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I'll Scratch Your Candidate If You Scratch Mine

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

With the Republican Party poised to barely win the House, we will now witness some of the greatest political theater in the past half-century.

The Democratic and Republican parties have the same problem and are on track to solve each other’s problems during the next eighteen months. Both parties have a nominal leader who is not loved by a large portion of his party. In the case of the Democrats, a large majority have signaled that they do not want Joe Biden running again for president. And while Donald Trump still wins most internal polls for who should be the 2024 Republican candidate, the spectacular failure of many of the candidates that he supported and promoted leaves many in the party looking to Florida for new leadership the party.


So you have the case of two parties with leaders who are not liked by large portions of their fellow party members. So what can you do to make them go away? Well, it turns out that each party will help the other get rid of its problem. With the Republicans taking the House and thus establishing control over all committees, we certainly can expect a great deal of scrutiny of the Biden family and their various dealings with foreign entities in an apparent pay-to-play arrangement that has gone on for years if not decades. And the Republicans will no doubt get a lot of help from of all places the media. When the Washington Post and NY Times belatedly admitted that Hunter Biden’s laptop was real—after Pop Biden was in the White House—it was clear that the media might play a role in getting the Bidens out of the way of a potentially more appealing candidate. Kamala Harris, Hillary Clinton, and several sitting governors have made noises about 2024, and the papers of record might just use their position to promote stories that are politically expedient to help the Republicans in their efforts to get to the bottom of Biden, Inc. and possibly even an impeachment. So for the next year and beyond, we will see Republicans using their new committee power to look at Hunter’s dealings and his father’s role in getting rich. And the Democrats, many of them at least, will be thrilled with any path that will help take out the Bidens, President, and Dr., and open the door to a younger and potentially more appealing candidate. Expect many Democratic-sourced anonymous quotes about Biden's malfeasance and don’t be surprised to see some honest reporting by major newspapers as they try to get the Bidens to go away and not entertain a second run for the presidency.


And the Democrats will return the favor by indicting former president Trump. Attorney General Merrick Garland has been under enormous pressure to indict Trump and hurt him politically. The fact that Trump has done the latter by promoting several clunkers in the midterms and making unwise attacks against Governor DeSantis has made him less of a force in the Republican party, though he remains popular. Many Republicans will be glad to see Trump indicted and don’t be surprised if some step up to help the Democrats and their pet DoJ fight, Trump, to make room for DeSantis or another candidate whose name does not rhyme with “slump”.

So we will have the unusual theater of watching Republicans on the hill investigating Biden and Democrats and their friends in the media quietly cheering them on with the hope that Joe Biden will not run again. And over at the RFK building, the DoJ will be planning its various prosecutions of Trump and possibly his associates, and many Republicans who either do not like Trump or believe after the midterms that Trump’s time at the head of the party is over will quietly support anything that weakens the former president and keeps him occupied with something other than politics. Many will see a witch hunt, but many others will see a great reason not to nominate the former president for another go-around in 2024. 


The Republicans could ostensibly hold off investigating Biden with the hope that he will run and thus cause a serious primary between him and Kamala Harris and/or other potential candidates who see an opportunity to switch out an unpopular president. I doubt that the Republicans will be able to resist the pressure and opportunity to investigate the Bidens after so many media and social media sources made the subject of Hunter’s laptop off-limits or tried to pass it off as “Russian disinformation”. The Republicans will investigate, call witnesses, and breathlessly report discoveries of the Bidens enriching themselves, and all the while, many Democrats will quietly be cheering them on in the hope that Joe Biden will have his jersey retired while he is still wearing it. And the DoJ will not be able to not indict Trump, especially after all of the January 6th histrionics, and so the DoJ will be doing the work of many Republicans who would like to see Donald Trump not run again in 2024. 

So remember, if the 2024 match-up turns out to be DeSantis versus Kamala, you can thank the other political party for helping get rid of the one person standing in the way of these candidates.

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