Trump Raid: What's Next?
On The Bombshell Tonight
It’s really hard not to just enjoy the hubris of Mr. “Lock Her Up” being raided by the FBI, but let’s actually just focus on what it all means that Donald Trump has had Mar-A-Lago raided today.
The specific search seems to be about some Presidential records and classified documents that Trump took to Mar-A-Lago, but it’s also fair to say that we don’t know what those records supposedly show, and therefore whether or not this is connected to one or both of the Grand Juries investigating the attempt to overturn the 2020 election with fake electors and January 6th, respectively. That said, on some level, the details don’t matter for the politics of all of this, and that’s where the GOP are in deep, deep trouble.
Let’s start with 2024, where the implications are decidedly mixed. If Trump ends up getting charged, then this is obviously bad for him, but if he gets to paint himself as a martyr, that will be extremely helpful at making the primary Trump versus the Deep State, which is a better battle for him than one against other Republicans. In the sense that Ron DeSantis has a chance, and I’m much, much lower on DeSantis than consensus, this is a pretty crucial step in the process.
If Trump announces relatively imminently, as Lara Trump said on Fox tonight, then he is likely going to win the primary, because as soon as he announces, he gets to spend all of his millions on TV ads for himself, and he will take away a lot of the oxygen from DeSantis and whoever else fancies a run.
But that run would have an impact in 2022, if he does indeed announce a run soon. If Trump announces he’s running soon, it gives Democrats another thing for them to argue against – as opposed to having to make some convoluted against their GOP opponents, Trump being in the front of the frame does a lot of the work to keep formerly Republican, Romney-Biden voters in the Democratic tent. The arguments that Glenn Youngkin would be a mini-Trump failed in Virginia last year in large part because Trump was out of frame, and it was a less obvious connection between the two. Now, if Trump comes back into the frame, it makes it easier for Democrats to tie Masters and Oz and Walker to him, and the bevy of Democratic House incumbents who will be running against Trumpy nominees.
But most importantly, this raid is bad news for the GOP, because at the end of the day, the GOP have been unwittingly baited into a losing electoral position for the midterms, and while it’s unlikely to be bad enough to keep the House in Democratic hands, it’s another bit of good news for Democrats who are in desperate need of it.
The Republican nominee for the Governorship of Arizona just put out a message talking about the 10th Amendment and firing the Federal Government.
A Republican Congressman in Florida is calling on the Legislature there to pass a law banning Federal law enforcement from acting in the state without the approval of the state.
Prospective GOP Speaker Kevin McCarthy is saying that if he wins the House, there will be thorough investigations into this raid.
How on earth is this a winning message for the GOP?
The GOP had a sizable winning position in the first half of this year when the midterms were a referendum on Joe Biden, yes or no, and they would win that argument because Joe Biden is deeply unpopular. With the decision in Dobbs and the fall of gas prices, the GOP have lost one of their best arguments for the midterms, because this is more of a choice than a referendum now.
That said, the GOP’s best way of getting back their lead is to focus relentlessly on the Democrats – be it their interpretation of the Inflation Reduction Act or the recession arguments, the GOP have to be talking about Biden and his failures, not themselves. And now, the GOP are starting to make this about Trump, which is not a winning issue.
Republicans need to win the Senate by winning over some number of Romney-Biden voters in the suburbs, and/or by depressing Democratic turnout in heavily Black and Hispanic areas. If the story of the midterms is “Joe Biden’s kinda shit” – a statement that, whatever the average reader of this site thinks, it decently popular in the US – then they have a good chance to get some limited reversion and some declines in turnout. But when the election becomes about Donald Trump, then Democrats and Biden 2020-disapproving now independents will be able to paper over their objections to the general administration’s failures and focus on the collective threat.
It's an insane strategy for the GOP that shows they’re not going to make strategically optimal decisions to appeal to the centre ground, because their heads are so far up their own asses that they think loyalty to Trump matters more than electability. In so doing, Lake and McCarthy are creating a circumstance where the GOP are shooting themselves in the feet and letting Democrats reframe this election away from Biden and to a choice between them and a cast of fucking crazy people.
Democrats can now tie together the defence of criminality here with the incredibly restrictive abortion policies of state GOPs and create a coherent narrative about their sensible, pragmatic approach to helping everyday Americans and the GOP’s weird obsession with criminalizing women and defending Trump. If that’s not a winning message, I don’t know what is.
Why the GOP are reacting to the Trump raid by rallying around him, I don’t know. But the people who should be very happy are the Democrats.