The DC Swamp: A Ruthless Shark Tank Where Only the Fiercest Survive

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Washington, D.C,. It is sometimes called a swamp but that is a mistake. It is more like a shark tank where only the strongest survive. District of Columbia has the highest concentration of attorneys in the country, with a population of less than 700,000 people. It boasts 52.6 lawyers for every 1,000 residents. This is one lawyer per 19 residents. New York City has 9.1 lawyers for every 1,000 residents and Massachusetts has 6.4. This statistic highlights the unique legal ecosystem of the city, which is deeply intertwined with its political and administrative functions. It makes it the perfect laboratory for creating the politics of destruction.

It is not a coincidence that the capital has a high concentration of lawyers. D.C. is the epicenter of federal government and houses Congress, many federal agencies, as well as the Supreme Court. In this environment, approximately 40,000 lawyers are active. Many of them work for the federal governments. These lawyers play a vital role in the drafting of laws and their interpretation and enforcement, forming a symbiotic relation between law and government.

Congress, which is the beating heart of American law, heavily relies on lawyers. Law degrees are a great asset to many senators and congressmen, as they bring a wealth of knowledge that is useful in the legislative process. They are experts in complex fields like administrative and constitutional law. This is crucial to the development of comprehensive federal legislation.

Tens of thousands of attorneys work for federal agencies such as the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency. These lawyers draft regulations, enforce compliance and navigate litigation. They ensure that not only are federal regulations created, but they also enforce them and implement them through aggressive and bullying tactics.

Private-sector attorneys in Washington, D.C. are also important in pushing corporate and political agendas. The capital’s law firms are often highly specialized in government and regulatory affairs. They charge fees for their services to help large corporations navigate the maze of federal regulations. These firms have deep expertise in tax law, antitrust law, healthcare, finance and environmental law. They assist their clients with compliance, lobbying and litigation.

Lawyers are the backbone of Washington’s lobbying industry. Lawyers are often hired to work in lobbying or closely with firms that do so, using their knowledge of the legislative process and legal expertise to represent their clients. Companies such as Facebook and Amazon hire federal lobbyists for millions to draft legislation, prepare legal arguments and negotiate directly with policymakers.

As I’m certain many readers of this website have experienced, the topic of lawfare has been on my mind recently as we watched the former President get ensnared in it by lawyers. There’s no doubt that the Washington lawyers are a group and Trump is not a part of it. Even so, despite all their efforts and despite the financial damage they have caused to the former president, Trump has managed to survive this barrage of legal intimidation. His supporters are correct to make this point. His ability to endure this level of harassment is commendable.

I think that Trump supporters are mistaken when they say only Trump can handle this. On X, they argue quite frequently that DeSantis could not survive the same. The notion that Ron DeSantis could not navigate the “slings-and-arrows” Washington, D.C., was absurd. Washington, D.C. is more than a swamp. It is a shark-filled tank where only the most cunning and fierce survive. DeSantis is a Harvard educated lawyer who thrives in this environment. His legal training and sharp intelligence are valuable assets in a town where there are nearly 500 lawyers on Capitol Hill and thousands more around the city.

It’s been awhile since I wrote about this, but presidents entering the White House with no legal training are at an obvious disadvantage, particularly in today’s hyper-partisan climate of gotcha politics. Non-lawyers struggle to understand the complex regulatory and legal landscape in Washington. Non-lawyers may bring new perspectives, especially if they have a background in business, but they often lack the legal precision necessary to navigate the complex web of federal legislation and regulations.

A legal background has become more important than ever in an age where politics of destruction is rampant. I would argue that this era began in the 1970s, but it accelerated in 1993 and is back now with a vengeance. Legally trained presidents are better able to defend their policies from legal challenges and political attacks. They are able to counter opponents’ strategies more effectively by understanding the nuances of legal language.

Lawyers at federal agencies and in Congress play an important role in shaping laws and interpreting them. Legally savvy presidents can better engage with political opponents, as they understand the implications of regulatory frameworks and legal language. They can use this legal fluency to advance their agendas more effectively while avoiding legal pitfalls. This is what we’ve seen in Florida, where Governor DeSantis was repeatedly dragged to court and won.

In an environment where gotcha political tactics are the norm, it is important to be able to anticipate and react to legal maneuvers. Legal expertise is a great foundation to address the constant barrages of investigations, subpoenas, lawsuits, that are a part of the Washington, D.C. shark-infested political environment. Without this experience, presidents are left vulnerable and unable to keep up with the fast-paced legal challenges.

A figure such as Gov. Ron DeSantis’ legal expertise would make him a great candidate to drive conservative politics. It is repeated that D.C., not only a swamp, but a shark-tank where only the fittest and most shrewd can survive, is where DeSantis is best suited to thrive.

DeSantis would be a good choice to occupy an adjacent office to the West Wing, even though I have written that it is unlikely.