MAGA media incensed by Trump guilty verdict

The historic conviction of former President Donald Trump on 34 felony accounts — related to his hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels — was predictably met with a hyperbolic meltdown by MAGA acolytes in the right-wing ecosystem. 

Conservative mainstays such as The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh called for Republicans to incarcerate their Democratic colleagues.  

“The only thing I want to hear from these people is which Democrats they will have arrested. Don't tell us that you're sad about the verdict. We don't give a shit about your feelings. We want to see corrupt Democrats frog-marched on camera in handcuffs. If you won't do that, then shut up,” Walsh said in a post to X. 

And TurningPoint USA founder and reactionary podcaster Charlie Kirk called the jury’s decision to find Trump guilty on all 34 counts “a legal assassination.”

Meanwhile, elected officials like Speaker Mike Johnson (R) released a statement condemning the trial’s outcome.  

“Today is a shameful day in American history. Democrats cheered as they convicted the leader of the opposing party on ridiculous charges, predicated on the testimony of a disbarred, convicted felon. This was a purely political exercise, not a legal one,” Johnson wrote. “The weaponization of our justice system has been a hallmark of the Biden Administration, and the decision today is further evidence that Democrats will stop at nothing to silence dissent and crush their political opponents.”  

More extreme, fringe figures like the QAnon influencer and Holocaust denier Stew Peters — who has ties to Trump allies like Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows — shared images online that called for the lynching of Trump’s enemies. 

But how will Trump’s conviction impact the election? That remains unclear.

Before the trial’s conclusion, a survey conducted by PBS and NPR found that 67% of voters said that a guilty verdict would not change their choice at the polls. 

Additionally, polling following the verdict showed only a marginal improvement for Biden; the race is still very much neck-and-neck. According to the global marketing firm IPSOS, some Republican voters appear to be reneging on their stance to eschew Trump in the event of a conviction. 

“Following the announcement of a guilty verdict in Donald Trump's criminal trial, 54% of registered voters say they would not vote for Donald Trump if he is convicted of a crime, a six-point drop from April of this year (60%), ahead of the start of the trial,” the firm explained. “This drop is driven entirely by Republicans; in April, 24% of Republicans said they would not vote for Donald Trump if he were to be convicted of a felony crime by a jury. However, following yesterday's guilty verdict, only 14% say they would now not vote for him.”

This could help explain why more informal data points, like the betting odds on the 2024 presidential election, have remained relatively static. 

On the flip side, New York Times data journalist Nate Cohn pointed to some encouraging data. “In the Times/Siena poll, 21 percent of Mr. Trump’s young supporters said they’d back Mr. Biden if there were a conviction,” Cohn said in a blog post for the Times. “In comparison, only 2 percent of 65-and-older Trump supporters said the same. Similarly, 27 percent of Black voters who backed Mr. Trump flipped to Mr. Biden, compared with just 5 percent of white respondents.”

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Jamie Larson