As Biden’s Document Woes Wax, Prospects Brighten for Trump 2024

If the former president is really becoming more careful in his utterances, he would be a formidable candidate.

AP/Andrew Harnik
President Trump at Mar-a-Lago at Palm Beach, Florida, November 15, 2022. AP/Andrew Harnik

On what we know so far, the controversy over improperly retained classified documents will almost certainly rank as one of the silliest political crises in modern American history. All appearances are that the reenactment of the invasion of Normandy at President Trump’s home at Palm Beach was a Democratic Party-inspired tactic to remind the people at the approach of the midterm elections of the semi-chaos that seems to arise when Mr. Trump is at the forefront of American affairs.

It was successful, as President Biden’s approval deficit in the polls declined to ten percent from 20 percent. This  provided a useful backdrop for the spurious Democratic terror campaign that any Republican vote was a vote for Mr. Trump and therefore for chaos, corruption, racism, and all the other outrageous defamations that the rabidly partisan, Democratic national political media have been slinging at Mr. Trump for more than six years.

The midterm elections were a terrible disappointment to the Republicans. The Democrats demonstrated that as long as Mr. Trump was an active Republican candidate for leadership, they could incite a fear of him that almost fully counter-balanced the widespread public recognition of the colossal failures of the Biden administration: the nationally self-punitive Green Terror; the deliberate inundation of the country with millions of unskilled, illegal migrants; the cross-border flow of fentanyl; and the prolongation of the Ukraine war by needless delays in arming the Ukrainians adequately.

As I’ve written here before, the fact that even though the 2020 election was almost certainly determined by the utilization of unconstitutional voting and vote-counting rules in several swing states, and though Republican House candidates got more votes overall than the Democrats in the midterms, effectively the country chose Mr. Biden over Mr. Trump twice in two years. By any objective measurement, this was a mistaken choice and though I think the explanation lies elsewhere, supporting Mr. Biden over Mr. Trump twice appears to indicate that the United States is in a classic decline as a great power.

In the aftermath of the midterm elections, it appeared to many, including me, that, given these setbacks, Mr. Trump was not electable. Certainly that was the belief of the Democrats and the Never Trump Republicans, who began jubilating at what they presumed to be the demise of Mr. Trump, in a tedious replication of the infantile bipartisan morality play that followed the invasion of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Once again, those who underestimate Mr. Trump have been drinking champagne from fire hoses prematurely.

The unofficial chief of the Never Trumpers, Senator McConnell, publicly hobnobbed with Mr. Biden and was eagerly complicit in passing the administration’s bloated $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill, and blamed the disappointing midterm elections on Mr. Trump. Mr. McConnell should not be as cooperative with Mr. Biden as Democratic Senate minority leaders Robert Byrd and George Mitchell were with Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Nor should Mr. McConnell have spent millions of Republican dollars to elect the Trump-hating independent Alaska senator, Lisa Murkowski, over the official (and authentic) Republican Kelly Tshibaka.                 

I yield to few in my consistent and vigorous support of Mr. Trump, but it seemed after the mid-term disappointments, that the Republican Party might judge Governor DeSantis of Florida to be the best bet, although I never believed in Trumpism without Mr. Trump any more than I believed in Gaullism without de Gaulle: some broad political positions are so closely identified with their original espouser that they cannot easily be seized or credibly adopted by others. 

Mr. DeSantis is serially using his position to highlight Republican issues effectively, attacking wokism in the Disney Corporation and elsewhere, reforming school curricula, sending migrants to Martha’s Vineyard in high season. Mr. Trump, though, may be on his way back. After a series of ill-considered remarks about the appearance and mannerisms of some other Republicans and the need to alter the Constitution, he seems to have realized that absence of controversy quickly builds his acceptability to voters. 

Mr. Trump looked adept supporting Congressman Kevin McCarthy as speaker and disowning the antics of some of his more pyrotechnic supporters who tried to block Mr. McCarthy, and in approving all three candidates for the Republican Party chairmanship. In putting some blue water between himself and the obstructive right of the Republicans, Mr. Trump undoubtedly encroached on the territory of Republican moderates, who include most of the Never Trumpers: the Bush-McCain-Romney Democratic look-alikes who specialize in losing elections and being fleeced by the Democrats between elections.

Right after the midterms, when the Democrats apparently thought they would not be facing Mr. Trump again, they seem to have concluded that in order to have any chance of winning, they were going to have to put their faltering incumbent out to pasture. What better way than to tar him with the same brush as Mr. Trump with this unutterable nonsense of the Espionage Act — in Mr. Biden’s case, in respect of documents that he trundled away as senator and vice president, from between six and 16 years ago. 

They didn’t need to consider indicting Mr. Trump anymore, so why not replicate this effective ruse that they had employed in the run-up to the midterms to force Mr. Biden out while seeming to be bipartisan? Just as they decided that they didn’t need to indict Mr. Trump, he has started to rise again in the polls, as he always does when he is not too much in the news. 

At the moment, the polls are divided; they generally show that Mr. Trump would defeat Mr. DeSantis and other Republicans, though it would be close with Mr. DeSantis. Yet in running against Mr. Biden, Mr. DeSantis leads Mr. Trump. The most traditionally anti-Trump polls continue to post huge majorities against the former president: the CNN poll had him trailing Mr. Biden by 2 to 1 last week. But others with less biased histories show the former president running even or ahead of Mr. Biden.       

If Mr. Trump is really becoming more careful in his utterances, he will be formidable; he is a more powerful campaigner and hustings antagonist than Mr. DeSantis, who is thirty years younger and could easily agree to support Mr. Trump in 2024 for the same favor from Trump in 2028. While the document concerns are over-hyped rubbish in both cases, Mr. Biden’s problem could erupt. 

Delaware’s United States attorney, David Weiss, is bucking for the John Durham Prize for absurdly long and ineffectual grand jury investigations in his inquiry into Hunter Biden’s conduct; his role is being admirably filled by the enterprising Australian journalist Miranda Devine, who from Sydney is closing in on the issue of whether Hunter Biden was using these classified documents in his father’s garage and elsewhere in his energetic influence-peddling activities. 

If this catches fire and Mr. Weiss is jerked out of his Rip Van Winkle torpor, the Biden presidency will go up the chimney. No Democratic candidate next year will easily live down the Biden Presidential Fiasco. The day may come, and soon, when the country will judge Mr. Trump on his outstanding record, as probably one of the country’s ten best presidents, and his opponents on their disgraceful perversion of several of the nation’s foremost nonpartisan institutions, all to serve their pathological hatred of Donald Trump.

The New York Sun

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