Not long ago, at least on the scale of American politics time, I was engaged in a discussion with a close associate regarding former president Donald Trump’s prospects for winning the 2024 Republican nomination, and beyond that, his potential for beating the Democrat
nominee (we agreed at the time it was most likely going to be Joe Biden) and thus gaining a second term in The White House.
Said associate is a well-informed and generally reasonable person, his conservative beliefs unquestioned and was, more or less, a full-throated supporter of most aspects of the Trump agenda and presidency, save for approximately the last eight or so months of the man’s first term during the COVID “crisis” that wasn’t.
Oh yeah, like a lot of conservatives, he wasn’t willing to grant Trump a pass for spending so much, either, or for basically making the White House into a revolving door circus with aides coming and going, seemingly by the day, making the administration appear as though it was more like fodder for gossip columnists than a system-restoring engine for making America great again.
In other words, this man’s hesitations fit a lot of people these days, the ones who remain skeptical of Trump’s temperament and ability to win the vitally important quadrennial presidential election this year. Simply put, my associate rationalized then and I assume still argues now, that there are simply far too many Americans who despise the former commander in chief so much that they’d walk over broken glass scattered on hot coals surrounded by a hellish glowing red landscape with bubbling lava before they’d even think about voting for Trump.
That’s right, the eternal Trump haters would pull the lever for president senile Joe Biden again before considering a switch, most likely figuring that Biden “loves America” and wouldn’t do anything to further harm us in the next four years, or that he (Biden) has learned his lessons from the past few trips around the sun and would shore up his legacy by “uniting the country” as he’d promised to do during his inaugural address.
I told my associate that I didn’t believe this would happen – and it was up to the Republican primary voters to choose a candidate irrespective of our personal opinions. I wasn’t about to make that choice for millions of people, even if my personal views differed slightly from the polls at the time.
Then there was the challenge: “I want you to go out and find ONE PERSON who voted for Joe Biden last time who has changed his or her mind and decided to go for Trump this time. I bet there aren’t any. And that’s the reason why choosing Trump in the primaries is akin to political suicide. The (establishment) media is propping up Trump because they want him to win – because they know he’s doomed.”
This person is a dedicated Wall Street Journal reader who’d clearly been influenced by the editorial staff of the Republican establishment-fostered publication. But that’s beside the point.
Are there any Biden voters who have switched to Trump? I didn’t go and survey the clientele at Walmart or ask the Saturday morning patrons at a local coffee shop for their thoughts, but I would guess there must be someone so inclined. In an article titled “Trump Haters Turned Trump Voters”, Olivia Nuzzi reported on her experiences in New Hampshire at New York Magazine recently:
“[M]ost of the Trump voters I spoke to in New Hampshire were more like Olson — ambivalent and disappointed with their options (‘politically agnostic’ to borrow Trump Jr.’s term). In general, these were not people inclined to spend a weekday afternoon listening to a suspiciously energetic Matt Gaetz ramble on about the ‘deep state.’ Like most Americans, they were not obsessed with the candidate they voted for.
“If the projections for a general election less than 300 days away are to be believed, the result could depend on voters, like Olson, who are inclined to offer Trump redemption. In most head-to-head polls, Trump beats Biden by between one and eight percentage points. In polls that factor in Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and other third-party candidates, Trump is ahead by something like ten points. The willingness of people like Olson to give Trump a second chance, then, is more bad news for Democrats, who will need to find a way to attract voters outside their base (if not Olson, people vaguely like her) if they want to secure a second term for the president...
"So the best decision Olson believes she can make with the information she trusts about the choices before her is the same one she made before. She isn’t happy about it, she said, but she is resigned to it. She let out a heavy sigh. ‘I could even see myself going to work on the Trump campaign,’ she said. ‘Not for Trump. Against Biden.’”
At the outset, I will concede that I didn’t find a Biden voter who’s switched, but Nuzzi details the journey one New Hampshirite made from being anti-Trump (and pro Ron DeSantis in the primary) back to being the tepid Trump backer she described in her story.
