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Trump v Biden: Guilty verdict won’t seal the deal for either man. Here’s what will deliver a win

With all the media attention this week, and indeed for the last couple of weeks, one would think that the 2024 presidential election will turn on the results of the recently concluded trial in New York City where Trump was convicted on all 34 counts on Thursday.

Based on polling by my firm, Schoen/Cooperman and that of other independent firms, both media and non-media, that is far from the truth. In fact, an examination of the polls that have come out in the days prior to the verdict suggest, pretty compellingly, that the 2024 election is unlikely to be about Trump and his legal problems or Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden who goes on trial later this month on gun charges.

Put simply, the American people are not concerned about these issues. They’ve already factored in their assessment of the candidates and those assessments are reflected in the polls. And, to the extent that there’s been any impact of the four sets of criminal charges filed against Trump, if anything, they have helped, if not hurt him, specifically with Republicans. But even since the trial began Trump’s numbers have improved marginally in the seven key swing states. And indeed, very modestly nationally as well.

When you look at the polls in detail, what voters are focused on is not the issues that the national news media is riveted to, but on more mundane but critical issues. They are focused on what’s important to them and means concerns like inflation, the cost of living and the southern border. 

The fact that is lost by most of the national liberal media is that increasing numbers of people are living paycheck to paycheck. Despite the moderating of inflation since the beginning of the year, Americans are still paying prices at the grocery store and the gas pump that are at least 20% higher than when Biden took office.

It is also the case that despite the millions of jobs that have been created under the Biden administration which the incumbent president likes to trumpet, voters give him very little credit for that and other economic accomplishments. They want to know what, if anything, he is going to do to hold prices down and restrict the growth of government spending.

So far, the answer from the White House has been silence on these key issues, leaving Democrats everywhere to begin to panic about the incumbent’s chances of winning reelection. 

The consensus I get from Democratic insiders who served in the Clinton and Obama White Houses — from the top to the bottom — is that Joe Biden’s electoral position is a lot worse than his pole position. And the chances that his strategy will succeed are increasingly remote.

Having worked for Bill Clinton, who was uniquely sensitive to changes in public opinion, it is hard for me to imagine a White House that is more tone-deaf, obdurate and indeed seemingly unconcerned with the day-to-day problems facing the American people.

The second issue facing the American people that the Biden administration refuses to focus on more directly is the southern border. Despite a willingness now to do a bipartisan deal on border security with Republicans, today’s Democrats and the president seem uniquely and demonstrably unwilling to take any executive action to demonstrate concern about the millions of people who have streamed across the southern border in the last three years. Trying to win debating points with the Republicans who blocked the bipartisan legislation in the House is an exercise in futility and failure. The president either acts or he doesn’t act. And if he doesn’t act, the chances of Joe Biden winning the November election are dramatically reduced.

For former President Donald Trump the challenge is somewhat different. He has made the case, compellingly for his voters, that this is a ‘rigged’ political system with a ‘rigged’ judicial system that has been weaponized. Voters either believe that or they don’t. They either believe the 2020 election was marred by fraud or they think, despite whatever flaws there were, it was a free and fair election. 

The bottom line for Trump is this: Voters want to hear what Trump himself will do to lower inflation and reduce the cost of groceries and gasoline. They want policy recommendations, not rhetoric about a system both sides agree is fundamentally flawed. And I would argue that Turmp has made it clear that he will tighten the southern border.  

I think for him to be explicit and precise about what exactly he will do will be of greatest importance. I think Trump must avoid both excessive rhetoric and references to things like ‘mass deportation camps’ which speak of policies that rub many Americans the wrong way. 

Put another way, Trump is in a much stronger position if he runs on policy and his ideas for the future rather than the type of extreme rhetoric that he has understandably articulated during the trial. 

The trial is over. The American people are focused on the issues facing the country. Former President Trump needs to focus on them. And in that way, he faces a similar challenge to the incumbent president. 

This post appeared first on FOX NEWS

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