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Trump and Math

Scott Galloway@profgalloway

Published on August 4, 2023

I don’t know, nobody does. However, I believe it is increasingly likely Donald Trump withdraws from the race for president as the result of a plea deal. Why? A: math.

Facing prosecutions in at least three jurisdictions, it’s likely, if he is not reelected, Trump will be tried, convicted, and sent to prison. I don’t believe this will happen, as a plea deal serves everyone’s interests. Trump and the prosecutors, I speculate, will settle for a lifetime ban on serving in public office in exchange for the resolution of criminal proceedings against him. As the political map comes into focus, a plea deal will emerge as the best outcome for Trump. And as the knock-on effects of imprisoning a former president become a reality, a deal will also become the best (or least bad) outcome for the nation.

Trump’s Math

President Trump is an obese 77-year-old male. Any sentence to a prison facility is likely a death sentence. Attorneys general wield the power of possible incarceration. Even more compelling? The prospect of survival — avoiding death behind bars. Incarceration, balanced against a life (post-deal) of golf clubs, sycophants, and porn stars weighs heavily on even the most delusional psyche.

How serious is the threat of prison? As I write this, President Trump has been indicted three times: in New York for tax and reporting violations related to hush money payments; in federal court in Miami for mishandling national security documents and obstructing the investigation into his conduct; and in federal court in D.C. for attempting to subvert the 2020 election. Later this month a fourth is expected, in Georgia, on charges of election tampering. But what is the risk he actually goes to jail? What sounds improbable looks more probable when we do the math.

Federal prosecutors rarely lose: In 2021, 94% of defendants charged with a federal felony were convicted. State and local prosecutors convict at high rates as well — the Atlanta office expected to indict Trump boasts a 90% conviction rate. Of those convicted by the feds, 74% received prison time. In cases for mishandling national security documents specifically, the DOJ regularly obtains multiyear prison sentences. And the documents case against the former president is notable for the weight of the evidence, including audio of him sharing military secrets he admits he hadn’t declassified, the sensitivity of the papers, and his blatant obstruction — offenses the DOJ and courts take very seriously.

It’s not any one case that cements Trump’s fate, but the compounding risk of several (indictments). Generally, defendants have a 3 in 10 chance of escaping an indictment without prison. A 30% chance of prevailing, four times in a row, is just under 1%.

This Is Different

OK, but Trump is not a typical defendant, and no case against him will be straightforward. He has unlimited resources and can deploy the full apparatus of a billionaire’s legal defense. In addition, there is a non-zero probability any jury will have a Trumper who refuses to convict. Also, prosecuting each case presents obstacles.

The New York case is generally regarded as weak, and while the Manhattan DA’s office is well resourced, it’s not the DOJ. As heavy as the federal documents case looks on paper, trying it will be a challenge — just working out the logistics of handling sensitive government secrets in the context of a public trial could take months of litigation and appeals. The election interference charges are complex and based on novel or rarely tested legal theories — there just isn’t a lot of precedent for the events of January 6. But the numbers remain stacked against Trump.

Still, let’s improve his odds of exoneration from 3 in 10 to 8 in 10 — only a 20% chance in each case that he’s convicted and sent to prison. The math is still ugly: 0.8 = 0.41 which means Trump has only a 41% chance of escaping prison, even when given remarkably favorable, exceptional, odds. The most favorable math still lands him in prison.

Get Out of Jail Card(s)

There are two: 1) He retakes the White House, or 2) he (see above) reaches a plea deal.

The prison vaccine is Trump winning the presidency, or another GOP candidate winning and pardoning him. That resolves the federal charges — the greatest threats — and Trump likely believes he or some other Republican president could likely shut down the remaining prosecutions.

However, Trump’s political power is about to crash onto the rocks of electoral math. Barring a dramatic change in the GOP primary, which could happen, the likely outcome is the former president wins the nomination, then loses decisively to Biden in the general. Current signals suggest the Republican nominee will be Trump. The strongest would-be contender, Ron DeSantis, went from anti-woke warrior to brightening every room he leaves. He’s an awful candidate. In six months, DeSantis has plummeted from 34% to 15% in Republican primary polling, ceding his ground to the former president. Our very stable genius is now polling at 58%. In the past half-century, no candidate leading by 20 points at this stage has lost the nomination. Trump is up by 43.

But Trump’s favorable math across the primary is equally ugly in the general election. The media highlights national polls, favorable/unfavorable ratings, and other clickbait. But that’s not how we elect presidents. As we’re reminded every four years, we elect presidents by state.

Ninety percent of the states are foregone conclusions (Biden holds a 30-point lead in California; Trump, a 21-point lead in South Dakota). Pundits agree that only a handful of states will matter in 2024: UVA names Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and Wisconsin. Roll Call swaps Pennsylvania for Nevada. The Hill drops Nevada but adds Michigan and a wild card, North Carolina. And the Biden campaign itself appears to be focused on all of the above, minus North Carolina.

Demographics Are Destiny

Biden only needs to win three of these states to reclaim the White House: Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. And his odds look good, great even. He won all three in 2020, and since then things are trending even bluer. In Pennsylvania, the Democrats flipped a Senate seat in 2022, and in Michigan, they took full control of the state government. In Wisconsin, the GOP had a slight edge in the midterms, but Biden leads in every poll taken in the state this year. He also has the edge in Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Trump’s prospects are tenuous in the other four. Biden carried Georgia in 2020 (as well as Arizona and Nevada), and in 2021 the Democrats flipped a Georgia Senate seat, then defended it 2022 (though they lost a House seat). North Carolina reflects how change is not good for Trump. He won the state in 2020 by a 1.3% margin. However, it’s a state in transition, a microcosm of the broader challenge faced by the GOP: The party’s base is older and whiter, and that population is giving way to a younger, more diverse, better-educated electorate — more likely to vote blue. In North Carolina, those effects are magnified by economic growth from new tech and finance jobs. Toyota, Apple, and other new employers are bringing in a younger, more educated workforce. In 2022, Democrats gained two House seats in North Carolina; the state’s delegation is now even at seven and seven. Similar trends are present in Arizona and Nevada, both states Biden won in 2020.

Nationwide, since Trump won the White House in 2016, 32 million young people have become eligible to vote, and 20 million elderly voters have died. That’s a 52 million voter swing from old to young. These younger citizens vote in greater numbers than previous younger generations, and they show no signs of becoming more conservative as they age.


We’re still a long way from November 2024, and a lot could happen — war is still raging in Europe, and Biden is 81. However, the most important factor in almost every presidential election, by far, is the economy. On that front, everything’s coming up Biden. GDP growth accelerated from 2% to 2.4% last quarter. Unemployment remains low (3.6%), and job growth continues to exceed expectations, with 372,000 new jobs created in June. Inflation fell to 3% in June, its lowest rate in two years. Contrast that with other nations, including France (4.5%), Germany (6.4%), and the U.K. (7.9%). More importantly for voter economics, U.S. wage growth is now outpacing inflation. Perceptions haven’t caught up with reality, but they will. If voters continue to vote on the economy, Trump loses badly.


The closer we get to a Trump loss in 2024, the more his currency for a plea deal diminishes. A loss would cement the notion that he has cost the party too much for too long. Traditional Republican leaders can’t wait to see the last of Trump, and his acolytes now have power bases of their own. Fox will abandon him, the cloud cover provided by Lindsay Graham, Kevin McCarthy, and other sycophants will disappear, and the pool of jurors who’d refuse to convict will shrink. He’ll also lose access to any backroom influence his political allies might bring to bear on the DOJ or state and local prosecutorial offices. His currency is a single token, his potential return to the Oval Office. And once that’s gone, so is his leverage.