But here’s guessing there are a measurable number of Biden voters who’ve made a similar odyssey, from disenchanted Biden supporter to reluctant Trump backer, even if they may have travelled different roads to come to that intersection.
The ardent Trump backers aren’t hard to spot, so obviously there are a good many of them as well. They’re the ones who line up for hours prior to a Trump appearance just so they can be close enough to the entrance so as to possibly be positioned on the dais behind the 45th president and be seen on TV and provide living proof that they “were there” for posterity. Or maybe they just want good “seats”. Who knows.
In the larger scheme of things, it doesn’t matter how they reached the Trump destination, it just counts that they got there. They had reached a place where they couldn’t support Trump any longer and they have since come back into the fold. Do they show up in surveys? Are they depicted in polls as being “likely” voters? How do the pollsters weigh such former fence-sitters and “never, never” people anyway?
I have another “associate” who recently emailed me regarding his preferences in the Republican race. This man and I had had a number of conversations in 2016 during the heat of the presidential scrum where he described himself as “an establishment Republican” who didn’t like Trump’s rhetoric, and, at the time, believed the GOP nominee didn’t have much of a chance against Crooked Hillary Clinton because “too many people hate Trump”. He wasn’t sure what he was going to do when decision-time arrived, and he indicated he may go third party or not even vote.
In other words, it’s not really all that different today than it was eight years ago, if you really think about it.
This person, who also shall remain anonymous, described his more recent political journey. “I’ve gone from Never Trump to Never Democrat”, he explained, implying that the Democrats have done such a heinous job on America in recent times that it was unthinkable to even consider the D-half of the ballot equation, no matter if Donald Trump’s name occupies the R-half.
He described himself as a Nikki Haley voter but would even accept Trump if it came down to it because he wasn’t about to allow the nation to completely go to the dogs, as it was headed under senile Joe. Again, I would surmise that most Nikki honks are taking a similar approach, since Never Trump is getting old and has about zero chance of defeating Trump intra-party now.
Therefore, though Trump himself may not have persuaded a heck of a lot of people to either rejoin the MAGA bandwagon – or give him another chance (the same thing?) – the awful current president and his surly band of hucksters, cheats, liars, swindlers, freaks, terrorist-sympathizers, truth-deniers and do-anything-to-win scumbags have served to accomplish virtually the same thing. In essence, Joe Biden is doing the dirty work for Trump, and this is true no matter what the former president and certain GOP-nominee says.
Who would’ve thought? A year ago at this time, as the 2024 Republican race was in its infancy, there were a measurable amount of anti-Trumpers who weren’t shy about voicing their opinions that the former president “couldn’t win” and that he would be weighed-down to the breaking point by his various Democrat-inspired court problems.
I had one friend predict that, once people saw Trump in serious legal jeopardy, that they would begin going to other candidates in earnest – and that Trump’s support would peel away like dead skin off a leper. Okay, maybe they didn’t put it just like that, but that’s about what they meant.
As for now, the beginning of February, polls are starting to show Trump opening up a respectable lead vis-à-vis Biden, possibly signaling there are a good number of former Biden voters who have already made the switch. There have been many establishment media reports of certain classifications of African-American voters moving towards Trump as well as a higher percentage of Hispanics, young voters, etc. – who have realized that broken-down Biden is a joke and a saboteur for all things American.
And it’s not just because senile Joe is old (of course, only a couple years Trump’s senior) or that he mumbles a lot or does other odd, inexplicable things. No, Biden and the Democrats have turned some of their old supporters into reformed Trump fans, even if there’s more of a “hold your nose and vote” quality to their new appreciation.
With over nine months to go until Election Day, 2024, many, many American voters will go through their own thought processes on whom to entrust with the future of the country. There are a number of signs pointing to his handlers tucking away senile Joe Biden from public view, possibly leading to Donald Trump being given free rein to convince people that’s he’s the guy.
Let’s hope he’s up to the task.
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