2024 Is Probably Biden-Trump Rematch. Deal.

Last December, Olivia Nuzzi wrote about “Donald Trump’s sad, lonely, thirsty, broken, basically pretend run for reelection.“ It was pathetic. The has-been despot was barely leaving his Florida reduced-for-quick sale Xanadu. However, it looks as if his half-assed campaign won't require a full-assed effort to defeat his likely 2024 primary opponents.

According to a recent Morning Consult election tracker, Trump remains well ahead of a hypothetical crowded field that apparently learned nothing from 2016. He's at 49 percent to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis's 31 percent, which is what we in the business call a "slaughter."

Trump's former DeSaad Mike Pence is at seven percent. I doubt increased name recognition will help. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, the devil in blue jeans and a sweater vest, is losing to literally anyone else.

Trump's UN ambassador and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who's days away from officially launching her doomed presidential campaign, is "generating buzz." Morning Consult says that 40 percent of potential GOP primary voters have recently "heard something about her, marking the highest level of awareness since November." That’s good! However, only three percent said they'd vote for her in their primary or caucus. That’s bad! (Her frogurt is also cursed.)

If it looks like the field hasn't been cleared for Trump in 2024, it's only because sanitation hasn't yet removed all the corpses.

The world is beautiful and strange. No one can predict the future. But Trump is obviously the 2024 Republican nominee. Maybe he could slip in the tub. But, while a repellent image, that’s not a strategy.

The upside is that President Joe Biden has defeated Trump once, so he’s a safe bet to deliver another ass whooping. (Unfortunately, Trump will probably coup again, leading to more violence.)

However, Michelle Goldberg at the New York Times suggests we ditch Biden on account of old and roll the dice on a new untested model. Hey, it’s just democracy at stake! Let’s have a tedious, bruising primary again while Trump moonwalks to the nomination.

In her op-ed "Biden’s a Great President. He Should Not Run Again," Goldberg writes, “Biden has been a great president. He’s made good on an uncommon number of campaign promises. He should be celebrated on Tuesday [at the State of the Union]. But he should not run again.” Yes, I realize this is just a lengthier way of repeating the headline, but I guess repetition is important when your argument is absurd. It worked when I proposed.

There’s a rift in the Democratic Party about whether this is wise for an 80-year-old to do. Democratic officials are largely on board, at least publicly, but the majority of Democratic voters are not. “Democrats say he’s done a good job but he’s too old,” said Sarah Longwell, an anti-Trump Republican strategist who conducts regular voter focus groups. “He’ll be closer to 90 than 80 by the end of his second term.”

Hey, if the anti-Trump Republican — who recently tweeted her support for a Larry Hogan candidacy — says we should put a successful president to pasture, who are we to question her motives?

Goldberg goes on:

But it’s hard to ignore the toll of Biden’s years, no matter how hard elected Democrats try. In some ways, the more sympathetic you are to Biden, the harder it can be to watch him stumble over his words, a tendency that can’t be entirely explained by his stutter. Longwell said Democrats in her focus group talked about holding their breath every time he speaks.

This was obviously written before a vibrant Biden ran circles around a "Def Comedy Jam" Republican audience at the State of the Union.

If Biden faces Trump, who will be 78 next year, that might not matter.

He’s facing Trump. Let’s get real.

But with many polls showing Trump’s popularity slipping and with the deep-pocketed Koch network lining up against him, chances are good that Biden’s competitor will be someone much younger, like Ron DeSantis, who will be 46 in 2024. … For Democrats, the visual contrast alone could be devastating.

This is 53-year-old Paul Rudd.

This is currently 44-year-old Ron DeSantis.

If we’re talking devastating visual contrasts, Biden’s the one with enough sense to buy suits that fit

Last July, during a rough patch for the president, Goldberg declared that "Joe Biden Is Too Old To Be President Again." (It's a theme with her.) She admits that had Biden "decided not to run for re-election then, it probably would have looked like an admission of failure. Now his political legacy seems more secure. He’ll cement it if he has the uncommon wisdom to know when the time has come for a valediction, not a relaunch."

If Biden doesn’t run for re-election, Goldberg's own paper will promote the narrative that he’s quitting like a common LBJ because he failed miserably. No Democrat can run on Biden’s outstanding record if Biden himself bails.

No, we are having a Biden/Trump rematch. Folks on either party need to stop wishing otherwise and get back to work keeping Trump out of the White House. It’s not entirely like 2020 again. We can at least enjoy live theatre.

[Morning Consult / New York Times]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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