to end up supporting him once again. Seeing Biden’s policies and the way he’s conducting himself, I don’t think he’s got the stamina or the ability to do the job for very much longer. The border has been blown wide open. The economy just stinks.

I do think Trump’s going to be vindictive. This is a bad day for America. We’ve crossed the Rubicon. If he wins, I think he’s going to go out and start punishing folks.

[Jim called back 10 minutes later]

There’s no way I can support a convicted felon as president. Trump will have to appeal and win for that 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 it became evident when the charges were brought up against Trump. The timing felt obtrusive to the election and I believe the judge was biased throughout.

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

Nothing about this case has swayed my vote for this November’s election. I’m Team Kennedy [independent candidate Robert Kennedy Jr] in 2024 because I tire of voting for the lesser of two evils. Americans need to be compelled to vote for no evil at all until we get candidates that are worthy of our highest office.

This dual UK-US citizen voted for Mr Trump in 2016 to “shake things up a bit” but turned against him by 2020.

I’m pretty stunned it’s happened. My wife’s in New York, she said she went outside and everyone was cheering like in the World Cup.

I was surprised because, when Cohen was on the stand, it looked like he was getting torn apart. I thought that there wasn’t enough evidence based on the fact that your key witness is a convicted liar. So I thought if it’s beyond a shadow of a doubt, he would not get convicted.

I’m not saying he didn’t get a fair trial, but where it was held massively impacted it. In other parts of the US, this wouldn’t have come to trial. It was a demonstration of the deep polarisation in this country between the Democrats and the Republicans. They’re so far apart on everything.

Honestly, I still think Trump is going to win in November. I don’t know if this verdict has made any difference. You’re caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. What a choice – between a president who is clearly too old to be in the most powerful job in the world, and a guy who’s a convicted felon.

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

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

Trump, a man who runs a multi-billion-dollar business, was convicted because of how a payment was made to his private lawyer. This was enabled 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 think he lied on the witness stand. Daniels changed her story, not once but multiple times.

Today marks another low point in the US. This trial has not just made a mockery of our judicial system, it has shown that we no longer have a fair election system, when we allow politicians to go after political opponents in a sham of a trial using a Democrat-leaning judge.

This verdict has made me want to vote for [Trump even more] in November, because if the elite left has gone to these lengths to try to thwart his run for president, and the elite Republican leadership barely supports him, then those two things tell me that he’s probably the best candidate for us average people.

Paul calls himself a “common-sense centrist” and is still shopping around for the right candidate to support this November.

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

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

But taking a step back, while accountability is crucial, the timing and nature of these charges seem to be aligned with broader political agendas. People who disagree with the verdict don’t believe in the justice system. That’s a path a lot of Trump supporters are going to go down.

Trump is driving most of the divisions in America at this point. His support base is growing stronger, and it’s driving the left further left. So the divide is just growing and the country is becoming scarier to grow up in.

This verdict doesn’t change my vote, but strengthens my desire to vote. The importance of participating in the democratic process is underscored in moments like these.


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