Washington is all atwitter over the classified documents found at Joe Biden’s private office and Delaware home. Republicans are giddy, comparing Biden’s situation with Trump’s. They’re hoping to muddy the water despite the obvious differences. Trump ignored a subpoena and tried to claim the documents are his. Biden’s team called the FBI when they made the discovery and had the Feds remove the classified material. Also, Biden had a dozen or so folders and Trump had boxes of them. If Trump is indicted in documents investigation, it will be for obstruction, not having the documents in his possession.
Regardless, I don’t think it’s going to matter. The public is over it. They are over the outrage and they are over Trump. The death of Lisa Marie Presley is going to get a lot more attention with most people than Biden’s document screw up, regardless of what the DC press corps does. The incident will remain a minor headache for the administration and a full-time obsession on Fox News and right-wing radio, but most of America will tune it out.
The bigger stories that are emerging have to do with Trump and the crazy GOP House caucus. Trump’s becoming increasingly less relevant to the majority of Americans, but still has a hold on a solid portion of the Republican base. His presidential launch has been a dud, mostly ignored by the public and the media and yet Kevin McCarthy is still kissing his ass. Some of the GOP right-wingers who tried to deny McCarthy the Speakership say that Trump had little to do with their votes and the deal to finally elect McCarthy.
The Republicans seem to be unable or unwilling to read the electorate. Instead of addressing problems facing middle-class families still trying to get on their feet in the wake of the pandemic, they’re focused on abortion and investigations that people don’t care about. They seemed to have missed that their party is alienating young people and women and they’re still focusing on their aging, angry White base. The party is still hostage to its most its extreme elements despite a desire among some Republicans to move on. That’s the price of allowing extremism and corruption to grow unabated.
Since the election of Donald Trump, Americans have had seven years of upheaval and disruption. As president, he was divisive and demeaning of his political rivals, his political allies, and our civic and government institutions. COVID then further divided the country and permanently changed the way we live and work. The American people are tired of transition and outrage. They just want to get to normal, whatever that might look like.
They don’t want continued politically charged investigations. They’ve generally accepted that Trump was corrupt and polarizing and they believe he bears responsibility for January 6. They might not be thrilled with any politician right now, but they understand that Biden is a fundamentally decent man who has their best interests at heart, even if they might disagree with some of his policies. They are just starting to feel and believe the good economic news, even if rising interest rates and inflation are still a burden. They want calm, not conspiracy theories and posturing. They are ready to put the divisiveness behind us.
Republicans would be wise to listen. Cranking up a bunch of political investigations will further alienate a middle that rejected them in the 2022 midterms. As Trump loses influence, his core base will start to lose interest. The 2024 election will draw out more of the young people and people of color who sat out the election. The GOP isn’t going secure those votes trying to demonize a president who has been on the national stage since 2008 or criminalizing abortion. Republicans should come to terms with the fact that they lost the 2022 election even if they won a narrow majority in the House.