Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

Hunter Biden’s guilty verdict upends a core Trump message: From the Politics Desk

By 37ci3 Jun12,2024

Welcome to the online version of From the policy deskevening bulletin that brings you the latest reporting and analysis from the campaign trail, the White House and Capitol Hill from the NBC News Politics team.

In today’s edition, we report on the mixed Republican response to a Delaware jury finding Hunter Biden guilty on federal gun charges. Plus, national political reporter Steve Kornacki analyzes changes among key demographic groups in recent polls.

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Hunter Biden’s guilty verdict changes Trump’s core message

By Jonathan Allen, Allan Smith and Katherine Doyle

Former President Donald Trump’s argument about the “weaponization” of the justice system has simply created confusion. Delaware jury conviction Hunter, son of President Joe Biden.

Some Republicans said the result was a major blow to one of Trump’s favorite talking points and a boost to Biden’s respect for the rule of law.

“Hunter Biden’s conviction definitely weakens the argument,” said Dan Eberhart, a major Republican donor who supports Trump and thinks he should focus on the economy rather than litigation. “To me, the justice system works.”

The 54-year-old was Biden found guilty Tuesday on three counts of illegal possession of a handgun while on drugs. The elder Biden was a key supporter of the Brady Bill, which criminalized the purchase of guns by drug addicts, and his son was prosecuted by a special prosecutor working for his Justice Department.

last month, A New York jury convicted Trump on 34 counts of falsifying business records to cover up payments to a pornographic actor. He is charged in federal court with possession of classified documents. In separate cases in Georgia and at the federal level, he has been indicted on charges related to efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

He regularly accuses — without evidence — of leading a multi-jurisdictional legal campaign to remove Biden from the political battlefield through criminal prosecutions. But some Republicans say it will be difficult to convince voters that Biden weaponized the justice system when his own son was shot.

The dynamic has created confusion for Republicans, who are divided over their response to Hunter Biden’s verdict.

Kash Patel, a former Defense Department official and Trump’s national security adviser, called it a “rare example of constitutional fairness.” But Trump campaign spokeswoman Caroline Leavitt called Tuesday’s result “nothing more than a distraction” from what she said were “real crimes” committed by Biden and his family.

Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida effectively yawned, Place in X: “Hunter Biden’s gun charge is kind of silly.”

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Demographic changes in 2024 survey warning or red herring?

By Steve Kornacki

Between the 2020 election and the current polling of the 2024 race, the demographic shifts have been consistent and clear. Trump won with non-white voters, while movement among white voters was minimal – resulting in a close tie with Biden we now see in national polls.

The dispute Are these numbers a harbinger of the November elections or a red herring?

One way to approach this is to go back to the Biden-Trump race in 2020: What demographic splits did the polls show at this point — mid-June — and how did they compare to the actual outcome? See:

As you can see, Trump performed much stronger among one of his core groups – white voters without a college degree – than the survey indicated. The same goes for Biden, one of his core groups, Black voters. Each candidate seems to have benefited from the “homecoming” effect, with their foundations solidified by election day.

Interestingly, at this point in 2020, the poll was already showing Trump’s gains among Latino voters. That 24-point deficit was actually a double-digit improvement for him over the 2016 election result — and it proved no miracle on Election Day.

The biggest loss shown here is among senior citizens, where polling at this point four years ago had Biden ahead of Trump. It offered a big change from 2016, when Trump easily won voters over 65, and it wide news coverage On the potential causes of Trump’s decline. But Biden’s advantage in the election disappeared, Trump led the elderly by only a few points less than in 2016.

Now let’s compare these 2020 numbers to what the survey is currently showing:

If 2020 is a guide, there is plenty of room for Biden to consolidate Black support and increase his margin. The problem for him is that his starting point — currently a 55-point margin — is lower than it was in 2020. Worryingly for Biden, the polls once again show Trump making significant gains among Latino voters. four years ago.

The worry from Trump’s perspective will be the prospect of him making no gains (or worse, losing ground) among white voters, who make up more than two-thirds of the electorate. Even here, Biden’s marginal improvement could dampen the impact of any non-white Trump gains.

Just like last time, the seniors are a mystery to be solved. As with four years ago, the poll shows a meaningful gain for Biden. Will it really happen this time?

🗞️ The best stories of the day

  • 📺 What to watch: Tonight is prime night in four states. Two South Carolina Republicans, Reps. Nancy Mays and William Timmons, are backed by Trump but still face tough opponents. More →
  • 🏓 Acid diplomacy: The Biden campaign is launching an initiative to reach out to older voters, including postcard writing, phone banks and even pickleball tournaments. More →
  • 🌎 Hard on top: Biden, UK Prime Minister Richie Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron have made dramatic moves in recent weeks as they try to turn their political fortunes around. Politico notes. For Biden, the June 27 debate against Trump can’t come soon enough. More →
  • 🔦 High focus: Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s secret memo by a liberal activist underscores his strong conservative views on religious issues. More →
  • ⚖️ Updating confidential documents: A federal judge overseeing Trump’s classified documents case has thrown out a paragraph from the government’s superseding indictment, but has not moved to dismiss the case. More →
  • 🚄 Bragg comes to Washington: Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg will testify before the House Judiciary Committee next month after being convicted in Trump’s hush money trial. More →
  • ❌ No tags, no candidates: Kansas’ secretary of state has rejected an attempt to take over the state’s No Labels party and run state legislative candidates on the ballot. More →

For now, that’s it from The Politics Desk. If you have feedback – like it or not – send us an email politicsnewsletter@nbcuni.com

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