Trump won’t like the deal, but the decision will be easier to make than many people think. He has no observable ideological commitment or loyalty to the Republican Party compelling him to run again. In the 2022 midterms, Trump amassed a war chest of $108 million and gave none to GOP candidates.

And he gives up all the time. His track record is quitting: from his six bankruptcies, including the Trump Taj Mahal Casino, to his innumerable abandoned projects, such as his defunct New Jersey Generals football team and the disgraced education for-profit Trump University. And people who know him, including his former chief of staff, John Kelly, and his former footstool, Chris Christie, say he has a real fear of going to jail.

In sum, Trump’s odds of landing in prison are perhaps 50/50 right now and likely to get worse as we approach the election.

Deal or No Deal?

Is there a deal to be had? It won’t be easy, but the array of prosecutors could work together to strike an agreement, for their own sake and the good of the nation. A coordinated negotiation between the DOJ, Georgia, and the Manhattan DA would be complex, but nothing precludes the effort. The alternative is worse: Trials would be a circus, convictions would be subject to years of appeals, and any ultimate incarceration would be a logistical nightmare. And when we step back from the details of these cases, what should the nation be seeking? Is it accountability? Or for the nation to move on? The answer is yes, and a plea deal achieves this.

There’s a broader lesson here. Our successes and failures are not a function of probability, but patterns. Our actions, like interest, compound. A kind act may go unnoticed, but kindness fosters enduring relationships and goodwill. Criminal acts may or may not result in punishment. But criminality screams for justice’s attention. And justice, while slow to act, is always listening.

Life is so rich,

P.S. This week on the Prof G Pod, I spoke with Rutger Bregman, a Dutch historian and author. We discussed human nature, power dynamics, and his thoughts on Universal Basic Income. Listen here.

P.P.S. If you’re an executive or department lead, join Section for a free event on Leading in the Age of AI, a primer on how every exec should be thinking about AI for their business.



  1. jacqueline emery says:

    I do find your argument pausible. I suggested to my husband about a year ago that the best scenaria would be to remove Trump’s US citizenship, ban him from the country (like Napoleon to Elba) and threaten that, should he set foot on US soil again he will land in jail. He said Israel would elect him president in a heartbeat. An option he could try. The Saudis seemed enamored too, as was North Korea, and reportedly Putin (?), all according to Trump. Still a big sandbox left in the rest of the world for him to play in…

  2. Mike Galleher says:

    Your analysis is well, reasoned, backed with a lot of data, and honestly could not be more wrong. If Donald Trump does not die in prison, they we have failed as a country and no longer have a functioning democracy. Instead the basic maxim on which our system depends “no many beneath the law nor any man above it” will be proven a lie. He has spent his entire life avoiding consequences for his actions because of his extreme wealth. From his early days as business associate of the New York mafia, and his massive housing discrimination case, his real estate fraud, his flagrant disregard for the law and constitution WHILE president (‘Phony emoluments clause” telling border guards to shoot migrants and when he was told that was illegal “go ahead and do it I’ll pardon you” his extortion of the Ukrainian president, and let’s not forget fomenting an insurrection and plotting to overturn an election” Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once said “our laws are no more than a bad man would say they were”. In other words the strength of our laws is not how well the naturally law abiding follow them, but how much the would-be criminal fears to break them for fear of the consequences. Any deal that lets Trump escape the full consequences of his actions because we fear the reaction from his or his followers says that our laws are weaker than Trump is, and a country built on its laws cannot be weaker than one man

    • Bill Cole says:

      Mike G.,
      I don’t think his analysis is well reasoned. DOJ conviction rate is 94% (I’ve seen figures much higher) and % getting jail time is 74%, so he assumes a 20% jail time likelihood for Trump on each of the 4 indictments? WHY? He claims all cases are weak. I cry “BS” on that. These are not weak cases by any stretch of the imagination. DOJ cases and Georgia cases are very strong.
      Also, Trump isn’t facing 4 charges. He’s facing 91 NINETY ONE charges.
      My math says this: assume 90% conviction rate on any of the charges, so 10% chance he gets off on any one charge. So his odds of getting off on All is not 0.1 to the 4th power. Its 0.1 to the 91st power. Basically zero.
      Trump WILL be convicted on at least a few felonies and WILL get jail time. No question.

      How’s that for a well reasoned analysis?

  3. Anna Grimes says:

    Last week, I made a bold prediction to my family that he would not be the nominee. My reasons were mostly around the Republicans-may-have-finally-stopped drinking-the-tea line of argument, but I’m going to share this with them right away to bolster my prediction!

  4. Is this mercy? says:

    The punishment for high treason is a well deserved death sentence. Sharing top secret nuclear documents and an attempted coup is high treason. Sending him to prison would be the people of US being merciful.

  5. Robert Arvanitis says:

    Level set: What is the proper job of government? How much of GDP does it get for that? And who stops govt-cronyism?
    Ok. Now write the same post on the Bidens.

  6. Gabriel says:

    No deal. Trump needs to go to jail and die there. Its what the people want, and its the only way to ensure that it doesnt happen again. Giving him a plea deal is a signal to republicans that there are no repercussions for attempted coups.

    • Robert Arvanitis says:

      Please see my direct post, above.

      • Yves says:

        I agree Robert, the Biden camp is if not more corrupt than Trump, the only thing for Trump is he is not as good at hiding it than the Biden camp. Trump got elected and lost in 2020-21 now the Democrats are so afraid that he will win again,….. but a deal might be the best thing. One thing that is different now is the possibility of a no labels ticket that might change the outcome of this election if this happens all bets are off on both sides

        • Robert Arvanitis says:

          Sadly, a third-party lunge will only dilute the outrage against the parasites lodged in the American body politic.
          The only relevant metric runs from individual freedom to totalitarian and at the moment, the statists cling desperately to power. The longer it takes the higher the cost, but in the end to get lose.

  7. Tom smith says:

    Looks like a good read, but I’ll wait for the movie.

  8. SomePerverted NotionOfLiberty says:

    Hating on Trump has become people’s favorite form of entertainment, it’s right up there with Star Wars and Superhero movies.
    That’s why so many people got depressed in 2020 when Trump went away for a while, it was like their favorite TV show had just been abruptly canceled and they didn’t know what to do with their lives anymore.
    But now that The Trump Show is back for another season people are getting pumped again, it’s like Star Wars fans right before The Phantom Menace came out. People are pumped and even writing detailed fan fiction on how they want this season of The Trump Show to go down like it was a fantasy football league.
    And all of their predictions, just like Scott’s writing, are so bland and all sound exactly the same. It’s hard to tell these Startup Bros with God Complexes apart anymore, they all share the same personality and boring writing style.
    My more interesting predictions of what the next seasons will be:

    Trump will be President again.
    Trump may even be President in 2023 (Plot Twist!)
    Hunter Biden will be indicted for Human Trafficking.
    Everyone that went along with the herd and was lockstep with every stupid trend (Taking the shot, penalizing people that did not take the shot, supporting the war in Ukraine, Supporting Biden, ect…) will forever go down in history as one of The Herd of Fools of the 21st Century.

  9. Jake Morley says:

    With all due respect, this is a terrible idea. It’s akin to being a hostage negotiator in a situation where a gunman has taken 12 hostages and is demanding $20 million for their release, and arriving at a deal where he only kills 6 hostages and you give him $10 million. Point being, in certain situations you cannot split the differences.

    If Mr. Trump is innocent, your proposed solution is grossly unfair to him and his supporters. As of this writing, Mr. Trump is the clear preference of one of the two major political parties. The deal would disenfranchise those people and set the precedent that the legal system can be used as a weapon to force candidates out of a race.

    If Mr. Trump is guilty, it also sets the terrible precedent that an outgoing president can try to unlawfully seize power, and the only possible outcomes are that they succeed or retire to a life of luxury. Basic game theory would hold that all presidents should try to do this going forward since there’s really no downside.

  10. Anne Meister says:

    Excellent analysis but depends on both sides agreeing to a deal and I wonder if just agreeing to a ban is diffident for prosecutors and whether Mr Trump will act rationally.

  11. Paul says:

    I love your writing Scott! Both your posts on No Mercy/No Malice and your books. Not sure about this one.
    Trump will not back down. He hates losing so much that he almost overthrew the worlds oldest continuous Democracy. You think these indictments scare him? He’s destroying every Republican candidate in the polls. He works from his world view that he’s the greatest, he’s a victim and he can do no wrong.
    I wish you were correct, but anyone who has been watching him since 2016 knows he’s not throwing in the towel. I wish he would, but he seems more galvanized the more he’s opposed.


    I liked the plea deal aspect which I haven’t seen elsewhere. The word “deal” will attract Trump.
    I’d like to add remarks on Trump’s character type.
    Max Weber, sociologist in the early 20th century, investigated authority and why people follow/obey. He put up three types of authority, one of which refers to DT. That is the “charismatic leadership”. The type of charismatic leaders is that they are the only way to change the structures in place, but in return the charismatic leader cannot lose. The moment he loses, he is out – in the past, most of them were killed. This is why DT will always fight, regardless of odds. If someone does manage to win against him, it’s the result of an entrenched, biased system (“swamp”) which needs a charismatic leader (someone like him) to overthrow.
    As a result, any type of disaffection can become a reason to support such a leader, because the current political system hasn’t been able to. Those who believe in DT will not change allegiance until he loses. Anybody who wants to run against him as GOP candidate will have to be a better winner. Any candidate who plays the integrity card will lose the nomination. The only other possibility I see is for the GOP to refuse to let him run on the ticket – but that means a divided party and no chance of gaining power, and that just ain’t American.
    Full disclosure – I have no skin in this game, being European.

  13. Robert Fallone says:

    I understand the thesis, but how would the Democrats hold onto power after a plea deal?

    The Republicans have painted the indictments as politically motivated (see recent Trump ad). Any deal that includes Trump never holding a political office only adds fuel to the claim that the DOJ has been politicized and these indictments were only meant to remove Biden’s leading opponent from the playing field. The DOJ cannot, under any condition, combine a plea deal with politics – it would undermine their credibility and claim that, “nobody is above the law…….unless you’re a former president who agrees to never hold political office again.”

    A plea deal that includes Trump never running for office again would cripple the Democrat party for 2024, galvanize Trump’s base behind any candidate that runs on “draining the swamp” and forever damage the reputation of the DOJ.

  14. Rocco Sisto says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful article. I must point out and this is from watching Donald for over 45 years that he is a creature of chaos. He will say anything in order to advance his own agenda of self aggrandizement. As a malignant narcissist, he would rather burn the house down, than do anything that remotely resembles making an honorable choice. I believe the psychological term is “anal expulsive“. Let us remember that before he entered politics he was a professional wrestling geek, who went around to matches and punished the loser by humiliating him, i.e. shaving his hair off and other forms of emasculation. That is his element and that is why he is adored by those who want to spread their feces on the walls of the capitol. Those are his people. I remember quite clearly when he first came into office being surrounded by the smug Republican handler’s, Reince Priebus comes to mind, who thought they could wrangle him. Of course they were mistaken. The great shame is that the Republican establishment thought that they could handle him. And if they couldn’t, then the Democrats in Congress could and so we had Mitch McConnell, feeding the beast in order to get his supreme court justices entrenched. My scenario for when there is too much heat as he truly starts to melt down is that he will feign madness or some other psychological disorder. Poor heroic, Donald. He worked so hard and it took such a toll on him. And that my friend is how he is going to handle it.

  15. Riles says:

    Scott, Excellent analysis for sure. Lotsa hair all over Trump…..but….what about…. the “Big Guy” stuff? Is the clamor growing too loud for journalistic responsibility to ignore? If there is still an inkling of journalistic integrity, this is a fair question. Might we have two candidates other than these two old-timers in the election? Health, physical and mental, is a big issue for both candidates. More slips (both of the foot and mouth) may be in the cards. A lot can (and should) happen (and be reported) between now and the election.

  16. Ray Lewis says:

    Brilliant analysis mate. From a Welsh POV, tidy man.

    Let’s hope it happens.

  17. Marc says:

    You fail to point out the interesting timing of these Trump indictments let alone mention a single syllable on Biden’s bribery allegations. Your bias is sickening, Scott.

    • Gabriel says:

      The timing? Its nowhere near an election. And trump didnt declare he was running until after he was told he was being indicted. Which certainly makes it appear that he is running to not be jailed.
      The Biden bribery allegations have been proven false by every single witness that the gop has brought forward. Only complete morons believe those pathetic lies that comer and the gop are pushing.

  18. YaronGissin says:

    think you got it(him) wrong.

    He is a gambler.
    Even if he had 1% odds to win the elections (and it seems he’s well beyond that line) – he’d go for it. And then he’ll go for self amnesty.

    He’s looking at Bibi in Israel: Burn the country for get-out-of-jail ticket. And Donald is even crazier.

  19. Alexander Sanayi says:

    Professor Galloway,
    I am not a Trump supporter, far from it. But the mere fact I felt like I needed to qualify my opinion with this statement goes to show how polarized the political conversation has become.
    I am disgusted with the mere fact we are proudly discussing the possibility of a presidential candidate being offered a lifetime ban for holding office in exchange for his freedom – in the middle of the election cycle. Regardless of what you – or anybody – think about Trump personally, this is the ACTUAL threat to democracy. Outside of the US bubble, in Germany, France or the Netherlands people are generally baffled by what’s going on in DC. They used to see palm trees, sweaty military fatigues and UNICEF bags flashing behind reporters during similar-sounding cases on the news. Not educated American intellectuals smugly discussing knocking out a political opponent to prevent him from potentially winning office through technicalities. It’s shocking and scary, as it opens up potential retaliatory prosecutions in the future.
    I think picking President Biden as a viable cantilever to Trump’s immorality is uninformed at best and intellectually dishonest at worst.
    Trump should not win the 2024 election.
    I believe there are better suited candidates for that position. I also believe this should be settled during elections and not as a result of plea bargaining.

    • Dean Dietrich says:

      ” I also believe this should be settled during elections and not as a result of plea bargaining.” You are entitled to your belief but it is Trump who is potentially facing jail time, not you, and he will do, as he always does, what he believes is best for him. If you were faced with a 20% chance
      of incarceration in contrast to a comfortable life still adored by the MAGA crowd, which would you choose? Trump is motivated by his lust for power, not by doing what is best for America, and when his lawyers tell him he facing a serious risk of jail time, he may well decide to cash in his chips.

    • Kke says:

      What you wrote might make sense if we were talking about an innocent person. But he has shown to be a threat to the US constitution and the exact person the founding fathers warned about when writing the Constitution.

  20. Matthew Gebken says:

    Professor Scott Galloway,

    You math has not addressed the issues raised by Dinesh DeSusa that the election was stolen with with merely 2,000 mules.
    If Dinesh’s claims, evidence and proof are correct, then all your math goes out the window. NOTE: Ptolemy had tons of math working out the positions of the stars, but his Earth centric assumptions turned out to be false. You are assuming we had a valid election, which DeSusa proved we did not. ??
    Remember when Trump initially ran? There was NO way it was initially thought he’d beat Hillary. …. In order for your math to apply, your assumptions need to be correct…….
    Matthew Gebken

    • Jon h says:

      And if Grandma had balls she’ll be Grandpa.

    • Gabriel says:

      Comvicted Felon dinesh desuzas lies have been disproven so many times that its amazing there is anyone stupid to still believe a word that grifter says. The 2000 mules thing is so moronic its unbelievable that even one person was stupid enough to believe it.

    • Wiley says:

      He’s not addressing DeSousa’s claims because they’re absolute BS.

  21. Marc Zuckerman says:

    I hope you are correct.

    I think the weakness in this argument is overestimating the strength of Biden as a candidate. Particularly going forward.

    A) Respectfully, you completely ignore how people feel about his age and the qualifications of his running-mate. You don’t factor in the significantly greater than zero chance that Biden has a “Mitch McConnell” moment or a worse one – ie something the media, try as hard as it can, can’t ignore anymore.

    B) Candidly, Biden has his own ethical issues. While they don’t rise close to the level of things Trump has done or make him a unique threat to our system, more details are starting to emerge. Again, the media mostly choose to spin or ignore what’s going on. But at some point, it will need to do its job. The reality of what transpired with Hunter specifically and the Biden family in general also plays more poorly in those swing states we are relying on to carry the day.

    Either of those of those things would significantly brighten Trumps chances of winning and change the probabilities.

    We are not a serious nation anymore. The fact that we’d tolerate either of these candidates is embarrassing. The fact that we have a press so slanted (both left land right leaning) that it reflexively protects one and only attacks the other is representative of our decadence. Everyone has their own set of facts.

    We are in trouble.

  22. Jeff says:

    Reading these comments below… MAGA supporters will never see reality as it is. Never.

    They will not change their minds. If Trump is found guilty of every charge they will not come to the realization they were wrong. It will all be part of the larger conspiracy.

    There is already way, way too much proof regarding most of the lies- including the Big Lie. Sadly, this generation must die out for the stains and stench to lift. Yes, it will take that long.

    As much as I like Galloway’s fantasy, I have to agree with another here who pointed out that such a plea deal will give Trump the narrative that this was alway a politically motivated justice attack- further discrediting our institutions which is far, far more damaging to our republic.

    A frustrated Republican.

  23. John Bentley says:

    Seems to me that a)no jury will be found with enough jurors to convict him and b) that if he can endlessly appeal any sentence that it is a risk worth taking not to plea bargain and d) that should jail be inevitable the problems resulting in a polarized US would make sense for the next President to pardon him. Trump is so resolved to renew his Presidency he will probably go for it.

  24. Bent_Brent says:

    I love reading Prof G’s writing, and I think Trump is the devil, but this is wishful thinking. Trump may very well win the next election – I put his chances at 50% right now but there’s still more than a year left for Biden to make a huge public mistake, be proven to have genuinely profited off his title as Veep, or die. Don’t be counting any chickens just yet. MAGA is a religion, and religions don’t follow normal rules.

  25. Dee Koal says:

    Scott-rethink your plea deal. Attempt a bloody coup to destroy democracy and avoid accountability and consequences by pleading not to run for office again. This is a green light for other power-crazed bad actors to reach for the brass ring.

  26. Scott Robinson says:

    Having had recent first-hand experience on the inner workings of a jury, I reckon the prospect of Trump beating all 4 charges is 100%. Each jury will have at least a couple of members who will not be prepared to convict Trump even if the evidence to convict is compelling.

  27. Ann says:

    This is so silly
    Trump is not going to prison. The odds are greater that he gets reelected. Every indictment hauls in millions for the private citizen who was given a billions then lost billions and has no home. Trump is a fraud. If he is so rich why does he live at golf courses, condos and random hotels. It’s all a mirage and you’re feeding it

    I don’t care for Trump at all. Most American people see this as partisan and it is. He did lots of bad bad bad things. Why wait until one year before the election to bring to trial. Stupid move by Garland along with lying to Congress around Hunter.
    Our justice system is politicized. At best this trial starts one year before the election. That is beyond crazy

    America has turned into a partisan and overly emotional place where no one wants to think or care for others. It is truly all about the individual too often. We are a country where people think a 5-4 decision reflects the majority. We have a corrupted political class.

    Hunter Biden’s plea deal while crack and weed was found in the WH along evidence money may be going tp POTUS demands that we all take a step back and ask for better candidates. Than two old dudes who should be out to pasture

    Americans deserve better on both sides. We are at war with Russia and the economy is not working well for the earners. This case should in have started in 2021 not ‘23.

    Keep dumbing it down and you will get Trump 2.0

    • Frankie says:

      👍 To me the fact that liberals are so traumatised by Trump that they are all crouched down around crumbling driveling corrupt Biden like terrified cubs instead of considering or even mentioning the other alternatives such as RFK, Williamson or West, makes them lose ALL credibility. They have learned NOTHING from their mistakes. It’s sad to see that liberals have become the new “bourgeoisie”, completely disconnected from reality, ready to impoverish the country and consent to every authoritarian move as long as they keep their privileged status while lecturing the middle and working class for being ignorant plebs. It was fascinating to watch how these so called “liberals” rushed to bow down to the lockdown and vaccine policies and to support the war in Ukraine… As history shows, this crumbling ruling class will be swept away.

  28. Russ Abbott says:

    Exactly! If only we can pull it off.

  29. Ian Clark says:

    Oh wow! Brilliant, thoughtful piece. You always see things from a fresh angle and make me think differently about what I thought I knew. Thank you

  30. Youcef says:

    Great article about Trump and the math associated with a potential indictment, with or without prison. How about the indictment potential of the Biden’s family ?

    • Matthew Gebken says:

      Hillary destroyed evidence. ….
      The Bidens … seem to have done far worse than Trump but ?? ….. where is “the math” here. ??

  31. DB says:

    “brightening every room he leaves.” Prof, that made me chuckle. Thanks for adding some time to my life LOL.

    • Rich says:

      “Some people brighten up a room just by leaving it.”
      Adrian Rogers
      Years before Scott, whom I still think is nonetheless brilliant.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thank you for at least putting something on the table with regards of…what might be possible. I’m all for anything that puts such a person in to position of nothing ness. He deserves nothing more from this country… he has trashed.
      He need never darken our days nor our country again … No Mercy

    • Laura Schroeder says:

      Thanks for the deep dive into this quagmire situation. Can’t wait to see him fall for good.

  32. Jacobs says:

    Alec Baldwin.

    Where’s the justice?

    • Ed Grey says:

      Alec Baldwin? What irrelevant complaint will you make next – Benghazi? Are you still angry about the Tet Offensive?

      Well, I’m still angry about the 1980 October Surprise, and the 2000 and 2016 election scams.

  33. Lolita Aaron says:

    Always enjoy reading Scott Galloway.. One cannot help feeling that he is someone with a highly developed sense of decency and humanity.. Rutger Bergman is someone I have admired for a number of years.. Love his Basic minimum Income belief.. I read recently an article in THE NYT, that anything will change in that collapsed society.. Drug addiction mental illness, and a general decay and despair which prevails..I am reminded that Americans often refer themselves as ‘EXCEPTIONAL”, as well as being the ‘greatest country in the world”. It is hard to reconcile that statement with what is going on in Portland.
    SCOTT GALLOWAY’s humanity is palpable.. I love listening to him on PIVOT, love his sense of humour and his obvious decency and high standard of ethics.

    • Marc says:

      If Scott were ethical he’d point out Biden’s mental issues when calling Trump obese. He’d mention Biden’s alleged corruption
      When speaking of Trump’s indictments. Another partisan hack with TDS is a better description.

  34. Bill Miles says:

    We have been told that Trump would never consider a plea deal.
    I believe that you are correct and he will, but only if he reads your piece. The math on that is still out.

    • William Guerrant says:

      Our political system has flaws of which Trump exposed and takes advantage of. Will the American people wake up and notice? I think it’s dangerous and clearly shows how fragile our way of life can be crumbled. If any politician breaks the law and doesn’t face the consequences the idea of democracy weakens and lays bare our eventual demise.

  35. Jeff says:

    The US justice system provides unlimited opportunity for endless appeals. Trump has unlimited resources to apply to that opportunity. The math is appeal time > Trump life remaining. Simple

    • Ed Grey says:

      I don’t think his resources are all that unlimited. He has more and more difficulty finding decent-sized donors and banks to lend him money. The FEC will probably be cracking down on his diversion of campaign donations to the legal cases of him and his co-defendants.

      I would like to see a claw-back of his ill-gotten gains. He’s done a lot of money laundering for many of the Russian oligarchs that are now sanctioned by the US, as well as many other financial crimes. NY State attorney general is working on this area, which I think is mainly a civil suit, though there could well be criminal charges. This is different from the Manhattan business fraud indictments.

      • Beatrice B says:

        Yep, he’s no billionaire. Back in 2015, according to The Daily Beast, political strategist Rick Wilson was lunching with a genuine hedge fund billionaire who told Wilson: “Trump’s not a billionaire. I’m a billionaire. Trump is a clown, living on credit.”

        Personally, I’d like to see Trump stripped of all his assets. Everything he owns and/or has his name on.

  36. Mark White says:

    i think Trump won’t willingly stop as a contender for the white house and he will be the Republican nominee—ego and, like BSers, he is probably believing his own BS by now or, at least, his own righteousness and infallibility. We will see.

  37. george harvey says:

    It’s impossible for Scott to write about anyone he dislikes without his disdain coming through the prose. Remember a couple of weeks ago when he thought “Threads” was going to destroy Musk?

    • Marc says:

      WHEN would Galloway ever admit being wrong? Remember CNN’s subscription service and Scott’s role? Hahahahaha

  38. Kirk says:

    I disagree that a plea deal is the best thing for the nation. Presidents – from Nixon onward – have gotten away with crimes due to pardons by their successors – paving the way for Trump, whose crimes are orders of magnitude worse. He needs to go to prison. I don’t care that he’ll appeal it all the way. That is what accountability looks like. A plea deal would also relegate hundreds of man-years and millions of dollars in bringing these cases to trial. Sorry, I’m not about to throw that away.

    • Ed Grey says:

      If there is a plea deal, in addition to a gag order and no ability to hold any office, I’d want it to include a full intelligence dump on all the crap he’s done with Putin and other Russians. There could be some kind of trade-off between jail time and the fullness of his revelations.

  39. Charles says:

    This reminds me of a Sabremetric baseball quant nerd trying to explain why a .250 hitter is a can’t miss kid because of some made-up stat. In other words, Scott, you know squat about the law, and it is arrogant hubris being displayed to think you can “look at the numbers” and offer a lucid legal assessment. Stick to your soft skills!

  40. Jim says:

    All these court issues are probably not going to prevent Trump running.
    The real answer is the opposition, both dem and gop. So far no one has provided a sane alternative to this madness.

  41. Suzie Kidder says:

    “Ron DeSantis, went from anti-woke warrior to brightening every room he leaves.” This is potentially the single best comment on/description of Ron DeSantis that I have read. Bravo

  42. Jonathan says:

    The economy isn’t favoring either side or anybody right now, and the trend is not encouraging.

  43. Lew says:

    Absolutely BRILLIANT!!!!
    There are points that you may not have included. Like his financial involvement with the party.
    Just get him totally out of our collective lives…. Forever!!!
    Maybe, the idiot, ultra conservatives of the party will get a pair of balls, and desert Trump.
    If he is stripped of his phony powers that he has over the idiots, perhaps we can go back to a MORE normal political landscape…. WE CAN ALL HOPE!!!

  44. David Stahl says:

    What if McConnell had supported the 2nd impeachment with the consequence of barring Trump from holding Federal office ever again. Do you think we’d still be looking at 3+ indictments at this time? My sense is yes and Trump would have nothing to plea bargain with and would adopt tactics of delaying the trials and appealing any and all convictions.

  45. Bob Stolzberg says:

    Great read Scott.

  46. Michael says:

    No mention on your part of the real moron criminal Joe Biden and your explanation of the economy favoring Biden is totally ridiculous. Nevertheless, you could be right about Trump dropping out because the criminals at the Justice Department (Garland) and the FBI (Wray) will never let up. Smith has been overturned so many times for overcharging but the idiot democrats living in Washington are scary if the trial is not moved to a different venue and the jury comes out of those morons. Congressional and Senate democrats hate Trump because he is the first President to challenge the swamp and win the first time and probably again in 2020. Don’t know if your occupation is really a Professor but for sure you are a democrat who only presents one side of the story.

    • Stu Mono says:

      That’s pretty rich – “ the first President to challenge the swamp” Let’s see, Roger Stone was convicted of lying under oath in the Russia investigation. Steve Bannon escaped federal charges of money laundering and conspiracy only because Trump pardoned him. Allan Weisselberg, CFO of Trumps real estate company served more than three months in prison for fraud. Michael Cohen, Trump’s attorney was sentenced to three years for illegal hush money payments to a porn star. Michael Flynn pleaded guilty for lying to the FBI about interactions with the Russia’s ambassador. Paul Manafort, Trumps campaign chairman was found guilty of fraud and pleaded guilty to money laundering. Rick Gates, Trump’s former business partner and deputy chairman of Trump’s 2016 campaign pleaded guilty to conspiracy and lying to investigators. Elliot Broidy, Trump’s former fundraiser pleaded guilty to violating foreign lobbying laws. Let’s not forget the Trump foundation that was shut down in NY and paid a $2 million fine, Trump University fraud case settled for $25 million, Jan 6, Access Hollywood tape, civil rape conviction, two impeachments, etc. Yeah, a real stable genius.

    • David says:

      To @Michael up is down, bad is good, lies are facts, and facts are lies. In the old days we used to call this psychosis. Now we call it MAGA politics.

