For progressives of every stripe, Hillary Clinton’s loss in her presidential bid represents not just a devastating setback, but a fundamental transformation of their world. While to conservatives such notions seem like overblown hysterics, to many rank and file liberals the Trump victory is akin to the Devil himself assuming the highest office in the land. People thus assume that George Soros, Clinton’s largest single donor, must be similarly gripped by catatonic despair. They are wrong. Soros is a relentless fighter who has a particular knack for pressing on no matter what. Despite the seemingly huge loss in backing the losing Clinton, Soros continues funding many campaigns and in the process winning many battles for his favored causes. At times he seems like a force of nature that simply cannot be stopped.
Losing the presidency but winning the culture war
The last thing Soros’ opponents should ever be is complacent. Regardless of whether one thinks that his backing of Clinton’s doomed campaign was a strategic error or, knowing she was likely to lose but donating anyway, merely a powerful statement of solidarity, what’s certain is that Soros is a phenomenal strategist who usually picks his battles very wisely indeed. In recent times, Soros has focused his philanthropic fusillade on high value yet relatively soft targets. In particular, George soros has focused on defeating incumbent conservative sheriffs, prosecutors and judges.
This is a brilliant move for a number of reasons. By concentrating on prosecutorial races, George Soros is tapping into perhaps the most powerful job in the country that no one pays attention to. Prosecutors hold the power of life and death in their hands. Through their discretion to bring or dismiss charges, they alone decide who will stay out of jail. What’s less understood, however, is that in the United States prosecutors, not judges, hold near absolute power over who will go to jail. The mechanism by which they control this is the plea bargain.
If a prosecutor is determined to send someone to prison and he has anything resembling a strong case, he can easily compel most defendants to accept a plea bargain whereby they will be required to serve some jail time. This is done through what is termed “loading”, or charging defendants with many crimes at once, all of which carry long sentences. By threatening to effectively send someone to jail for life should they lose at trial, when the prosecutor offers that person 6 months in county lockup, the defendant will have almost no choice but to take the offer.
Another dimension of the prosecutor’s power is their control over the state’s purse. If a prosecutor is determined to convict, they have an essentially unlimited budget at their disposal to spend on any one case. While high profile cases like the O.J. Simpson trial, where wealthy defendants are acquitted, garner much attention, in reality when a prosecutor comes gunning for someone they have little chance of winning.
All this means that prosecutors can unilaterally shape the workings of local criminal justice systems. That Soros recognized this long ago and has been accumulating a fantastic record of wins in local prosecutorial races should put his opponents on guard. They are dealing with a man who has spent a lifetime turning everything he touches to gold. And that trend shows no sign of slowing.