Abortion is a winning issue for Democrats. But will it be decisive?: From the politics desk

By | April 13, 2024

Welcome to the online version of From the Political Bureauan evening newsletter featuring the latest reporting and analysis from the NBC News Politics team from the campaign trail, the White House and Capitol Hill.

In today’s edition, “Meet the Press” moderator Kristen Welker explores whether abortion can be a defining issue for Democrats, and not just a winning one. Plus the five things you need to know ahead of Donald Trump’s first criminal trial.

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Abortion is a winning issue for Democrats. But will it be decisive?

By Kristen Welker

What is politically striking about the abortion debate after the Dobbs decision is how it has become a 60%-40% issue in today’s 50%-50% political world.

According to a June 2023 national NBC News poll, more than 60% of voters disapproved of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

A majority of voters have voted to protect abortion rights in ballot initiatives in states from Kansas and Kentucky to Michigan and Ohio.

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And even in battleground Arizona — where the highest court ruled that a near-total abortion ban is now enforceable — 62% of voters in the 2022 midterm elections said they thought abortion should always or most of the time be legal, according to the exit poll from NBC News. .

So abortion appears to be a winning issue for President Joe Biden and the Democrats in 2024.

But will it be decisive? That remains to be seen.

Just look at Arizona in the 2022 midterm elections. Despite near-supermajority support for abortion rights, Democrat Katie Hobbs narrowly defeated Republican Kari Lake in the state’s gubernatorial race, 50.3% to 49.6%.

30% of Lake voters said they believed abortion should be legal, and 20% said they disapproved of Roe being overturned.

A focus group that NBC News recently observed is also instructive. In that focus group of Pennsylvania women who voted for Trump and said they support abortion rights, all but two of the fifteen participants said they would still vote for Trump.

“I believe people should have the right to choose what they want to do with their own bodies. But I mean, it’s not a No. 1 factor anyway who I’m going to vote for,” said Stacey M., a 50-year-old woman from Philadelphia.

There is no doubt that abortion is a motivating issue for Democrats. And supporting abortion rights is popular with the general electorate.

But is it a winning issue in a straight-up Democrat-versus-Republican, Biden-versus-Trump battle?

We won’t know the answer to that until November.

5 things to know about Trump’s first criminal trial

By Dareh Gregorian and Adam Reiss

Former President Donald Trump leaves the courtroom during a break in the pre-trial hearing on March 25, 2024 in New York.  (Mary Altaffer/Pool via Getty Images file)Former President Donald Trump leaves the courtroom during a break in the pre-trial hearing on March 25, 2024 in New York.  (Mary Altaffer/Pool via Getty Images file)

Former President Donald Trump leaves the courtroom during a break in the pre-trial hearing on March 25, 2024 in New York. (Mary Altaffer/Pool via Getty Images file)

Donald Trump will become the first former president to stand trial in a criminal case next week, an unprecedented event that will cast a giant shadow over the 2024 campaign.

Jury selection begins Monday in New York City and the trial is expected to last six to eight weeks.

Whether you’ve been following every twist or are just tuning in, there’s a lot to keep in mind. Here’s what you need to know and what’s expected to happen.

What is Trump accused of? Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has charged Trump with 34 counts of first-degree falsification of corporate records, a low-level felony. Trump faces up to four years in prison if convicted.

How long is jury selection expected to take? One to two weeks. Starting Monday, prosecutors and Trump’s lawyers will try to reduce a pool of potentially hundreds of people to 12 jurors and six alternates, all of whom will be anonymous. Each juror will answer 42 questions designed to determine whether they can be impartial about the former president.

To reach a verdict, all twelve jurors must agree on whether Trump is guilty or not guilty of a specific charge.

What is the accuser claiming? At the heart of the case are allegations of several sex scandals that prosecutors say Trump tried to suppress with the help of his lawyer Michael Cohen and top executives in charge of the National Enquirer. In the final days of the election, Cohen paid $130,000 to one of the women, adult film star Stormy Daniels, to keep quiet about her claim that she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006. Trump has denied the accusation.

After he was elected, Trump reimbursed Cohen through a series of checks from his trust that were processed through the Trump Organization and labeled as payments “for legal services rendered” — a claim that prosecutors said was false.

What is Trump’s defense? Although Trump has acknowledged paying Cohen back, he said he knew no details about what Cohen did. His lawyers are likely to attack Cohen on the witness stand, portraying him as a liar who the former president detests and whose testimony should not be believed.

Will Trump have to appear in court every day? Because the case is criminal, Trump must be present in court every day to participate in his defense. The trial will take place every weekday except Wednesday, from approximately 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Trump has suggested he could then hold campaign events in the evening.

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That’s all from The Politics Desk for now. If you have any feedback – like it or not – please email us at politicsnieuwsbrief@nbcuni.com

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This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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