The polling firm I&I/TIPP calls it a “stunner,” but is it really so stunning?
Just when it seemed President Joe Biden could get no lower in the public’s political esteem, a new I&I/TIPP Poll of Americans’ preference for the 2024 Democratic presidential ballot is a shocker: Just over one out of five want Joe Biden back at the top of the Democrats’ ticket in three years.
A number of recent I&I/TIPP Polls (here and here) have documented Biden’s sharp decline in favorability with the public due to a number of issues, ranging from his leadership of the military, the botched Afghanistan withdrawal, the recent inflation surge and supply-chain crisis, the border crisis, and a number of other vexing White House issues.
The public has concluded, not even a year in, that either Biden is too incompetent to run this country or, even if he’s not actually the one running the country, the people who are running the country behind the scenes are either incompetent or doing all this on purpose.
Stephen L. Miller makes this point in an article at the American Spectator entitled “Joe Biden’s sacrificial presidency“.
The worst kept secret in Washington, DC is that Joe Biden is a one-term president — whether he knows it or not. This weekend, palace intrigue stories from Politico and CNN pitted Vice President Kamala Harris against Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. The kids are fighting over Grandpa Joe’s inheritance before he’s even cold.
Let’s consider the possibility that Joe Biden and the White House handlers behind him always knew he would be a one-term transitional president, whose sole purpose was to free the country from the scourge of Donald Trump. Having achieved that, Biden would then have a blank slate in terms of what his administration could achieve in the following four years. If Biden was to be a one-term lame duck on arrival, that would leave open the door for progressives to launch a transformational effort to remake the country into the leftist utopia they’ve been yearning for.
Usually a politician would shy away from policies likely to inflict pain on the country. But that all changes if he isn’t planning on standing for reelection. He could inflict real reform — and real harm, the kind of harm we are seeing right now with both an inflation crisis and oil prices spiking.
The infliction of this pain appears to be very intentional. When press secretary Jen Psaki returned to the podium last week, she acknowledged this. In response to a question about skyrocketing gas prices, she said: “Our view is that the rise in gas prices over the long term makes an even stronger case for doubling down our investment and focus on clean energy options.” Psaki said that as world leaders flooded Glasgow vowing to eliminate fossil fuels over the next nine to twelve years. That is not a coincidence.
If you want to force a population off of meat consumption because you think it’s harming the planet, you simply make things like meat too expensive. If you want to force people into electric vehicles because you believe they’re harming the planet, you let gas prices soar to astronomical levels, to the point where people don’t drive and opt for public transportation.
To the Democrats, this is the Biden sacrifice. He will be a one-term president, but in his one term, he’ll be able to transform the country in a way no politician who cared about his political future would ever dare to attempt. It’s a deal that a 79-year-old Joe Biden would take, if it meant the national press speaks his name in the same breath as FDR.
Joe Biden is not the future. He might not even be the present. That’s why his administration is governing like he has months to live, sweeping through a bucket list of progressive wishes. Doing so is already causing enormous harm, but in the end it will be worth it for the Democrats, and it will be worth it for Biden.
I’ll tell ya what: it makes a lot of sense to me. The inflation we’re seeing right now is no accident. The border crisis is no accident. The vaccine mandate is supposed to be divisive.
So who’s going to succeed Biden, then?
Here’s the full chart from the poll of Americans’ preferences:
It’s quite striking that only 37% of Democrats want Biden to run again.
And equally striking is that only 16% of Democrats want Kamala Harris to be the nominee in 2024 even though she’s next-in-line right now.
So now we have a guy in Joe Biden who supposedly won more votes than any other candidate in American history, and now, not even a year later, only 22% of the country wants to see him run for reelection.
This is an interesting question because while 22% seems extremely low, it’s important to remember that the highest this number could probably ever get is like 50%, right? At least that’s what I assume.
I mean, if the Republicans all hate Biden, then they would not want to see him run for reelection. Now, if they think he’ll be easy to beat, then you’ll see a lot of Republicans support him being on the ticket again in 2024.
If that’s the case, we’d expect to see a lot of Democrats wanting to go in a different direction.
But while we do see 63% of Democrats wanting to go in a different direction, we only see 8% of Republicans wanting Biden to run in 2024.
Republicans obviously hate him. But we also see that only 8% of independents/other voters want to see him run again as well.
The bottom line here is that Joe Biden is extremely unpopular. Polling points to the Republicans winning big in next year’s midterm elections, but we can also be assured that the Democrats will not just roll over an accept defeat. I’m sure they’re scheming up ways to cling to power as we speak. A new Covid variant next year is a virtual certainty, as it will give Dems a reason to again push for widespread mail-in voting.
But the broader point here is that Joe Biden had one purpose to serve–getting rid of Donald Trump–and he’s served it already.
You get the sense that, even though it isn’t even 2022 yet, the country is already through with Joe Biden.
That leads to an obvious question, then: who comes next?
Well, in a normal situation, it would obviously be the Vice President viewed as the heir-apparent, but Kamala has even lower approval ratings than Joe. It seems like negative stories about her are leaking from the White House and even her own office every other day now, and the obvious takeaway is that Democratic insiders are trying to bury her and get her out of the way.
