The immediate political aftermath of the unprecedented FBI raid on Donald Trump's home in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, appears to be that the Republican Party is coalescing around the former president, making him an even stronger political player than he was last week.
Indeed, Townhall's Digital Content Guru Kevin McMahon (yes, that's his title... he wears a turban around the office) and I produced a video to that effect yesterday.
Some observers even suggest that this episode makes it even that much more inevitable that Trump will be the GOP's nominee in 2024. Matt Vespa here at Townhall made that case. Matt thinks the 2024 primaries are effectively over after the FBI raid, and he may be right.
Over at The Federalist, Victoria Marshall makes the case that Trump must be the 2024 nominee so he can take this fight directly at the Deep State.
With the raid on Mar-a-Lago, the regime made Trump a martyr. To his base, Trump represents a symbolic repudiation of the partisan hacks that make up the intelligence community. The more the FBI and DOJ go after Trump, the more his base will invoke his name as a rallying cry.
And therein lies the reason why Trump is the heir apparent to the GOP’s 2024 presidential nomination. Trump didn’t start the fight with the intelligence community, but he intends to finish it.
I get that... I really do. But...
I've had the same mindset this year as my friend and colleague Kurt Schlichter. Yes, we like Trump. Yes, if he is the 2024 nominee, we'll support him. But, it's good for him, the party, and the voters to have a vigorous primary process. It will make Trump a better candidate, and it will allow Trump to do something he's never done before: Run against political opponents who are friendly and who have supported him and his policies but have a different approach or temperament to get the job done.
Will he go scorched earth and employ the insulting nicknames against a person who actually thinks he was a good president and wants to continue his policies but with a different bedside manner? Maybe. Either way, it would be good for him and good for us to see what that debate looks like.
Furthermore, with the extraordinary events at Mar-a-Lago this week, one could make the case that it would be more powerful for a DeSantis or a Pompeo or a Cruz to take the White House on behalf of Trump and the party and begin the process of dismantling and re-constituting a Justice Department and FBI free of political baggage and agenda, rather than Trump doing it himself.
Should Trump become president and begin the "defunding" of the FBI, it will be viewed by many as a personal, vindictive revenge move rather than the necessary and urgent reform that it truly will be. That's not fair to Trump, but it's the reality.
If a Trump-friendly Republican comes in and does the same thing, it would remove the direct, personal aspect of the job at hand.
On the other hand, the second term of Donald Trump with no political concerns over reelection does tantalize the imagination. Starting on day one of his final term in office with election security reforms and a full re-imagination of a highly politicized DOJ/FBI could be powerful and compelling.
I suppose I'm back with Vespa on the 51/49 fence between Trump and DeSantis. We win either way, as long as they step up and do what they actually promise to do. And based on their track record, both of them will do just that.