By this time next week, we will know for certain who is on the Republican ticket. While most of the media is already resigned to Trump plus one (leaning Pence right now), we are part of the small and vocal group of pundits calling to Dump Trump.
This is no longer a question of facts. The facts about Trump are one hundred percent known. It’s no longer a question of procedure. Everyone knows that the delegates have the power to pick whomever they choose as nominee. It’s not a question of law. Virginia’s delegates won their challenge against the state, allowing them to decide who they vote for.
I am not a lawyer, never mind a trial lawyer, but I know a few trial lawyers, and they all agree on this principle. Juries are fickle, and not to be taken for granted, even when the outcome seems certain.
The GOP nomination is now headed to the jury. The jury has been instructed about the law. They’ve heard the testimony about the facts. They’ve heard all the arguments presented. Now they have to decide.
Piper Kerman, the author of “Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison,” wrote that her high-powered lawyer told her that he couldn’t find a more sympathetic defendant in her drug money case. But he recommended that she take the plea, because if she was convicted by a jury, the sentence would be so much worse. It wasn’t worth the risk.
There’s a reason most defendants are encouraged by their defense counsels to take a reasonable plea bargain in a criminal case (or a settlement in a civil case). It’s because juries are subject to psychology and sentiment just as much as reason and justice.
We had two candidates who needed a strong dose of justice. One has gotten away with it.
One man, James Comey, had only to strike the blow on Hillary Clinton, but Comey broke. His shameful press conference plainly showed that he had the facts, the law, and justice on his side. But he couldn’t get past his own personal consequences (and Comey is a Republican who previously stood up to his own party, against President Bush on a key national security issue). It was fear, pure and simple, that drove Comey to break.
We have one last chance at justice, in Cleveland. (Yes, I burned my delegate card before Georgia chose its emissaries to the convention, so I won’t be going. The cynic in me saw that the delegates will probably break and go with the leadership.)
Erick called for courage–the courage to boo Trump; the courage to unbind the delegates; the courage to vote on conviction. But we all know that the delegates are like a huge jury pool, and decisions made at the very start of the convention will set the path for the remainder.
Our Republican leadership wants a coronation and statement of unity, because that’s what’s best for them. The facts tell us that’s not going to happen. Except for the 30 to 40 percent of Republicans who are unfailingly loyal to Trump, those in the party know that he spells disaster in November at every level. There is only one rational decision–the delegates must not take the plea bargain offered by the party.
Delegates will be told that Trump is still manageable; that he will change once he’s in office; that he will be surrounded by solid advisers; that he is intelligent and will listen. But nothing Trump has ever done shows that to be true. Those who spin the pro-Trump story are like Johnny Cochran and O.J. Simpson’s glove. The jury needed a reason to acquit Simpson, and Cochran gave it to them. The rest was pure psychology and confirmation bias. Simpson was (is) guilty as hell and Trump is an abomination to everything the GOP stands for.
GOP delegates have one last chance to stand for the truth and for justice. Clinton got away with her crime and will be President of the United States if Trump is nominated. She may win even if Trump is thrown out, but at least they’ll have stood for justice; one crime unpunished is better than two. If the GOP delegates buy the plea bargain and fail to even attempt to stop Trump, it will be a crime.