A dark turn for Joe Biden’s presidency

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 12: President Donald J. Trump stops to talk to reporters as he walks to board Marine One and depart from the South Lawn at the White House on Tuesday, Jan 12, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

This Week: The Briefing, Vol. X, Issue 33

  • With Mar-a-Lago raid, Biden is playing with fire
  • Round One in Lisa Murkowski’s survival fight
  • Liz Cheney: politically dead woman walking


Mar-a-Lago raid: President Joe Biden’s Justice department seems absolutely determined to make Donald Trump the Republican presidential nominee in 2024. It may not be their intention, but it going to be a likely consequence if they keep this up.

That is to say, if Trump was thinking of sitting the next one out, he is surely rethinking it after last week’s raid on his home in Mar-A-Lago, Florida.

And if the Republican base had been thinking about abandoning Trump for someone else — say, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — those voters are now feeling a deeper sympathy for Trump than they did before, and they may therefore be more likely to support him because of what has happened. 

Indeed, one poll, taken by Convention of States Action, shows Republicans significantly more motivated by this than Democrats. Among Republicans, 83.3 percent reported “increased motivation” due to the raid, compared to 55.2 percent among Democrats. 

The fact that Attorney General Merrick Garland personally signed off on seeking this search warrant is extremely odd and fishy. If this was so important that it required a raid, then why did it take 18 months after Biden’s rise to the presidency to get around to it? Why is Garland’s Justice Department publicizing and thus trying to weaponize even Trump’s offers to tone things down and de-escalate the situation? 

Biden’s Justice Department appears to be genuinely out of control, in a way it hasn’t been in decades.

There is even speculation that Biden’s Justice Department is attempting to prevent the release of records related to the Russia-collusion investigation — in other words, a coverup of  Either way, presidential records requests do not typically result in FBI raids on anyone’s personal residence. Hillary Clinton was supposed to have violated the same statute and State Department records policies, yet her home was never raided, even though she literally destroyed evidence. The same is true of former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, who attempted to take copies of classified documents out of the National Archives in the early 2000s. He was at least forced to give up his law license.

Biden is known to have interfered improperly with Justice Department dealings with Trump already. He specifically instructed staff in April that he wants to see Trump prosecuted, a fairly obvious breach of his responsibility to keep politics out of prosecutorial decisions. The results of that statement of preference — namely, the raid — represents a very dark turn for the Biden presidency. This could definitely harm him in the long run. 

But in the short run, Biden has given Trump the opportunity to play the martyr. He may well live to regret having done so.

Governor 2022

Texas: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has a healthy seven-point lead over former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) in the latest Dallas Morning News poll. 

Meanwhile, a newly released and separate survey of Texas Hispanics points to some serious trouble for Democrats, particularly in South Texas. Currently, Republican Rep. Mayra Flores (R) won in the old district’s lines and currently holds the most Democratic of the three congressional districts in South Texas — the McAllen-area 34th. But the two parties’ statewide tie among Hispanics in the congressional generic ballot (Democrats have only a three-point lead in South Texas) suggests Republicans could indeed win all three seats, including the 15th (which Rep. Vicente Gonzales (D) is abandoning to run against Flores) and the Laredo-area 28th (Rep. Henry Cuellar (D)).

Either way, the shift among Hispanic voters definitely spells trouble for Democrats on the statewide level. And there’s a lot of room for improvement by Republicans. Fully 61% of Texas Hispanic voters are “bothered” by today’s Democratic Party, 57% want tougher border security measures, and 57% disapprove of Joe Biden. Perhaps most incredibly given today’s political environment, 66% of Texas Hispanics identify as “American” or “Texan” before Hispanic or Latino (21%). 

This is a stark reminder that Hispanics comprise an immensely patriotic working-class population with traditional values. For decades, Democrats were boiling the frog, keeping them onside, but they turned the heat up way too high during the Trump era. It was inevitable that someday they would leave the Democrats at some point as they move further and further leftward.

The Blue-ing of Texas that Democrats have long anticipated is going to be impossible in the short run if they aren’t winning large margins among Hispanic voters.

Wisconsin: Once again, President Trump succeeded in influencing a major primary. His endorsee, Tim Michels, won the nomination for governor over former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. However, it should also be noted that he was not successful in all of the races he attempted to affect. Trump tried but failed to knock off Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R), who refused his requests to decertify Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in the state.

Senate 2022

Alaska: incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski and her chief Republican Challenger, Kelly Tshibaka (The Trump endorsee) are virtually certain to make the general election by placing in the top four in the jungle primary to be held this week. The primary is therefore anticlimactic — the real action will come this November. Murkowski, who voted against Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation and in favor of Trump’s second impeachment, definitely has a target on her back. The biggest question Tuesday will be a purely academic one: who finishes first?  

There are 19 candidates in the race Total, but the Democrat widely expected to advance is Pat Chesbro, a school principal and fundraising underachiever who jumped in after a more prominent Democrat opted out.

The general election will employ ranked choice voting, whose outcome could be very unpredictable. Although it has been assumed that it will help Murkowski, it may not work out that way. For example, Republicans might feel safer choosing Tshibaka If they know they can choose another Republican as their second choice.

House 2022

Minnesota-5: Rep. Ilhan Omar was surprisingly almost defeated in her party primary last week by Don Samuels. Samuels, a Democratic city councilman, had campaigned against a previous referendum defunding the city police, and his campaign against Omar had a strong law-and-order theme in a city where crime has exploded since 2020. 

Omar won by just two points or 2,400 votes. This unexpectedly close result, coming as it did in the city where George Floyd was killed and among its most liberal voters, definitely calls into question the wisdom of Democrats’ defund-the-police rhetoric and action throughout the last two years. Omar was the only leftist “Squad” member to face off against a credible challenger, but this is a bit like the San Francisco situation. If even left-wing Democratic voters in Minneapolis can’t stand this, no one can.

Meanwhile, this serves as an important reminder that the vast majority of black voters are not criminals and have little sympathy for criminals, who disproportionately plague their neighborhoods.

Wyoming-At Large: Rep. Liz Cheney (R) is a politically dead woman walking ahead of Tuesday’s race against attorney and former gubernatorial also-ran Harriet Hageman. Cheney’s fate was a function of her decision to champion Trump’s second impeachment and become essentially absorbed into the Democrats’ propaganda machine about the January 6 Capitol riot. Her brand of Republicanism — heavily neoconservative, hawkish — has always smacked of something from before the Trump era. There won’t be much of a market for it in the 2024 presidential race, although that seems to be what she’s aiming at.

Her defeat will cut short her vice presidential father’s political dynasty.