      • Ed Grey says:

        He’s also a suspected paid Russian troll. A lot of the ridiculous crap that pisses off people in the reality-based community comes from people paid to produce it – mostly either Russians or Republican careerists. And there’s a certain amount of overlap between those two groups.

    • Ed Grey says:

      No mention on your part of where you get your data, and why anyone would believe it who’s not paid to.

      If you look at the number of members of presidential administrations who have been indicted/convicted of serious crimes, the Republicans have consistently been way ahead for decades – Nixon, Reagan, Trump, Bush… They ARE the swamp. Comparing Democrats against Republicans is like comparing jaywalkers against people who chronically commit drunken vehicular homicide and make snuff films of the proceedings.

  47. Fred Williamson Miller says:

    No wonder you are known as Prof G…. this article is just so brilliant, so insightful, so sane. Is it possible that over the next while (couple of years?), much of what you have predicted wil materialize….I think it can. And then gradually moron Trump and his ilk will drift away into the dustbin of history and sanity will prevail. Maybe Joe will eventually get a much deserved chance to move into the next phase of his life, post moron Trump. Keep up the excellent work Prof G… are a national treasure. Fred

  48. The All Seeing Eye says:


    not just a ban on holding public office. He should be barred from financially supporting any political enterprise, he should be ordered to spend several billion on refugees, he should make a public apology, and he should never again be allowed to speak in public, publish a book, or make public statements.

    The punishment should be that his name will be erased from public space.

    You must think carefully how to hit him so that there are no imitators.

    Aying in the land of Kayin

  49. Patrick says:

    I get it. You despise Trump. If you think this whole process isn’t a Banana Republic legal tactic, then you’re smoking some potent weed.

  50. Hughes says:

    I’m not saying Trump is the answer. But give Biden and Harris 4 more years and their operation Death to America will be complete.

    • Ed Grey says:

      Is that because the pandemic is somehow Biden’s fault? The Donald and his little helper Jared actively used the pandemic to kill people in blue states through deliberate negligence.

  51. Rippey says:

    Brilliant piece, Scott.

    Trump will do what is best for Trump, and he can wrap this is self-serving rhetoric: “It is disgusting that the liberals have brought the country to such a low place that the only man who can save the United States is being subjected to ridiculous show trials by the corrupt Injustice Department. But I am the most patriotic president ever and I don’t want to subject the country to more disruption, so I have agreed to plea no contest to these rotten charges – NOT “guilty”, because I’m obviously innocent.”

    He doesn’t have to mention the other side of the plea deal, but he can say, “I will let you know later whether I am running for President, because I can win easily but maybe it’s time to give someone else a chance. With my help, any one of the Republicans can beat Sleepy Joe.” Something like that, anyway…

  52. Brian says:

    Scott you have been wrong a lot – you thought Biden would withdraw. Trump enjoys the very low standard that only he is able to slither underwear has Biden has to be absolutely perfect. Inflation asked to come back down to 2% the market asked to keep up and he’ll still get the credit for the great economy because people in their mind Brand Trump the businessman as good for the economy even though thinking folks know that’s bull crap.

  53. Stuart Duncan says:

    Great analysis Scott. I hope your prediction is correct. As a Brit, I just don’t understand why the Republican party have not kicked Trump out of their party (that he hijacked) and opened up the leadership contest. The GOP must know this will end badly for them. Surely with Trump out of the picture, other candidates would throw their hat in the ring and they might stand a chance of winning.

  54. Scott Hall says:

    Not enough…the 14th Amendment would seem to make no office holding a given. I think his renouncing his US citizenship gets closer to providing s deterrent to the next traitor.

  55. Cass Bielski says:

    Excellent article once again. Nits I would raise are that I would agree with some of the comments below that DJT’s always-double-down frame of mind might not lend itself to the rationality you suggest nor to the past necessarily catching up with him, although the past catching up would be the world I would want to live in. I pray he doesn’t squeeze out of this, because if he does, we’re all in trouble, including his supporters, in the long term.

  56. Frankie says:

    Sounds clever but so many things wrong with this analysis.
    First of all, the elephant in the room, what makes you think Biden will be the democratic nominee? He makes EVERYBODY cringe. And not ONE SINGLE word about RFK and his rapidly growing popularity? That seems a tad short-sighted to me.
    Secondly, surveys show that the younger generations are increasingly leaning towards conservative values (at least young men). So I’m not sure at all that young educated people will flock enthusiastically to Biden’s nomination… actually the only people that might will be old white wealthy liberals like yourself.
    Thirdly, there is a real peril for Dems in convicting Trump. I mean this would create a wild unheard-of precedent in all American history (I’m surprised a proud “democrat” such as you has no qualms about the adequacy of indicting a former president – obviously for political reasons, I think everybody knows that), besides who knows what might happen if Trump is sent to jail. I don’t think profound civil unrest (did someone say ‘civil war’?) is off the table.
    Your analysis sounds more to me like a liberal hive mind wishful thinking.

    • Doug says:

      If he were 150 years old reduced to a brain and aviator glasses on a pogo stick, I would STILL vote for Joe Biden.

      When all is said and done, he will be considered as transformative a President as FDR, especially given the GIGANTIC shit sandwich he was handed amid as divided a Country and Congress as there has been since the Civil War and Vietnam eras.

      I don’t care about his diction, I care about that fact that he is a professional and very savvy politician who gets shit done and ultimately cares about the welfare of America and her citizens.

      • Michael says:

        You have got to be kidding. Nothing that you said is true or makes sense. Biden is a criminal along wth his entire family. The only thing transformative about him is that he has gotten mainstream democrats to not turn on this traitorous criminal. We will probably be going to war with China at some time in the not too distant future and the fault will lie entirely with this greedy thief that you moron democrats elected. He is the most unprofessional, demented man to sit in the White House. He is the least savvy, gets nothing done that is good for America and cares nothing about the welfare of America, just witness the open border and gas prices and really the price of everything. He caused inflation to rise to 9.1% and the Fed with their interest rate hike got it down to 3% but overall, things cost 16% ore than they did when he entered the White House. Wake up you fool.

        • Jeff says:

          Parents learn to teach their kids not to use absolutes–it’s the first sign that they’re full of shit. The ‘only’ thing transformational… War with China will be ‘entirely’ Biden’s fault… He ‘is the least savvy,’ and gets ‘nothing’ done. Unfortunately, I could go on. But if you’re not going to be rational, and look at the facts, you should shut the hell up. The ‘welfare of America,’ in your esteem, comes down to ‘open borders’ and ‘gas prices?’ Do you ‘EVER’ look at ‘ALL’ the facts, or just replay what someone else told you was the ‘truth?’

      • Alexander Portnoy says:

        Professional and savvy politician? FDR? FDR started the transition of this country to an administrative state controlled by unelected political operatives and grifters. Joe Biden has accomplished literally nothing in his 50 years in elected office except for enriching himself and his family. Lest you believe he is in fact really an acting president, think about the fact that he has neither the capability nor the decency to speak directly to the press and take questions which aren’t prescreened and deliver anything approaching transparency to the people of this country. Perhaps the Prof here knows his shit about about marketing, but if you want to understand where the true fascist threat lies maybe listen to someone like RFK Jr… but your echo chamber of state sponsored narratives and belief that what you disagree with must not be uttered will shield you only until it’s your unappetizing opinion they come for. Go live in a country that has actually fought for freedom in the last 50-60 years and you’ll see things differently… and no, not the glorious corruption ridden rump state that is the Ukraine which we are endlessly plowing good money after bad into to enrich a joker of a president his cadre of corrupt generals… remember Saddam, Qaddafi, Osama… American policy genius at its finest. And the inept idiot who “diction” you don’t care about has sat there scraping his 2 cents through all of it.

