Opinion: Manhattan jury pool isn’t that liberal

photo by: Contributed

Froma Harrop

A rumor’s going around that the Manhattan jury pool could not have produced 12 peers willing to give Donald Trump a fair shake. And that explains the jurors’ decision to find him guilty on all 34 charges in the hush money case.

That rumor is unfounded, however. It is true that there are far more registered Democratic voters in Manhattan than registered Republicans, 70% versus just under 8%. But that 8% represents almost 87,000 Republicans. We can assume that registered Democrats are perfectly able to impartially assess evidence. (Trump’s lawyers had to approve them.) Likewise, Republican Manhattanites are capable of finding fault in an ex-president’s conduct.

The share of registered Republicans has been dropping in recent years as the party turned into a MAGA amusement park. It’s a fair guess that many haven’t officially defected and are merely heartbroken that so much of their party has dropped the conservative virtues.

New York City, meanwhile, is not the left-wing hotbed of Fox News’ imagination. Mayor Eric Adams is a law-and-order Democrat whose main political irritant is the city’s left-wing fringe. Of the seven mayoral terms that preceded his, three were led by Republicans, three by Democrats and one by an independent.

The perception problem for New York Democrats comes from media giving outsized attention to a few flamboyant radicals. A few dozen protesters recently walked out of NYU’s graduation ceremony at Yankee Stadium, but 40,000 other graduates stayed. The Fox News headline: “NYU students walk out of commencement, demand university divest from Israel.”

And the liberal media did little better.

Manhattan is largely a rich borough, and its Republicans have tended toward traditional conservatism. They like civic order and a strong defense. Trump is not their guy. Trying to violently overturn the results of an election is beyond the pale. And only a dangerous clown would invite Vladimir Putin to invade Europe.

Their kind of conservative would not blow up the federal deficit: Trump piled up more national debt than Barack Obama. Joe Biden is adding to deficits, true, but the money is going to investments in the country — to fix bridges, expand internet access, build the chips industry. Trump talked a lot about a desperately needed infrastructure program, but talk was all he did.

Investors are happy that the Dow Jones Industrial average recently closed past 40,000. And despite the challenges of persistent inflation in some sectors, the U.S. economy remains the envy of the world.

While some MAGA constituencies may find servile pleasure in having Trump pat them on the head, these conservatives and their libertarian cousins are not as receptive. When Trump tried to flatter libertarians at their recent convention, the audience booed him.

“Any libertarian worth their stripes who has looked at Donald Trump’s record, will see that he barely aligns with the conservative camp and is a far cry from the Libertarian Party,” said Steven Nekhaila, director of the Libertarian National Committee.

There was a time when many Manhattanites of various political leanings found Trump entertaining, and give this to him, he is an entertainer. But he was never Mr. New York or the king of Gotham real estate. The thing that made him real money was a reality TV show.

There is no way of knowing how many of Trump’s jurors were registered Democrats, but all had serious jobs. They worked in law, banking, engineering, wealth management, health care. You didn’t have community organizers and social workers.

Judge Juan Merchan, by the way, was first appointed to the city’s court system by Mayor Mike Bloomberg, when Bloomberg was a Republican.

Say what you want about the verdict. It was honestly reached.

— Froma Harrop is a syndicated columnist with Creators.


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