Republicans are defending Trump against the FBI raid, but just wait

Maybe an attempted violent overturning of an election and rampant activity worthy of criminal investigation from federal authorities don’t register as problems—or realities—to the Republican base. But in a general election, it’s all gunk that makes Trump less electable.

And that will influence the dynamics of the 2024 presidential primary. You don’t want to nominate someone who can’t win.

Sure, it’s true that Republican primary voters don’t respond to electability concerns the way that Democrats do. When Democratic primary voters see just one New York Times primary poll suggesting a candidate might be a risk, they immediately settle for a sentient bowl of water-flavored ice cream with a military background. Republican primary voters are much more inclined to nominate long shots when dared to do so. They nominated Trump in 2016, and it worked.

But it didn’t in 2020, when Trump blew a very winnable election by being who he is. “Who he is” became an even riskier future general-election prospect between Nov. 3, 2020, and the inauguration of President Joe Biden a few months later. Is Trump a risk worth taking again when we’re trying to save America from the left? will be a central question in the 2024 Republican presidential primary. And maybe, just maybe, even in our dumb political reality, a simple conclusion will be simple enough: Being investigated by the Justice Department doesn’t actually improve your future political prospects.