Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Ron prognosticates: Manafort jury will hang

God, I hope I'm wrong about this.  If ever there was a slam-dunk case, the one against Paul Manafort is it.  Multiple witnesses whose testimony is supported by miles of paper trail.  So why do I think the jury will hang?  Because math, and the cult of personality that has formed around Donald Trump.  The sad fact of the matter is that there are people lining up to lick Donald Trump's anus because they believe (along with Trump himself, apparently) that he shits chocolate.  These people will follow Trump "no matter what".  To these people, Paul Manafort is a hero, a person willing to courageously stand up to the Mueller witch hunt, even to go down with the ship to protect His Donaldness.  If even one of these people is on Manafort's jury, no amount of evidence will move that person to convict.

What are the odds?  Well, as far as I can tell, the ranks of Trump's die-hard loyalists are well into double-digit percentages, perhaps well into the 30s, which is a number that should terrify anyone who cares about freedom, democracy, and basic sanity.  But let's be conservative and assume that only 10% of the citizenry has truly jumped the Trump shark.  What are the odds that one such person has infiltrated the Manafort jury?  Well, it's 1-(odds that no Trump loyalist is on the jury) which is 1-(0.9)^12, which is about 70%.  And that's a conservative (no pun intended) calculation.

Still, that's a 30% chance of conviction.  Those are not insurmountable odds.  But that number assumed that only 10% of the jury pool consists of hard-core Trumpeteers.  If the number is, as polls indicate, closer to 30% then the odds of conviction drop to around 1%.

That is the reason the poll numbers are so scary.  If you have 30% of the population willing to follow you into the gates of hell, then quite literally no jury will ever convict you.

It is, if you think about it, a bit of a puzzle why Paul Manafort decided to go to trial and not even bother to put up a defense.  But one plausible theory is that, stupid though he may be, he's done the math and decided he likes the odds.  I certainly would if I were in his shoes.

No comments: