It’s time to acknowledge the obvious truth about 2024: it’s going to be an election about who you want to go to the White House — and who you want to go straight to jail.
With all the normal caveats about unexpected crises, and acknowledging typical issues like the economy, Ukraine, abortion, China and the border, and the uniquely aged nature of the likely nominees themselves increasing the possibility of a health event between now and November 2024 — in a race between Hunter Biden’s dad and any Republican, but particularly Donald Trump, the orange jumpsuit looms over all.
In the context of the primary, this does nothing but help Trump. The overwhelming number of GOP voters don’t just shrug off his legal challenges; they cite it as a major rallying cry. In the latest CBS News poll, 73 percent of Trump’s voters cite “show support for his legal troubles” as a reason for their support.
Whatever Trump could be found guilty of in these cases, when set alongside the treatment of Hunter Biden by the Department of Justice in a plea deal that looks worse all the time, the targeting of the former president creates a contrast that is blatant and impossible to ignore. The New York Times had a deep dive this weekend into how close prosecutors came to striking an even weaker deal, upended only in the eleventh hour by IRS whistleblowers — a sign of just how far down the rot goes within the DoJ.
As Andy McCarthy writes at National Review:
Weiss and the Biden DoJ… acted as Hunter’s second set of defense lawyers. Predictably, given the Justice Department’s impossible conflict of interest in this case, Weiss sought to serve and protect the president. On the surface, that meant insulating Hunter from real prosecution. The main objective, however, was to steer the “ongoing investigation” away from Hunter’s dear old dad. To label the DoJ’s Joe Biden whitewash “the Hunter Biden plea deal” is like calling a green-new-boondoggle “the Inflation Reduction Act.”
The fact that Hunter’s deal making is now being reported more thoroughly in the Times, and Joe Biden’s past dishonesty about it is acknowledged even by the likes of Jake Tapper on CNN, demonstrates that it is a real albatross for the re-election campaign. But that shouldn’t be assumed to make any real difference in the likely scenario that Trump is the Republican nominee. His status as a figure of chaos and crisis was used against his proxies to great effect by Democrats in 2022 when he was not on any ballot. It will be all the easier for them to activate swing voters and Independents when he’s at the top of the ticket.
House Republicans will play into this as well, with a pending impeachment inquiry that seeks to cement the financial connection between father and son in the minds of voters.
This is not what American elections are supposed to be about. We have Democratic partisan corruption of our justice system to thank for the fact that 2024 will effectively decide this question. The frightening thing will be if it becomes the pattern not just for this election, but for all the ones that come next. It’s one thing to use the language of politics to accuse your opponent of all manner of skullduggery — from Tricky Dick to Crooked Hillary — but it’s another to use elections to decide who actually gets locked up.