Here’s your 2024 election related mystery for the day:
Will Donald Trump’s legal problems -- or senile president Joe Biden’s age and health related issues -- end up being more problematic for the candidate when Americans finally run out of procrastination excuses and are forced to either fill out their mail-in ballots or stand in the precinct booth staring at a piece of paper (or touch screen) that says “Trump-R” or “Biden-D” on it with boxes to check next year?
The answer, of course, depends on who you ask. Present the query to a Democrat and you’ll likely receive a harangue about January 6th and “insurrection” and a reference to Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger and/or the usual #NeverTrump turncoats like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, all “Republicans who think Trump is a criminal and belongs behind bars.” The Democrat will add something to the effect of, “No one is above the law” and proceed to recite the litany of charges the former president is dealing with from New York City to South Florida, to Washington DC to Fulton County, Georgia, the whole time thoroughly convinced that even the most ardent of Trump fans will “come to their senses” and refuse to vote for a man who might be in prison by the time the election rolls around.
Likewise, ask a conservative or Republican Trump enthusiast and he or she will reply with, “Not only is Biden senile, it’s a political witch-hunt”, “They’re not after Trump, they’re after us”, or, “ Senile Joe Biden is the most personally corrupted man who’s ever slid into the White House”, or, “I don’t care what anyone says, when it boils down to an either/or choice between Trump and his excellent policies or that senile old liar and his Obama-like drive towards socialism, people will vote their pocket books.”
In other words, there’s no simple way to determine which set of negative factors will matter more to the hundred-million-plus voters a year from now. No doubt a good many of them will use the same reasoning method they employed in 2016, meaning they’ll willingly accept an imperfect man who gets things done as opposed to a proven liar who coasted off his son’s shady business dealings to enrich himself.
(Note, in 2016, it was Trump and his list of would-be Supreme Court nominees that was the prime decider between the Republican and Crooked Hillary Clinton.)
Trump’s legal quandary will resolve itself over time; he’ll either be convicted or acquitted, or the Supreme Court will step in to toss out some of the charges altogether. Trump will conduct his campaign business as usual, fundraising after every blip of bad news and then reveal whether he’d keep his vow to serve even if confined to a prison cell.
Meanwhile, senile Joe Biden’s age-related dilemmas will never resolve themselves, and here’s thinking Democrats will grow more and more frustrated with the incumbent’s unwillingness to step aside before it’s too late. Senile Joe is legendarily bull-headed, and has never appeared to listen to anyone, much less those who told him he couldn’t do something. Joe isn’t just “above the law” -- he thinks he’s age-defiant, too.
“Biden takes an exacting interest in the mechanics of his nascent campaign, insisting on approving advertisements and interviewing would-be staffers. He is, however, less willing to be handled, which makes it difficult for his advisers to raise such a sensitive matter.
“Biden has conducted little polling on how to reassure voters about his age, complains bitterly about his intra-party critics who raise the issue in public and is unwilling to consider hearing aids, according to Democrats close to him.
“He can’t slow the march of time, of course, and nor can he fully defuse the issue. But Biden can do more than to ad-lib a joke about being 110 years old. His own supporters and lawmakers are all but pleading with him to take the matter seriously, because simply saying ‘watch me,’ as he often retorts when asked about his age, is precisely the problem: people are and it’s still the overriding issue troubling them the most about his candidacy.”
Getting down to the nitty gritty, Martin is right about age being the most salient subject to those biased and/or crazy enough to want another four years of watching senile Joe Biden dodder and lie and obfuscate and deflect and pontificate and grit his teeth over matters big and small. But, in a way, Biden’s age also provides them convenient cover for the president’s more obvious governing deficiencies, too.
How, you ask? Pretend you’re on “The View” and the topic of inflation or government debt or Biden’s immigration policy or some other senile Joe failure bubbles to the surface. All you’d need to do is then reply, “Well, Biden’s dealing with a lot of personal health challenges. He’s older than West Virginia, you know, but despite all he’s been confronted with, he’s still managed to get things done for liberals and I think he deserves another few years to finish the job. But only if he keeps Kamala Harris on his ticket, though.”
