This Might Be Joe Biden’s Biggest Mistake Yet: Contemporaneously assessing a presidential administration can be difficult for obvious reasons. The administration is ongoing. Not only has the dust not settled, but in some respects, the dust hasn’t even been kicked up yet. So assigning a ‘biggest mistake’ to the Biden Administration in the middle of Joe Biden’s first-term isn’t exactly a hard science.
Biden may well only be in year three of an eight-year administration. But Joe Biden already seems to have already made a mistake that will be hard to top: the prosecution of his chief political rival, Donald Trump.
Joe Biden’s Moves and the Longterm Consquences
What is happening right now, within the Biden administration, may have noxious and enduring consequences that far out-live the octogenarian incumbent. The Department of Justice, under President Biden is leading a multi-pronged prosecution of the man Biden defeated in the 2020 presidential election – and the man Biden will most certainly face in the 2024 election. That fact pattern, regardless of the specifics, is in and of itself deeply concerning. Maybe Trump has behaved in a way worthy of prosecution, maybe he hasn’t. That’s not my point here. My point here is that the prosecution looks political. As Jack Goldsmith wrote in The New York Times: “There is no getting around the fact that the indictment comes from the Biden administration when Mr. Trump holds a formidable lead in the polls to secure the Republican Party nomination and is running neck and neck with Mr. Biden, the Democratic Party’s probable nominee.” Exactly. Forget about what Trump may or may not have done for a moment. And consider singularly what Biden is doing right now.
The perception of a politically motivated prosecution has the potential to spoil the 2024 election. Imagine: Biden using the prosecutions to berate Trump on the campaign trails/debate stage as being criminally corrupt. Biden’s primary evidence? The indictments his administration initiated. That’s not going to feel right, yet it’s likely going to be a central facet of the upcoming presidential election.
Now, if you thought the right was upset about the 2020 election – based on the concerns that mail-in ballots had been corrupted – imagine how the right is going to feel about 2024. If Trump loses, the right will scream corruption at a volume exceeding the (sizable) outcry following 2020.
Elections/democracy are not the only potential victim here. The Department of Justice, a vital component of the federal government, will also take a hit. “The Justice Department,” Goldsmith wrote, “however pure its motivations, will probably emerge from this prosecution viewed as an irretrievably politicized institution by a large chunk of the country.” Goldsmith continued: “The department has been on a downward spiral because of its serial mistakes in high-profile contexts, accompanied by sharp political attacks from Mr. Trump and others on the right. Its predicament will now very likely row much worse because the consequences of its election-fraud prosecution are so large, the taint of its past actions is so great and the potential outcome for Mr. Biden is too favorable.”
In short, Biden’s actions have the potential to further degrade public faith in our elections and our institutions. At a minimum, the Biden administration is establishing a new and unsavory precedent for how elected officials may deal with their political rivals. And that seems like pretty dangerous stuff to me.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.
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