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Can Joe Biden Still Win the Presidential Election?

Biden may appear unelectable, but Trump loyalists refuse to believe it’s over.

by | Feb 15, 2024 | Articles, Good Reads, Opinion, Politics

The presidential election of 2024 has been viewed in negative or even pejorative terms by large swaths of the American electorate. Bring us newer, younger candidates, the voters demand, believing Trump and Biden to be spent forces. Trying to predict an election between an incumbent who has now proven not to be in full control of his faculties and his immediate predecessor running under the weight of multiple criminal indictments is challenging beyond measure. For many months, it was hard to envision either candidate winning. Throw in a gaggle of declared and potential interlopers – Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and others – and it appeared that we would be headed for another free-for-all come November 5.

But are we really?

Ordinarily, when facing a candidate whose brand has been so degraded, his opponent should win in a breeze. But, of course, Trump is anything but ordinary. The relentless, eight-year-long campaign to drive him into the gutter – and now throw him behind bars before the country votes – has had an undeniable impact on his popularity. But it is now just as indisputable that when the issue of a president’s very ability to perform his job is in question, little else matters – unless he can somehow convince voters who view him as “too old” that their perception is flawed. But to say this is a settled issue among the voters would be an understatement. Recent polls show that some 80% of the electorate shares that abiding concern.

The key word in that formulation is “too” old. Suppose the question was simply whether Biden’s age is an issue, one of many. In that case, he might be able to deflect it effectively enough by proclaiming that his experience has produced wisdom sufficient to offset his apparent deficits. But “too” implies that he has crossed the line of acceptability, that the problem is too severe to be fixed, and renders Biden as a bridge too far for average Americans who just want competent governance – with or without mean tweets.

Thus, whether either Biden or Trump could win has now been reduced to whether Biden can survive and Trump in a most unfamiliar place – in the lead. But more importantly, with inflation warping the economy, our southern border on fire, and two grinding wars of attrition in our sphere of influence, the temperament of Donald Trump has become almost a secondary issue. Who would have thunk it?

Biden Must Stop Pretending All Is Well

New banner Memo - From the Desk of Senior Political Analyst Tim Donner 1Sure, Democrats will continue to scream defiantly from the rooftops that the country we know will cease to exist if voters double down on 2016 and put Trump back in the White House. They will press the abortion issue to the wall – it’s about all they’ve got beyond fear of 45. But if a person is perceived as incapable of performing his job as leader of the free world right now, and certainly not for another five years, which the American public now believes in overwhelming numbers, that becomes a disqualifying issue. Yes, some have said they would literally vote for a dead Biden over a live Trump, but those are people who would never have voted for Trump in the first place.

While most on the left have been either in denial, enraged, or panicked by the final unmasking of Biden’s neurological condition by special counsel Robert Hur, some have claimed he still has a viable path to victory. Writing in Real Clear Politics, veteran political strategist Louis Perron lays out a three-step plan to propel Biden across the finish line. First, “… be brutally honest internally about the state of things.” He stipulates that “[t]he reality is that it’s awfully difficult to give powerful people bad news,” but that “it’s impossible to plan and launch a comeback in denial.” Second, Biden “needs to acknowledge the situation and take responsibility. If an incumbent is vulnerable, voters are unhappy with the state of things. Ignoring what they are saying (or appearing as such) would be fatal.” And third, the president “needs to fight and win back ownership over the dominant issue. Most of the time … that’s the economy.” The chances of Biden achieving those three goals while swatting away the oversized elephant in the room known as his cognitive decline is anyone’s guess. But it is doubtful bettors would be rushing to the tables to lay money on such a proposition.

Canceling Trump: A Massive Backfire

The campaign to cancel Trump before the 2024 election will go down as one of the most colossal failures in political history. How else could you describe a scheme to drive the man’s approval into the ditch through the legal system, only to see his numbers rise every time they do so? Leftists must hope against hope that a guilty verdict on even a single count against the man they hate with immeasurable passion, and the likely subsequent campaign to show Trump at least figuratively or digitally behind bars, will override the widespread rejection of the doddering old man currently occupying the Oval Office.

But whether that wishful thinking works out or not, the failure of the left’s strategy goes even deeper. By overplaying their hand on January 6 – selling it as an insurrection rather than a protest-turned-riot – and conducting a widespread “lawfare” campaign of dubious charges against Trump, they are increasingly just screaming into the darkness. By employing novel legal theories to indict and remove him from the ballot and/or send him to prison, Democrats are actually demonstrating in real-time precisely what Trump has claimed all along – that the Swampocracy is corrupt to its core.

Just as Trump’s strength serves as a bookend to Biden’s weakness, and Trump’s record of peace and prosperity stands in sharp contrast to his successor, it seems we are seeing the flip side of 2020 when everything seemed to go wrong for the incumbent Trump. The election became a referendum on him. This time, the roles are reversed, with Biden fighting off one crisis after another and now subject to a referendum of his own.

So, Trump voters should feel giddy, right? Perhaps, but many – if not most – do not. Recent conversations with Trump loyalists reveal they remain deeply suspicious of the process, expressing fears of a rigged election despite polling that can only be called astounding when one considers where Trump stood before leftists commenced their legal witch-hunt. It begs the question of what might happen if Biden continues to run behind in the popular vote – which he never did in 2020 – and in battleground state polls, but then is declared the winner when the smoke clears from Election Day. If Trump could lose the popular vote twice and still come within about 40,000 votes of winning the election both times, could the country be convinced that he captured the popular vote for the first time in 2024, but still lost? Buckle your seat belts. Just because Joe Biden appears headed for the dust heap of history does not mean the left has given up or that Donald Trump should be re-measuring the drapes in the Oval Office quite yet.

Read More From Tim Donner

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