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Political scientists weigh in on fallout from Donald Trump guilty verdicts

debra leiter.png
Posted at 8:10 PM, May 30, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Following the guilty verdicts in former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial, political scientists in the area weigh in on how the results could impact the 2024 election cycle.

Trump is the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee. President Joe Biden will run for another term on the Democratic ticket.

Debra Leiter is an associate professor in the department of political science and philosophy at University of Missouri - Kansas City. She expects hardcore Republicans and Democrats to vote their party in November.

She said this ruling will probably have the biggest impact on undecided or independent voters.

Allan Katz, founder of American Public Square at William Jewell College, said the guilty verdict might boost support for Robert Kennedy, Jr., who’s running as an independent.

Leiter said Trump has to walk a fine line on the campaign trail using the verdict as an example of how the system is against him.

“He has a really important balancing act to engage in here, to make sure that he stays on brand, on message, without reminding voters of things that really might weaken his appeal for the undecided voters and the independent voters,” Leiter said. “They're likely going to affect this election.”

Katz said other Republicans running for office this year will seriously have to consider how they align with Trump moving forward.

“Suddenly, being the Trump guy, which had its ups and downs, I think the down just became a little deeper,” Katz said. “And the question really is can you afford it if you're looking to win?”