Why Trump Guilty Verdict Might Not Change Minds in Key Swing States
Why Trump Guilty Verdict Might Not Change Minds in Key Swing States

By Lawrence Wilson, Nathan Worcester

The felony conviction of former President Donald Trump on 34 counts of falsifying business records is likely to change few minds among undecided voters in two battleground states.

The reasons for that are varied, as is the thinking of these voters who are rightly termed independents.

Some have already ruled out voting for President Trump but remain undecided about their choice for November. Others have ruled out both major candidates, and some are undecided about whether to vote at all.

Yet another group remains open to persuasion by either major party—or perhaps a third.

In the 24 hours following the Trump verdict, The Epoch Times took the pulse of undecided voters in Michigan and Wisconsin, two key battlegrounds in presidential politics.

“I stand by the jury’s decision,” Wade Good of Canton, Michigan, told The Epoch Times. The verdict will factor into his vote, Mr. Good said, but won’t necessarily determine his choice.

La’Var Williams, 27, of Detroit, said he wasn’t surprised about President Trump’s guilt but was astonished that he had been convicted. He saw the verdict as a validation of the legal system. About his choice for November, “I haven’t thought too much about it, to be honest,” Mr. Williams said, adding that the verdict might factor into his decision.

Crystal, an undecided voter, waits for her boyfriend outside a Walgreens in Milwaukee, Wis., on May 31, 2024. (Nathan Worcester/The Epoch Times)

Crystal, a Milwaukee woman, said the New York verdict has not made her more likely to vote for either President Trump or President Biden. She doesn’t see 2024 as a particularly significant contest. “It’s like any other election to me,” she said.

The undecided voters displayed varying degrees of political engagement, and most appeared to be thoughtful about their choices.

Krishna Gogi, 23, and Rishi Pammi, 21, of Canton, Michigan, both students, were only vaguely aware that President Trump was standing trial and had no reaction to the verdict. “I’ve lost confidence in both parties,” Mr Gogi told The Epoch Times, “especially with everything that’s happened in Palestine.”

Both said they won’t vote for either major candidate in November but are still unsure whom they will support. Mr. Pammi said, “I’d rather have my voting power go to something I believe in.”

A tourist wears a Trump hat near the Lincoln Memorial after former President Donald Trump was found guilty in New York, in Washington on May 30, 2024. (Andrew Harnik/Getty Images)

Rick Karbash of Milwaukee voiced a similar intention for different reasons. “I’m a Ron Paul constitutionalist. And none of these people respect our Constitution,” he said.

Mr. Karbash, who operates a downtown hot dog stand, decried both the guilty verdict and the growth of the national debt in colorful language and reserved a few choice words for both parties’ spending on Ukraine and Israel. “I’m not voting for any of them.” he said.

Violet Simpson, 28, a barista from Monroe, Michigan, was unaware of the Trump verdict the day after it was announced. “I don’t have cable, so I don’t pay attention to that stuff,” Ms. Simpson told The Epoch Times. The verdict doesn’t affect her, she said, because she doesn’t vote.

Ms. Simpson believes the voices of people “lower down on the totem pole” are routinely ignored by people in power. “I don’t think our votes count,” she said.

Independent voter Will Callis at a coffee shop in Canton, Mich., on May 31, 2024. (Lawrence Wilson/The Epoch Times)

Sean, a man from Racine, Wisconsin, said he didn’t have a strong opinion on the jury’s verdict, but he doubts it will affect the election outcome. Sean said he’s not even sure if he will vote, describing President Biden and President Trump as “two evils.”

Among the independent voters The Epoch Times encountered, the highly coveted “persuadable” voter was less common.

One was a University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee student named Jason, who weighed in on the trial while enjoying a sandwich in a downtown park. “If I’m voting, I think I’m going to look at what they plan to do,” he said, describing himself as a “realist” and a “guy in the middle.”

Will Callis, 26, of Canton, affirmed the verdict but said he won’t be voting for President Trump anyway. “It was what I was expecting,” Mr. Callus said, adding that President Trump should serve time in jail, as would most people convicted on 34 felony counts. “I hope he won’t get out of it.”

Screens display news of former President Donald Trump’s conviction, in New York City’s Times Square on May 30, 202. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Mr. Callus avoids supporting politicians who depend on donations from large corporations. “And that includes Biden, he said. “I’m not a fan of his responses to the conflict in Israel.”

Independent voter Robin Bennett outside a coffee shop in Canton, Mich., on May 31, 2024. (Lawrence Wilson/The Epoch Times)

Robin Bennett, 28, of Canton, Michigan, is weighing the verdict along with other factors in determining her vote. “I’m a pretty conscientious voter,” she said. “I try to stay aware.” Though she admits that’s difficult when presented with a great deal of conflicting information.

“I’m never quite sure if you can take something as it appears,” Ms. Bennett said. “This verdict should matter. But then you hear it’s a political thing. As an American, you’re like, ‘Who can I trust? How do I know what the facts are?’”

Previous performance counts more than political affiliation for Ms. Bennett, who has voted for candidates from both major parties in the past. “I try not to let age and personality make up my mind. You can look at what they did while in the job,” she said. “Who can make the tough decisions? Who has made them?”

In the end, she says, “I want someone trustworthy in the White House. I don’t know if that’s either of these candidates.”

USNN World News (USNN) USNN World News Corporation is a media company consisting of a series of sites specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information, local,...