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Trump's guilty verdict sharpens the two big questions of this election

The felony conviction of former president Donald Trump might or might not become a turning point in the 2024 presidential election. But its precedent-breaking outcome has sharpened the competition between him and President Biden to define the stakes and the choices for voters in November.

Almost nothing has been normal about this election, and now, above all, is the sobering reality that one of the two likely major candidates for president will run as a felon convicted on 34 counts by a Manhattan jury. No former president has ever been so judged nor sought the nation's highest office with such a badge of dishonor.

Nearly as striking is the degree to which the hierarchy of the Republican Party - and presumably tens of millions of ordinary citizens who follow its lead - have rallied behind Trump in questioning and in many cases condemning a judicial system that has been a pillar of American democracy. Measured responses about the jury's work have been the exception rather than the rule.


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