Rich Lowry / August 12, 2022

Why Is the FBI Choosing Biden’s Opponent for Him?

The raid has put Trump front-and-center again. It has made it easy for him to portray himself as an embattled victim. It has caused nearly everyone in the GOP to embrace him.

Donald Trump has more than $100 million in his political war chest. But he has something even more valuable — an active FBI investigation against him.

Anyone can raise money. Few can dominate the nation’s political consciousness, cleaving the country into two passionately opposed sides and giving rise to perfervid theories and counter-theories, based on being the target of a law enforcement action. That’s the quality that Trump has brought to the table for years, and it is boosting him still.

Democrats all over the country have been cynically and not-so-subtly promoting MAGA candidates in GOP primaries. If the Federal Bureau of Investigations were doing the same thing, it wouldn’t have handled its search of Mar-a-Lago any differently.

The raid has put Trump front-and-center again. It has made it easy for him to portray himself as an embattled victim. It has caused nearly everyone in the GOP to embrace him.

Of course, none of this was intended by FBI Director Christopher Wray, although it was entirely foreseeable.

No one is above the law, yet if the FBI search was really over a document dispute, it’s hard to see how the law-enforcement stakes were big enough to justify taking a step sure to inflame roughly half the country.

The episode and its fallout are a reminder that the magnitude of controversy and attention generated by Trump is beyond what anyone else can hope to match.

Last week, Ron DeSantis suspended a “woke” county prosecutor who pledged not to enforce laws that he opposed. For a couple of days, this felt like a big deal. Yet, compared to the action at Mar-a-Lago, the firing was a picayune dispute over county government — Hollywood, Florida, compared to Hollywood, California.

The FBI search played into Trump’s hands in another way. Populism thrives on the sense that big, out-of-control forces are wielding outsize power, that things aren’t what they seem, and that institutions are fundamentally corrupt.

Trump built his political career playing to this sentiment. He portrays himself as the courageous fighter against such malign forces, and their victim.

For him, the contention that he’s being treated unfairly, a constant throughout his adult life, is both a negotiating posture (“How dare you charge such an exorbitant amount to build the clubhouse at my new golf course?”) and a worldview. In the political realm, the more he’s being cheated, the worse and more malevolent his enemies are — and the more his supporters need to rally to his side.

That’s what happened after the raid — for good reason.

It is impossible to overestimate the effect of the Russia investigation on the Republican psyche. To have a couple of years of “the walls are closing in” media coverage, speculation Trump might be a Russian agent, and an intense special counsel investigation all coming to naught and predicated on the Steele dossier that was laughably bogus from the start won’t soon be forgotten.

After that experience, no assurance that, “There’s no way the FBI would do that,” or, “Well, they had a warrant, so it must be OK,” is ever going to get any traction for Republicans.

And because any political taint around federal law enforcement naturally raises apocalyptic fears — and don’t kid yourselves progressives, you’d feel the same way if the shoe was on the other front — there is no room for modulation or nuance.

To the extent Trump becomes the central figure in a Manichean struggle between good and evil, it makes any other concern — electability, a well-considered and achievable agenda — seem small-minded by comparison.

Now, maybe what we learn about the classified material sought by the FBI turns out to be so shocking that the search looks different in the cold light of day.

Maybe, the initial rallying around Trump fades.

Maybe. For now, the chances of another Republican beating Trump for the GOP nomination look more remote. Thank you, Christopher Wray.

© 2022 by King Features Syndicate

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2022 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.