National Post / YouTube Why Paul Manafort is on trial...
National Post / YouTube

Wipe that smirk off of your face right now. I am not denying, refuting, or admitting anything. I am simply enriching the texture of my previous narrative. I like the way that rolls off of the tongue, it sounds so much better than “I’m putting in some shit that I forgot yesterday.” Hey, both things can be true at the same time.

I said in my article yesterday that Trump’s “base” supporters, not his maniacal ones, but his base ones, stood my him on faith and belief. And that faith can only last until empirical facts crumble the walls of that faith. I stand by that statement. Every year priests and nuns depart their vocations because things that they have seen cause them to doubt the infallibility of their God. But it was the late breaking Paul Manafort kerfuffle yesterday that reminded me of something I had completely forgotten, and it’s a perfect example of what I’m talking about.

Back in August, Paul Manafort was convicted of eight criminal counts in Alexandria, Virginia. If it wasn’t for one numbskull who believed in jury nullification, Manafort would have bitten the big one on all 18 counts. After the trial, several jurors spoke to the media, including television interviews. And one juror in particular caught my attention.

This particular juror was a Trump supporter. And not just any Trump supporter. She had voted for Trump in 2016, and with everything that has happened, planned to vote for him in 2020 if he ran again. She believed Trump, and believed in him. She even admitted that on more than one occasion, she had worn her MAGA hat to court, but left it in the car, rather than wear it into the courthouse, and risk giving the wrong impressions of her impartiality.I am not a criminal prosecutor by any means, but if I had brought out any of that information on voir dire, I believe I would have burned a peremptory challenge on her as a possibly prejudicial juror.

She admitted that she was skeptical of the strength of the governments case going in. But then the trial started. And the evidence began coming in. Witness after witness, document after document, Correlations made, testimony buttressed with data, inferences confirmed. A compelling case, properly presented, with no stone left unturned.

This juror is a Trump supporter. She believes the President, and for more than a year he had been telling her it was a baseless “witch hunt.” It never happened, and the Special Counsel was full of shit. But when the rubber hit the road, back in that jury room, she voted to convict Manafort. And not just on eight counts, she voted to convict him on the other eleven counts as well, and was very unhappy with the single holdout juror.

That Trump supporting juror is Exhibit A in the case I made here yesterday. And she is exactly who Alan Dershowitz is thinking about when he says that Mueller’s final report will be politically devastating to Trump. This country is chock full of Trump “supporters,” people who want to believe Trump, and believe in him. But they’re not brain dead zombies either. They are cognizant that there are real facts out there, but no “alternative facts,” and when the facts come out, they’ll make that judgement based on those facts. You saw them a few months ago on TV, farmers who say that they support Trump’s tariffs, and that they’re willing to take a short term hit, in return for better long term results. But as his trade war drags on, and the effects become clear, and when the soy, and corn, and beef prices continue to drop, and when the “past due” notices start showing up, they too will balance those facts against their faith.

Faith is a wonderful thing, and it can see us through some incredibly difficult and trying times. But if I have $5 in my pocket, and my tummy is grumbling, I’ll take a bacon cheeseburger in my hand every time over the belief that there is one out there with my name on it somewhere. Just sayin’.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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