Monday, June 3, 2024

On Our "Virtual Route 66" This Week: On Our World

June has begun.   South Africa has rejected the ANC, and as we went to press, Mexico was about to go to the Polls.    India was to finalize Elections by June 4.   This is as Iran was also gearing up to elect a replacement for Raissi, who was killed in a helicopter crash.  This is also as the war raged on in Gaza and Ukraine.   Former President Trump was found guilty of 34 counts in New York, which created a fervent backlash from Republicans throughout Social Media. 

Our team pulled together a snapshot of the week that was courtesy of commentary by the team at the Financial Times, Defense One, The Economist of London, the Institute for Policy Studies, and Crooked Media:   


The war in the south

In Crimea, Ukraine is beating Russia

The peninsula is becoming a death trap for the Kremlin’s forces

Strength through outrage

What Republicans make of Donald Trump’s conviction

The party is never as unified as when its members are defending the former president

Beyond petroleum

How Saudi Aramco plans to win the oil endgame

The world’s biggest energy firm is the linchpin of the kingdom’s ambitions

India’s election

Exit polls point to a crushing victory for Narendra Modi

The BJP is expected to extend its reach across India

The humiliation of the ANC

South Africa stands on the brink of salvation—or catastrophe

To prevent a coalition of chaos, Cyril Ramaphosa and the Democratic Alliance must do a deal

A momentous moment

Violence mars Mexicans’ biggest elections ever

A lot is at stake besides who will become the new president

Give me votes but not too many

What is the point of the Lib Dems?

They’re nice, like raincoats and don’t like sewage—or power

The Weekend Intelligence

Lagos is sinking

A dispatch from a city trying to stay above water

-Donald Trump on covering up hush money payments to a porn star before an election, moments before a jury called it a crime.

Disgraced former president Donald Trump just became the convicted felon we always knew he really was, in our hearts. 


  • Trump was found guilty on all 34 felony counts of falsifying business records by a jury of 12 average citizens in a Manhattan courtroom on Thursday. That makes him not just the first former president ever charged with crimes, but now the first actual criminal. Prosecutors proved Trump broke the law by attempting to hide $130,000 in hush-money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels, who claims she slept with Trump. The details of the case involved tawdry tales of sex and cash, a billionaire, and a porn star. But prosecutors cast the scheme as an attempt to steal the 2016 election. Trump’s team rushed to silence Stormy in the days before the vote over fears her story would cost him the presidency. In the end, the jury agreed that Trump broke the law, beyond any reasonable doubt. 

  • Will Trump go to prison? It’s possible. This is all unprecedented, so no one really knows. Each of the 34 counts carries a possible four-year sentence and a $5,000 fine. Trump will be sentenced by Judge Juan Merchan, who ran this trial, at 10 a.m. on July 11, just four days before the Republican National Convention kicks off and makes Trump the official GOP nominee.

  • Normally, the odds would be against prison time for these offenses. But legal experts say this isn’t normal. “Most first-time non-violent offenders do not get jail time,” noted Paul Rosenzweig, a former member of the Ken Starr investigation into Bill Clinton in the 1990s, and an expert on the history of presidential investigations. But Trump’s outrageous conduct during the trial, when he violated his gag order multiple times, might tilt the balance in favor of real prison time, according to Rosenzweig. “If Trump winds up being incarcerated it will almost certainly be a result of his contumacious conduct during trial,” he said. But the judge may simply give Trump house arrest, or community service. 

What A Day


The bigger question is: What will voters think? 


  • Sizable minorities of Trump’s own supporters have said they’d balk at sending a convicted felon to the White House. Some might change their minds by November, and his biggest fans have repeatedly moved the goalposts for him in the past. In one recent poll, 6 percent of self-identifying Trump voters said a conviction would make them less likely to vote for him, while 68 percent said it would make no difference. 


  • Another 24 percent of Trump supporters in that same poll said they’d be even MORE likely to vote for him if he’s convicted of a crime, which tells you something about how Trump has warped people’s minds. Eight years ago, Trump thought an affair would ruin his prospects. After the verdict came down, notorious right-winger Ann Coulter tweeted: “These idiot liberals may have just gotten Trump elected.” The fact that we even have to ask how voters will react is a scary sign of our troubled times. And in the end, it's on the voters, not the prosecutors. No criminal charge can stop Trump from becoming president by itself. He would still legally be allowed to run for president, and win, from a prison cell. 

In a tight race, losing 6 percent of Trump’s voters could make all the difference.

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