Focus group of undecided voters breaks out into fiery debate over Trump conviction: He's our 'Tony Soprano'

One voter described Trump as the 'antihero...the guy who does bad things...but does them on behalf of the people he represents'

A focus group of undecided voters following former President Trump's conviction last week revealed mixed reactions to the historic verdict, with many saying it wouldn't be a decisive factor in their November decision.

A transcription of the focus group released Tuesday features 11 swing voters, all of whom have previously supported Trump and President Biden or Hillary Clinton at least once during 2016, 2020 and 2024, the New York Times writes.

The undecided voters were asked to discuss the impact of Trump's guilty verdict in his New York trial and how it will affect their likelihood to vote for him. Some respondents said they were still "torn" after the verdict in the New York v. Trump records falsification trial, which made Trump the first-ever former president to be convicted of a crime.


Donald Trump and Joe Biden

President Biden and former President Donald Trump are facing off for the second straight election. (Getty Images)

Others said the verdict did sway their decision come November. However, it wasn't a decisive factor for many of them. 

"Inflation, the economy, immigration and abortion were the things that they said would ultimately determine their votes," the Times notes. 

James, a 53-year-old from Iowa, commented, "They’ve been going after Trump since he was elected in 2016. Democracy is supposed to be about the will of the people. I don’t really think the majority of the people in this country wanted to see him prosecuted on these charges." 

He later questioned whether the jury made the right decision in convicting Trump.

When other participants expressed their hesitancy to vote for a convicted felon, Jonathan, a 37-year-old from Florida, interjected, "You have to remember why Trump is the choice of millions of people. Trump represents a shock to the system. His supporters don’t hold him to the same ethical standards. He’s the antihero, the Soprano, the 'Breaking Bad,' the guy who does bad things, who is a bad guy but does them on behalf of the people he represents."

"He’s the antihero, the Soprano, the 'Breaking Bad,' the guy who does bad things…but does them on behalf of the people he represents."

Hilary, 55, a social worker from California who voted for Trump in 2016, said that while she refuses to vote for a convicted felon, she is less than enthusiastic about casting a vote for Biden. Her dilemma appeared to be shared by others in the group as well.

"Despite my absolute concerns about the mental fitness and policy disagreements that I have with Joe Biden, I cannot envision casting a vote for Donald Trump," she told the New York Times.

Donald Trump arrives to Trump Tower after being found guilty

Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower, Thursday, May 30, 2024, after being found guilty on 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. (Felipe Ramales for Fox News Digital)

She added, "I can envision casting a vote for Biden and then needing a very stiff drink."

Frank, a 65-year-old from Arizona, replied, "The more I see Trump dealing with this, the less confident I am in him. A president’s got to be a step apart from just a good person. And I have a problem with his integrity and ethics. I’m swinging toward probably Biden. And I don’t like Biden. I don’t like him … got no ethics, either."


Jonathan later doubled down on his Soprano metaphor in defense of the former president to the New York Times.

"I can envision casting a vote for Biden and then needing a very stiff drink."

"Trump is not a moral compass to a lot of his supporters. He’s the bad guy that’ll do things on our behalf. He’s the Tony Soprano or the Walter White … he’s an antihero."

The group was more closely aligned when asked about the state of American democracy in light of the verdict.

placeholder"It’s on a dangerous road," said Jorge, a California native who's 52.

"Absolute hyperbolic chaos," Logan, 31, a lawyer from Oklahoma, replied.

James Gandolfini sitting next to Edie Falco

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano and Edie Falco as Carmela Soprano seek counseling in HBO's hit television series, "The Sopranos." (HBO/Getty Images)

When voters were pressed on whether they had made up their minds, many of them still had reservations about throwing their support behind a specific candidate.

Jonathan, who repeatedly defended the former president during the focus group, said it comes down to the economy for him.


"As an independent, my No. 1 factor is economics. Full disclosure: Under Biden, I make more money. But under Trump, my money was worth more. And so that’s why I’m undecided. I don’t know who is the better side of the coin. Right now, I’m waiting to see who Trump chooses as his vice president," he said.

Hillary maintained that she "can’t imagine voting for Trump. Obviously, [independent Robert F.] Kennedy [Jr.] is a nonfactor for me. Biden’s — oof. Oof. Got to love it," she said.

John, 58, from Pennsylvania said the Trump verdict turned him away from President Biden.

"Well, I would say Biden now is off the table after today," he said. "I think Biden looks ungracious and looks incredibly weak to me. I can envision a scenario where a lot of undecideds who maybe won’t pull the lever for Trump run to Robert Kennedy Jr."

"I was very highly critical of Trump in 2019, and that’s what led to his first impeachment when he was trying to fish after and go after Biden politically. I thought that was a mistake. He lost my vote on that in 2020. But I don’t know. I guess I thought Joe Biden was above this," John added.

Jorge agreed.

"Biden has dirty hands on this. He’s a very weak candidate right now, so they need to make Trump even weaker," he said. 

"It seems like this verdict is going to energize people toward Trump. Maybe if they were apathetic or weren’t sure…it kind of lights a fire in them."

Despite leaning toward Biden throughout the discussion, 33-year-old Shantel from Calfornia said she predicts a Trump victory in November

"I think because I see more and more people kind of leaning toward Trump these days, as time goes on. It seems like this verdict is going to energize people toward Trump. Maybe if they were apathetic or weren’t sure, maybe it kind of lights a fire in them," she said.

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.