“You can take any horse you like, as long as it’s the one closest to the door.” This expression of limited picks is known as a Hobson’s Choice and signifies that while the appearance of options is present, the actual selection is an illusion. As President Joe Biden prepares to announce his candidacy for 2024, Democrat voters must be feeling the pressure of a take-it-or-leave-it ballot.
A 2024 Malaise
Fox News reports that Biden will reveal his candidacy on Tuesday, April 25, via a pre-recorded video message – not an unusual practice for a man whose time in office has been marked by limited press accessibility. But with poll after poll exposing more than just general dissatisfaction with his presidency, his potential voting base may be wondering what he really has left to offer.
A new poll by NBC details just how unhappy the voting pool is with this illusion of choice.
Of the 1,000 people surveyed, a full 46% say they cast their ballots for Joe Biden in 2020 – five points more than those who opted for Trump. One might expect this cohort to at least be somewhat friendly to the current commander-in-chief. And yet the results of the poll signify not only a broad malaise but a warning shot to the Democratic Party in general.
Is Anyone Happy?
This question more than any other should be sounding alarm bells for Dem strategists and the Biden campaign: “If Joe Biden runs for reelection as the Democratic candidate, will you definitely vote for Biden in that election, probably vote for Biden, probably vote for the Republican candidate, or definitely vote for the Republican candidate?”
Those who responded “definitely” for Biden came in at just 21%, compared with a shocking 39% for the most likely candidate, Donald Trump. The “probably” field registered as 20% and 8% respectively. This means that even among a survey pool that heavily favored Biden in 2020, Trump has a six-point advantage.
In fact, just 26% of the respondents think Biden should throw his hat in the 2024 ring, with a mighty 70% believing that is a bad idea. Conversely, 35% say Trump should make another play for the White House – and 60% would rather he didn’t. One of the main factors cited for not wanting Joe Biden to run for office again is his age. Of those who said the current president should not run again, 49% said this was either a major or minor contributing factor.
And while the Fourth Estate has generally run cover for the president’s advancing age, it is in matters of policy that his 2024 ambitions may run aground.
It’s the Economy, Stupid
In April 2021 – soon after Biden took office – another NBC poll reported that 52% of voters favored the new president’s handling of the US economy. While not a high figure, it suggested that his party was behind him and that GOP voters were against him. This latest survey recorded just a 39% approval of his economic policy – a 13-point drop that will likely fall even further as economic indicators point to a recession.
On the question of Race Relations, the president saw a 6% decrease in approval during the same time period.
For the Biden campaign, it would be common practice to try and pooh-pooh the NBC survey as a statistical anomaly. But it is by no means an outlier.
In fact, an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll conducted last week presents exactly the same figure: Just 26% want Biden to take his shot. In that poll, 41% of Democrats said they would “definitely” vote for him if he were the eventual nominee. While certainly not a ringing endorsement, it suggests that dislike of the Republican Party may be the driving motivation.
The philosopher Aristotle wrote, “Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.” In 2024, it seems that “choice” is not on the table. Many voters may rightly question whether the Hobson’s Choice they have precludes the excellence they demand.
All opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Liberty Nation.
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