    • Ed Grey says:

      RFK’s cringe factor is about 10 times Biden’s. His whole campaign is a Bannon grift project. His numbers relative to Biden are quite a bit worse than DeSantis’s relative to Trump. He and Marianne Williamson more or less cancel each other out as vaguely leftish candidates.

      The only surveys that show younger people leaning “right” are ones funded by right-wing think tanks with their thumbs on the scale.

      Jack Smith is a scrupulous, seasoned, world-class war crimes prosecutor, who is coming up with one serious criminal charge after another. He is treating Trump appropriately – as the moral equivalent of a war criminal and a mafia don. He understands the weight of history here.

  57. Roger lewis says:

    Interesting analysis……. but what benefit do the democrats receive for getting Trump out of the race. Probably a Republican candidate who appeals to all the people who do not like the prospect of either Biden or Trump. Don’t think they make the deal

  58. dydactyl says:

    The likelihood is greater that Biden will resign rather than be impeached.

  59. Mark Lemon says:

    Logical analysis, but I don’t think you consider fully Donald Trump’s ego and history of legal stonewalling.

    Re ego: he will refuse to ever quit or to say anything except that the election was “stolen.” This is his First Amendment defense. Republicans who fear Trump’s primary voters, or don’t like Biden, have already latched onto this argument in the media.

    Re stonewalling: We should expect every aspect of each trial to be appealed, all the way to the state or US Supreme Court. So even if he loses a case, he will claim it was rigged and demand a recount (sound familiar?). Expect him to say all the trials are rigged before they begin.

    I believe the worst he thinks could happen is not jail, but that he loses the 2024 election and Biden’s DOJ – under pressure from the right – is pressured to pardon him on any Federal convictions as a way to placate the 49% of the people who voted for Trump. The state trials can all be handled with settlements. This way he can brag he survived the “witch hunts” on SM and to the folks who visit him in Florida for the rest of his days.

    While I agree that your analysis is entirely logical and that a plea deal (see Spiro Agnew) is the right one, I don’t believe you’re analyzing the case from Trump’s POV. I believe that when you get as old as Trump, your instinct is to fall back on what worked in the past. In Trump’s case, it is ego, bluster and legal stonewalling.

  60. Devon Archer says:

    Your hatred of old white men is fascinating, considering you are one. Perhaps you should lead by example permanently ending your carbon emissions to save the planet from all the hot air you spew. Hope Section4 does better than CNN+. Most VCs know that you are a pain to work with, all of your Trump and Elon derangement is a projection of your own fragile ego.

  61. Ed Schifman says:

    I quote your article. “Federal prosecutors rarely lose”. Well, Jack Smith not only lost UNANIMOUSLY at the Supreme Court on one of his improvisational wild, pull stuff out thin air prosecutions. Wanna know how often a Federal criminal proceeding gets overturned, much less even when the libs say you got it wrong Jack. But Jack has unlimited resources to explore this torture for the country.

    Interesting that this is all about Trump. You have the same derangement syndrome that others have. I am absolutely the last person that would vote for Trump, but you never had one word to say about what will eventually end up being the most corrupt President in history, who will eventually face justice.
    Biden will never run, either by din of illness, death, or when the world knows inequovically that we have two criminals running for President.

    What does that say about us?

    You wouldn’t know because you caught the derangement syndrome disease. The world will see us as just like every other corrupt regime worldwide.

    You did us a disservice in this monologue, Scott.

  62. Bill S says:

    There is something in your analysis not addressed outright – Trump’s own erratic behavior where he may just roll the dice and
    either refuse to make a deal or insist on conditions to which the Justice Department won’t agree.

    My view, putting a former President in prison sends a clear msg around the world that the rule of law in the US encompasses all US citizens, and that politicians like Trump need to be made an example to deter future authoritarians.

  63. Jeffrey says:

    This was fun. TY Scott!

  64. John says:

    This is fantasy.
    1 Trump really believes his delusions that he won the last election.
    2 Trump would never agree to a plea deal. He would rather play the political martyr.
    3 He would rather wait for a republican president to pardon him.
    4 The democrats want him as the GOP nominee; he is the only candidate that Biden could defeat.
    5 As long as Trump blankets the news the media do not have to cover Biden’s abysmal economic policy or the Biden family criminality.
    This is the very first time I think Galloway is dead wrong.

    • Slim says:

      Biden would trounce any Republican candidate, including Trump.

      If you think his economic policies are “abysmal” and that he’s part of some kind of crime family, you are just as delusional as Trump.

    • Dylan Russell says:

      Point #3 above. It seems obvious and expected any elected republican would commute or pardon Trump if convicted. I feel like this point does not get enough attention, and all candidates should be pressed on this during the debats.

  65. Bill says:

    I agree with the math but not the conclusion. The conservative electorate is susceptible to narratives, propaganda and outright falsehoods peddled by Fox “News”, OAN, Brietbart, etc. These and other tactics (vote suppression, limit immigration, underfund education) are the tactics of a party in decline. That said, a plea deal that bars Trump from public office will end the Trump era for the Republican party. But such a deal also gives Trump the narrative: “See. These prosecutions were political and it was always about knocking me out of the race because they knew they couldn’t beat me fairly.” This is obviously false (read the indictments) but Trump has no qualms about lying. Trump’s led a handful of far-right conservative sycophants to an ominous place: undermining public trust in government (DOJ, courts, FBI.) Conspiracies about a weaponized Justice Department hunting for Republicans (you know, the same “weaponized” DOJ that just declined to charge Florida Republican Matt Gaetz) is a dangerous narrative that fuels more conspiracy theories, breeds distrust and feeds far right media news cycles peddling fear and anger. The right’s willingness to “go there” and attack institutions not just their opponents arguably poses a bigger risk to the republic than a Trump trial and conviction. A deal barring Trump from public office might as well come with a mega-phone for the institutional attack that will follow.

    • Jeffrey says:

      Excellent counterpoint.

      • Ed Grey says:

        I agree. It was one of the best comments to keep an intelligent discussion going here.

        I think a “deal” would have to be noticeably more than just “not run for office again” in order to be worth making for the public welfare.

  66. Phillip says:

    as usual, you are right but with a thousand men and women sitting in prisons because of this pimp, I want him in jail too.

  67. Greg Larkin says:

    What do you think would happen if your prediction comes true and Biden faces another Republican candidate? How does that change the election math?

    • Slim says:

      Biden wins in a landslide against any other Republican candidate. Do you think DeSantis has broad appeal? Nobody likes him.

  68. Scott says:

    While this makes tremendous sense it underestimates the seductiveness of the power of the presidency. That combined with Trump’s ego will make it difficult for him to step back. Plus he has never really paid (yet) for his actions. He is the master of deflect and delay. I don’t know that he believes these cases will ever land.

  69. Mike says:

    Out of curiosity – what is the legality of if he took the plea deal to never hold office, but kept ‘campaigning’ ie holding rallies and sending multiple daily emails bilking people for money, but with no actual intention to hold office?

