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Jury Finds Former President Donald Trump Guilty On All 34 Counts In Hush Money Trial

People celebrate after former President Donald Trump was found guilty on all counts at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 30, 2024, in New York City. | Source: Spencer Platt / Getty

Former President Donald Trump just acquired one of the staple feathers in the cap of many rising dictators – being convicted by the enemy. Before emerging as dictators, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini and other such leaders were all imprisoned. And now, Trump is taking the well-trod route of a racist tyrant.

A 12-person jury in New York on Thursday found Trump guilty of forging financial records to hide a $130,000 payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels to silence her before the 2016 election. With this landmark decision, Trump became the first former president convicted of a crime. According to several legal experts, Trump is not expected to serve any time in prison. Meanwhile, others claim that even if he is imprisoned, it won’t legally stop him from campaigning for president, or taking office should he win in November.

Following the decision, Trump called the trial a “scam,” a “disgrace,” and “rigged” while speaking to reporters. Casting himself as a martyr, he exploited his legal problems to reinforce his cult of personality, credentials and legitimacy among his supporters. For the sake of the people, he proclaimed his innocence while battling an unjust system, immigrants, terrorists and other criminals similar to himself.

“I’m willing to do whatever I have to do to save our country and to save our Constitution,” Trump said, leveraging the moment to galvanize his supporters.

And it worked.

The fact that the presumptive Republican nominee’s campaign raked in more than $52 million in the 24 hours following the verdict shows that he has a committed and substantial base that is untroubled that their hero is a convicted felon similarly charged with stealing classified documents, lying to investigators, committing election fraud, defamation, tax evasion, rape and sedition. To his supporters, these allegations against Trump are themselves only further evidence of a grand conspiracy by his enemies to disrupt his presidency.

Becoming a felon was Trump’s last test of fortitude.

Since Trump has been convicted of 34 felonies and can still run for president of the United States, doesn’t it seem fair to remove the felony-related question from job applications for everyday citizens?

If a convicted felon can’t run for office in certain jurisdictions, then shouldn’t Trump be excluded from those ballots?

If Trump can aspire to the highest office in the country, shouldn’t voting rights be restored for formerly incarcerated individuals? Don’t they deserve to be able to hold professional licenses in nursing and real estate, serve on juries, work as teachers and law enforcement officers, and be eligible for public housing, federal student aid, and other government assistance programs?

Why has Trump not been automatically barred from running for president or occupying the position despite his convictions and indictments?

The disparate judicial standards and procedures that apply to presidential candidates versus regular persons found guilty of crimes are the cause of this seeming inconsistency. According to the Constitution, a candidate for president must be a citizen of the United States by birth, be at least 35 years old and have lived in the country for at least 14 years. However, there is no expressed provision in the founding text prohibiting convicted felons from seeking the presidency. Presidential elections are exempt from state-specific disenfranchisement laws, which limit the ability of convicted and former felons to vote.

Put differently, the ineligibility to run for federal office and the disenfranchisement of felons and former felons are two different matters. Although Trump has a criminal past and may be subject to limitations in some areas of his civic life, this does not automatically preclude him from running for federal office.

It would be naïve to think that Trump’s convictions will lead to sincere reconsideration of felon disenfranchisement laws.

The question of what the founding fathers what the founding fathers would think of Trump’s guilty judgment has been discussed at length. The founding fathers of America, according to former Trump White House lawyer Ty Cobb, would be “weeping and stunned” over Trump’s guilty verdict.

It is noteworthy that the founding fathers didn’t even need to explicitly state that felons could run for president since they presumed they would never be apprehended or found guilty of their crimes. Of course, they did not anticipate the rise of the South, which led to the Civil War, but also laid the groundwork for the political polarization we are witnessing today, where political rivals are trying to put each other in jail.

It is fitting, and not a contradiction in fact, that a convicted felon can run for president, but everyday citizens with criminal records, especially those who are Black and Brown, face a lifetime of restrictions. This is what a racist capitalist system requires for marginalized groups whose commodified bodies have been marked by administrative violence and used as a source of profit by the carceral state. And yet, among the powerful, crime isn’t an obstacle to their birthright.

It would be naïve to think that Trump’s convictions will lead to sincere reconsideration of felon disenfranchisement laws. Conservatives are not going to start caring about people in prisons, about the afterlife of incarceration, or discriminatory practices. That would be bad for the health of capitalism.

Trump’s convictions won’t bridge the partisan divide. Nor will they change deeply entrenched viewpoints on whether voting rights ought to be part of formerly incarcerated individuals’ reintegration into society, or if voting should remain a privilege reserved for law-abiding citizens. His 34 convictions won’t inspire the political will for criminal justice reform or serious recalibration of Constitutional principles.

And what does this latest salvo in Trump’s legal troubles say about the Office of the President itself? The answer: the eligibility bar seems low, and it is a felonious position to begin with.

Several U.S. presidents were accused of breaking laws: Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Warren G. Harding, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. Beyond these obvious names, killing children around the world comes with the job.  Not to mention, slaving, breaking up families, rape, displacement, land theft, breaking treaties, bombing, Napalming, nuking, drone strikes, assisting genocide and so on. An American president becomes an unconvicted felon the day they are sworn in.

As Noam Chomsky said: “If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have hanged.”

Be clear – what we witnessed this week was an in-house conviction among criminals. Meanwhile, President Biden has sent aid so bombs can be dropped on Brown children and some of us are applauding because Trump, like Al Capone, got snagged on some lesser charge.

Trump is taking the well-trod route of a racist tyrant.

Becoming a felon was Trump’s last test of fortitude. He has earned his stripes and proven himself a true rogue and rebel against race traitors allowing white genocide to go down. His guilty verdict is the clearest example of how being a criminal, when at the top of the whiteness hierarchy, is a badge of honor. Like a KKK member who gets put in jail, Trump is an exemplar of bravery in the face of duplicitous race traitors. Trump is the Grand Dragon of political racism.

So, what’s next?

The hillbillies, deplorables, MAGA supporters, pronatalists, white evangelicals, the Proud Boys and other far-right extremists are waiting for the race war they’ve been wanting for decades.

So, they can finally finish the Civil War.

Dr. Stacey Patton is an award-winning journalist and the author of Spare the Kids: Why Whupping Children Won’t Save Black America.

SEE ALSO:

NAACP Calls For ‘Unfit’ Trump To Drop Out Of Presidential Race After Criminal Conviction

‘Hallelujah!!!’ Maxine Waters Rejoices That Trump Was Convicted In Hush Money Trial

Trump Surrenders In Manhattan, Arraignment Brings The Protesters Out
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