To his credit, Martin, in his piece, reported that a number of Democrats have broached that one way for Biden to demonstrate he’s still “with it” would be to allow a primary challenger (or more than one) where he could prove his bona fides to the national voters along the way, just as he did in 2020, right?
In my mind, there are two main factors for Biden’s age question that won’t ever go away. The first is, he’s doing a crappy job as president. Senile Joe’s ratings on the economy are abysmal, but there’s much more to it than that. News of his crooked dealings with sleazebag son Hunter is slowly trickling into the mainstream consciousness and his once-solid “likability” myth has been roundly shattered. Voters are fed up with being lectured about how “climate change” is a bigger threat to humanity than nuclear war is.
One can only say so many stupid and inane things before people start to wonder about him or her. To put it frankly, Americans are tired of senile Joe Biden. Age is certainly contributing to the fatigue – would you want senile Joe to represent your family at a formal gathering? – but his inability to relate to people the way he was supposed to do has been exposed to the world.
In other words, if Biden were doing his job properly in the average person’s eyes, we’d never hear a word about his age. Folks would clamor for more, wouldn’t they? Democrats pass over Biden’s glaringly unpopular policies by hinting people merely don’t trust that he can serve another term. Which leads me to the second factor why Biden’s age questions won’t subside.
Kamala Harris. It’s safe to say a presidential nominee’s second-in-line or vice-presidential candidate doesn’t normally make much of a difference to his chances of success, but because senile Joe is so visibly deteriorating, Americans gravitate towards who comes next and they struggle to contain their gag reflex. Some Democrats wouldn’t concede it, but I think many, many liberals don’t like Kamala – at all.
If this weren’t the case, wouldn’t she have done better in the 2020 Democrat primary campaign? Not only is Harris inarticulate, slow on her feet, off-putting to those who work for her and like poison to an otherwise palatable Democrat combo – her presence shines a spotlight on Biden’s actuarial obstacles. Somebody, somewhere, has probably set odds on how likely senile Joe is to finish a second four years, and if he doesn’t beat those betters, cackling Kamala Harris will become the 47th president.
Once a voter realizes it, they picture Harris delivering policy positions to the world. Is this image something anyone can truly stomach? Better prepare that Pepto Bismol, folks, because Kamala is a comin’!
So, in essence, there isn’t a whole lot Democrats can do to diffuse age concerns surrounding senile Joe. His policies aren’t popular and his vice president is regarded as an Affirmative-Action placeholder, but one with real potential power. No slick “I’m really not that old” marketing campaign would overcome these worries about a second Biden/Harris ticket. Democrats are stuck with the 80-year-old question unless Biden himself agrees to take his name out of contention.
Then there’s Trump, who attracts controversy and aggressive Democrat persecutors faster than a grizzly bear snuffs out a honey hive. Trump certainly didn’t court the attention, but his incessant drive for news coverage – any news coverage – might’ve proved too tempting for the lifelong celebrity to resist.
This focus on notoriety is the primary driver of people – even supporters – to accuse Trump of “only being in it for himself” and that he “only cares about his own fortune”. Many have argued that Trump, in his position, should not have run for president this time because he knew the hailstorm would be brought down on his head, allegedly making him unelectable.
Trump’s enduring popularity refutes this allegation, though, again, we haven’t yet seen how this saga will turn out. Trump has been politically bulletproof since he decided to enter the arena, but how many political “lives” does this cat really possess? Would a felony conviction and imprisonment really halt or reverse Trump’s MAGA train for good?
If they haven’t by now, it isn’t likely Trump’s legal problems will fell his presidential candidacy. Trump’s Republican primary rivals have attempted to claim he’s toxic for almost a year, and reality hasn’t played out as his enemies forecasted it would. Given senile Joe’s unshakeable age issue and the state of the American economy, is Trump more or less inevitable?
Time and events will tell. Both Biden and Trump have flaws. American voters will determine the winner and loser based on all factors.
Joe Biden economy
Biden cognitive decline
January 6 Committee
Build Back Better
Marjorie Taylor Green
2024 presidential election