Tag Archives: Manafort trial

The Russia-Trump-Republican scandal will see very few if any in prison

There are a lot of different things one can do in order to keep relatively sane during this period of attack on civilization and democracy by Republicans. One might just get away from it all and watch stuff on TV or go biking. One might engage in a mentally challenging project such as writing a novel or developing a really complex and possibly useful software application. One might even spend a bit of time imagining how this is all going to turn out. Imagining FBI Agents closing in on Trump moments after the next president is inaugurated, cuffing him, taking him down town, searching him (full cavity search, of course), delousing him, putting him in the orange jump suit, etc. etc. Eventually that fantasy results in the moment of conviction in a US Federal courthouse, and his long term imprisonment.

Unfortunately, that last part is never going to happen. Here’s why, and it is very simple.

Something like 35% of Americans think Trump is their god, or at least, hero. If any one of them gets on a jury in a case charging Trump or any of his gang with any crime, they will not do their duty as citizens. They will do their duty as deplorables. There will be no conviction.

Assuming that about 30% of Americans are Deplorable (probably an underestimate) and the chance of one getting on a jury is random (probably an overestimate since more of them live in South Dakota than Washington), the chance, according to a simulation study I just ran, of having zero deplorables is about 8 in 1000. If we reduce the likelihood of getting a deplorable on the jury to about 15%, half, the chance of having a deplorable-free jury goes up to just over 10% (156 in 1075). Still pretty bad.

What I’m saying here is don’t get your hopes up. There are a number of scenarios in which Trump and his gang of Republicans get sidelined or removed from positions of power, but there are actually very few scenarios in which any of them go to prison.

This is probably why prosecutors in the ongoing Manafort trial are trying to keep Trump and his conspiratorial activity out of their courtroom. This is a good strategy. They know the odds, and they are hoping that if this first trial is a conviction it might break some sort of dam or change perceptions in some way to make it slightly more likely to get justice in later trials.

But it is a risky situation. What happens if Manafort is acquitted? There is very likely at least one Deplorable on that jury. Jury members generally get in line and do their jobs. If you’ve ever done jury duty you’ve seen how that happens and understand that idea (if you’ve never done jury duty you probably have more misconceptions than facts about it). But a true deplorable will not be affected by that process.

The outcome of the ongoing Manafort trial is going to be very interesting, and very important.