  70. Lindsay says:

    It is wild to me that you could be referencing either the Democratic or likely Republican candidate in your comment here. We really need some depth to both benches when it comes to party leadership. If they were 80 and CEOs, they’d be seen as too old to be running things and their judgement would be questioned. In government at 80 you’re given even more leadership. Wild.

  71. Jim Romanelli says:

    Interesting if improbable scenario. Trump’s ego won’t allow this.

    But to suggest that the economy favors Biden. His fiscal (and perhaps literal) incontinence is responsible for this fiscal year’s $1.4 trillion dollar deficit, with CBO projections of $2 trillion annually for the next decade. Helicopter dollars help buy elections, but the country’s economic growth and the well-being of future generations of Americans will suffer greatly. Is it possible to identify candidates who are neither crazy nor senile?

    • Scott says:

      Fiscal incontinence? The country is in this financial position due to Republican administration’s consistent (since Reagan) policies of cutting taxes and not cutting spending. Taxes need to go up. The math doesn’t work without increased revenue (reference Speaker Kevin’s inability to develop a budget).

  72. Sam R says:

    This is a rather brilliant piece but not because its conclusions comport with an outcome that I deem to be desirable. It is brilliant because of its elegance in integrating facts, electoral college calculus, human nature, statistics, psychology, all rolled up into a cohesive narrative. What a terrific read!

  73. Barry Vinson says:

    Is the math correct?

    When I calculate a 30% chance 4 times in a row, I get 0.0081 which is a lot less than 1.

    I don’t do this for a living so check my work: (3/10)^4 = 0.0081

  74. Ronald says:

    Allocution may prove to be an important part of any plea bargain deal with Donald Trump.
    Here’s Google’s Bard condensed explanation:

    In federal criminal court, allocution is a formal statement made by a defendant in open court after they have pleaded guilty to a crime. The allocution statement allows the defendant to admit to the crime, express remorse, and explain any extenuating circumstances that may be considered in sentencing.

    The allocution statement allows the defendant to fulfill their end of the bargain by admitting to the crime and accepting responsibility.

    In most cases, defendants who plead guilty will receive a reduced sentence than if they had gone to trial and been convicted. However, the allocution statement can also be used to argue for a harsher sentence. For example, if the defendant expresses no remorse for their crime or if they blame someone else for their actions, the judge may be less likely to give them a lenient sentence.

  75. MacGold55 says:

    Honestly, the media, social platforms, et al needs to keep this drama going just for churn and clickbaity soap opera that goes on and on.
    The 2024 race is far off and the political silly season is full on with the clown car of GOP candidates looking to cash on through name recognition, media events, and merch.
    That’s it.
    As for the “old guy” Biden, he has been the political salve needed from Covid, the Ukraine invasion, stepping up NATO and getting USA manufacturing back with unemployment #’s down in record numbers. Say what you will about his age, both the Demo’s and Repubs have no deep political benches to have decent runs towards the White House. So therefore a repeat of 2020.
    You can post all the hard numbers out there, but people still work on emotions and their $$$’s.

    As for the former orange “guy”. I still think even a 30-45 day behind bars can be used as “political rehab” for him as a lesson. He burned SO many folks, he ran out of friends and now he has to pay for his misdeeds and offenses across cities, states, and countries.Maybe, in 50 years, there are going to libraries devoted to this “silver spooned” vulgarian. (shout out to Variety there!)

  76. Ty Webb says:

    Trump 2024 LFG!

  77. Keith vickers says:

    Very insightful – this is indeed a way out for both sides.

  78. Kevin says:

    This is by far your most interesting written piece of 2023, in my opinion obviously. The section entitled Bidenomics really sticks out in that you say something to the effect of Everything economically is working in Biden’s favor. Huh? You’re living in England currently I think. The percentage of people living paycheck to paycheck continues to increase as does the amount of people who don’t have $500 in cash set aside for an emergency. You must run with a very wealthy crowd of friends and acquaintances. I can’t argue with you from an electoral college perspective then Democrats win the next presidential election – but it won’t be Biden. Your hate of Donald Trump clouds your view of what the Biden Crime Family actions will yield as well as ignoring the senility of our current president.

  79. James Hunt says:

    Professor, you marshall data like a champion, but you whispered the qualifiers — election a year-plus away, Biden’s age (and diminishing sentience), international unrest–and wave off the wild card (DeSantis) with a dismissive remark. Fair enough: it’s your column. Every writer lays an egg from time to time. This one is yours. I don’t care for Trump, but I’m always surprised how little the left grasps that anything that puts him in the spotlight makes him a greater chaos agent. Well, deep down, Hillary probably gets this.

  80. Stephen Ruben says:

    Simplistic but not irrational much more thoughtful than the recent Pivot podcaasts that have become self indulgent and lazy

  81. Carl says:

    For sure, the fear of Trump’s re-election will get out the Democratic vote, as will the abortion issue. More Democrats voting make a Trump victory impossible. I think your calculus is correct Scott. Trump is predictable – saving himself over any one or anything else is the route he will take.

  82. Brad says:

    Not happening. First , Democrats want Trump as the nominee. Why would they give that up? And second, Trump may be a quitter but he is also delusional . I pick delusional

    • Andrew says:

      “Democrats want a trump as the nominee” — sure, but the Democratic Party wouldn’t be who offers Trump a plea. It’s up to the special counsel, not the DCCC.

    • Ed Grey says:

      “What Democrats want” is for all the Republican traitors in office to face serious consequences, including disqualification from holding office. The list is not short – Trump, Gaetz, Gosar, Greene, Meadows, McCarthy, Paul, Hawley, Boebert, McConnell, Biggs, Tuberville, to name just the ones I can think of in a minute or so.

      As far as the reality-based community is concerned, the GOP has become a criminal, terrorist organization with serious, unsavory ties to Russia, and attempts to pooh-pooh this are short-sighted at best, and from criminal accomplices at worst.

  83. Andrew Malkin says:

    Great post replete with the usual top-notch data points. Doesn’t the GOP NEED Trump to stay in the race to have any chance of winning in ’24? And in the unlikely event Trump takes a plea bargain and doesn’t run, who will fill the void with so many at like 2-3% today?

    • Andrew says:

      The other GOP contenders are at 2-3% only because Trump is still in the race. If he were to drop out, it changes the math entirely.

  84. Conner says:

    This is a dangerous precedence to set. It feels like they don’t actually care about the law infractions and just want him not in office. Also “the math” very thin here, I don’t think you used the proper sample sizes.

    • Eric says:

      But the precedent was already set years ago — first with Spiro Agnew, and then with Nixon. Keeping Trump out of office is, in fact, the most important goal to achieve.

  85. David says:

    A President with mental problems at 80 is unlikely to be elected by the American people

    • Lindsay says:

      It is wild to me that you could be referencing either the Democratic or likely Republican candidate in your comment here. We really need some depth to both benches when it comes to party leadership. If they were 80 and CEOs, they’d be seen as too old to be running things and their judgement would be questioned. In government at 80 you’re given even more leadership. Wild.

  86. Andrew says:

    The smart thing for Trump to do would be to take a plea deal. But he rarely does the smart thing. His M.O. is “never apologize, never back down, never admit wrongdoing”. A plea deal contravenes that entire mindset he seems locked into.

  87. Michael D Leffler says:

    I’m thinking Vivek in ’24.

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