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The 2024 Presidential Campaign Revives the Hillary Playbook

It’s back to the future.

By now, we have gotten used to this – Hillary Clinton inserting her foot firmly in her mouth. This time, she compared a potential victory by Donald Trump and his deplorable supporters in November to a Nazi triumph in World War II: “Eighty years ago today, thousands of brave Americans fought to protect democracy on the shores of Normandy. This November, all we have to do is vote,” the 2016 presidential loser declared on her X account.

Hillary just keeps embarrassing herself, and on the world stage, no less. It brings back into vivid view her own dismal, joyless presidential campaign eight years ago – and how it appears increasingly relevant to the current campaign. Like Joe Biden calling Trump supporters semi-fascists, Clinton felt so entitled and so certain of vanquishing Donald Trump that she casually insulted half the country as not just deplorable, but worse, irredeemable. It still stands as arguably the biggest mistake in American political history.

Hillary was positive she would finally receive her just reward and glide into the first female presidency, knowing that if there were trouble, a friendly corporate media would simply help her close the deal in creating the specter of a hellish, dystopian landscape in the event of the unthinkable, a Trump victory. In her mind, even a shocking, widespread electoral spasm would not prevent her from winning. But of course, it did.

The more you consider the campaign now being conducted by Joe Biden, the more it appears like a back-to-the-future replay of 2016. The president seems to be reading from Clinton’s playbook: scaring the bejesus out of the voters while vilifying his despised opponent, Donald Trump – all the while hoping Trump’s defeat of Hillary was a black swan event, unrepeatable once the voters realize just how destructive Donald Trump really is. In 2020, they ran against Trump’s record and effectively pinned the blame on him for COVID-related death and destruction. This time, with Biden on the ropes and ready for a standing eight count, they are forced to resort to the same failed strategy of 2016.

But there is one thing very different this time around. Trump took the Democrats by surprise in his first run at the White House. They did not take the bombastic billionaire seriously until it was too late, and they were then forced to concoct scandals – think Russia collusion, et al. – to take him down before ultimately relying on the chaos surrounding the pandemic to liberalize voting laws and push basement-bound Joe Biden across the finish line. But now, like eight years ago but unlike four years ago, the pandemic is not an issue, there is no act of God so substantially favoring the Democrats, and Biden no longer has the advantage of having no record. The president has a record, alright, but he has so little confidence in running on it that he has been reduced to trance-channeling the most famous loser in American political history.

Another difference is the capacity of Biden to communicate any sort of coherent message. Hillary may have conducted a sub-par campaign, but she could at least sound lucid, raise a crowd, and appear energetic. Not so the current president. Worse still, Biden will only get older, and his condition won’t get any better.

As a result, most informed observers agree that going scorched earth is the only strategy Biden has left. His argument is the same as the one Hillary laid out in her infamous deplorables speech: “I am all that stands between you and the apocalypse.” His argument is fortified, he believes, by his newfound ability to add the cherished label of “convicted felon” to the political lexicon. The 46th president is hoping against hope that the one element voters cannot seem to accept about him will not be decisive.

The Single Disqualifying Factor in a Presidential Race

Indeed, Trump’s conviction does not change the one fact that stands between Joe Biden and a second term, and it has nothing to do with his unpopular policies. More than four out of five, 86%, of respondents in a recent ABC News poll believe Biden is “too old” to serve another four years. This does not even account for the likely prospect of Vice President Kamala Harris ultimately rising to commander-in-chief when Biden runs entirely out of gas.

New banner Memo - From the Desk of Senior Political Analyst Tim Donner 1The word ‘too’ in “too old” implies disqualification. In other words, respondents are not just saying “his age is a factor,” or “his age of 81 is more worrying than Trump at 77,” or that his age/condition/appearance is a liability to be weighed against his assets. It means these voters have all but disqualified Joe Biden. Add all the usual caveats – things can change, Biden could rise, Trump could fall or blow it from here – but even if voter attitudes undergo a seismic shift on all the issues where Biden is well underwater, he is still going to present as, in the famous words of US attorney Robert Hur, an elderly man with a poor memory. Fun at the Thanksgiving table, perhaps, but not, according to Hur’s pivotal assessment among many others, up to continuing as the leader of the free world.

If an editor at Liberty Nation says a story is “too long,” for example, that doesn’t mean it will be accepted anyway. It means it will not be published in its present form. But, while any story can be truncated in any number of ways to make it ready for publication, there is absolutely nothing Joe Biden can do to fix the problem of his age and cognitive condition. Instead, outside of pure partisans and Trump-haters, his ability to actually perform his job is a factor nothing else is likely to outweigh. Evidently, this has Biden feeling trapped, and only a teardown of Donald Trump will allow him to escape.

Hillary Biden or Joe Clinton?

Another similarity in character to Mrs. Clinton is Biden’s inability to sustain a proper decision. Exhibit A is that on October 8, this president offered up a full-throated defense of Israel, but soon took to appeasing the pro-Hamas radicals, leaving both sides utterly dissatisfied, as evidenced by a massive anti-Israel protest demonizing Biden outside the White House over the weekend. It’s not unlike Hillary, who even when she does the right thing, cannot sustain it. After properly conceding to Trump on the morning after Election Day in 2016, she later reversed field and called him “an illegitimate president,” among other pejoratives, adding that “he knows” he stole the election. So we can be all but certain that will also happen again in the event of another Trump victory eight years later – and the irony of Democrats whining ex-post-facto about an illegitimate election, the same charge they have repeatedly leveled against Trump, will hardly be lost on the citizenry.

But there is another part of history that Biden might fear to replicate. In 1980 as now, another very unpopular president, Jimmy Carter, hung close to challenger Ronald Reagan for most of the campaign by depicting him as a risky, reckless extremist (see, it didn’t start with Trump). But in the final days leading up to the election, as voters focused on what another four years of the same would look like, the dam burst, with undecided and independent voters breaking heavily for Reagan, leading him to a 45-state sweep. At that point, Carter was 56 years old. Biden would be 86 at the end of a second term.

Unlike Reagan, Trump is already a known quantity as a former chief executive of the United States, dampening much of the most extreme rhetoric about his intentions. With Biden’s age and condition serving as disqualifying factors in the minds of so many, it seems the Democrats’ only path to victory this time is to claim Trump will do all the apocalyptic things Hillary warned he would do – but didn’t – the first time around, promising that he really means it this time. As both Trump and Biden said following the verdict heard ‘round the world in a Manhattan courtroom, the true judgment on the Biden presidency, and his Hillary-style, scorched-earth strategy that has vaulted Trump into the lead, will come on November 5.

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