It won’t be Kamala. She’s got no chance. The party base overwhelmingly rejected her when she ran for President. She didn’t even make it to the Iowa Caucus, the first state to vote in the party’s 2020 primary.
What about “Transportation Secretary Pete”? Come on. Does anybody other than middle-aged liberal white women actually like him?
The Bernie supporters called him Pete The Cheat during the primaries. He’s a McKinsey corporate suit. He’s probably CIA, too.
The guy has gone from Mayor of South Bend, Indiana to Transportation Secretary, and now he’s going to be President? Get outta here.
I also just don’t think this country would vote for a gay President. That’s just me. I don’t see it happening. It might seem paradoxical because he’s a Democrat, but I don’t see the Democratic Party as a whole supporting a gay candidate.
Sure, many of the white liberals of the party (except the Bernie wing which will probably always hate him) will enthusiastically support “Mayor Pete” for no other reason than the fact that he’s gay. They’ll see it as not only a qualification for him to hold the highest office in the land, but the qualification.
But the rest of the party? Not so much. The media never talks about it, but it’s pretty hard to deny that overall, minority groups are not nearly as on-board with the whole LGBT thing as their white liberal compatriots in the Democratic Party. The whole “Pro-Gay” attitude is more of a white liberal thing than it is a whole Democratic Party thing.
Hispanics and Asians are really big on “traditional family values,” even though they vote Democrat. Black people are probably the group that is the least on-board with all the LGBT stuff. I know it, you know–we all know it.
Do I have data to back up my point? Not really. It’s kind of hard to find it given that the media goes to great lengths to act like it’s not true. There’s not a whole lot of polling data out there on how each race feels about homosexuality.
I was able to find this poll from Pew from 2014 that broke it down by religion. Only 16% of Jehovah’s Witnesses, a primarily black religious group, said “homosexuality should be accepted,” with 74% saying it should be “discouraged.” However, there are only about 1.3 million Jehovah’s Witnesses in the US, which is nowhere close to the overall black population in the country of about 42 million.
However, 66% of black people in this country are Protestants, and among the group Pew labels as “Historically Black Protestants,” 51% say homosexuality should be accepted vs. 40% who say it should be discouraged.
Overall, I’d say black Americans are at best ambivalent towards homosexuality. It’s also worth noting that, on a per capita basis, black people are more than 4x more likely than white people to commit hate crimes against LGBT people.
Now I’m not trying to throw black people and minorities under the bus and say they’re all homophobic. I’m just trying to say, I don’t think many of them would be on-board with Mayor Pete.
Thus, I don’t see Pete Buttigieg or however you spell it as being a serious Presidential contender. Also a big problem with him is that people don’t know how to spell or even pronounce his last name.
I’ve always thought the guy to watch in the Democratic Party is Gavin Newsom.
Only 2% of Democrats say they want him to run for President in 2024, so I don’t know how he’ll improve his stature in the party, but I think somehow he’ll find a way. He just seems like a guy the Democratic Establishment would rally around. Gavin Newsom has “He’s the Most Electable Candidate!” written all over him, which translates to, he’s a guy who looks the part.
I’ve always said that Gavin Newsom looks like the politician in the movies that everyone thinks is a good guy but is in reality a bad guy, and only the main character knows he’s a bad guy.
I could totally see this guy smiling and waving to an adoring crowd, but then after turning around, a shadow passes over his face as brow furrows; his friendly smile twisting into an evil grin. Lightning and thunder crash in the background, he begins cackling manically after he’s just out of view from his adoring fans.
Plus, Mayor Pete would probably have a crush on him and be blushing and biting his lip and fluttering his eyelashes on stage during the debates, so Newsom would mop the floor with Mayor Pete. Mayor Pete would probably enjoy it, too.
Get over it, it’s a joke.
I just don’t see any way that Gavin Newsom isn’t the Democratic Nominee for President at some point in the next 10 years.
The California thing might be an issue between Newsom and Kamala, as it would be seen as “cutting the line” on Newsom’s part to challenge a fellow California Dem for the Presidency, especially one who ranks above him in the party, but I don’t think he sweats Kamala. He knows she’s toast politically. I don’t think he’d let Kamala get in his way. It might surprise you that Newsom is actually 3 years younger than Kamala Harris (53 vs. 57). Kamala is way older than people think.
Plus, Newsom is kinda sorta somehow related to Nancy Pelosi by marriage, or at least he was. It’s kind of complicated but I’ll try to explain it as simply as possible: Newsom’s aunt Belinda was from 1956-1977 married to Ron Pelosi, who is the brother of Paul Pelosi, Nancy Pelosi’s husband. Belinda and Ron were divorced many years ago, so I have no idea if the families still have any ties or friendly relations, but I have to assume Nancy Pelosi played some role in Newsom’s rise in California politics. He definitely wouldn’t have risen up to governor if Nancy Pelosi didn’t like the Newsom family, right?
At any rate, I think Gavin Newsom is the one to watch in the Democratic Party. He may only be at 2% right now, but outside of Biden and Kamala, no other Democrat is over 4%. It wouldn’t take much to vault Newsom into the lead among the Democrats vying to claim the party’s mantle.
Newsom is my pick. He’s the guy I think it’ll end up being.
Now, what about the Republicans?
I’ve been going back and forth on the idea of Trump running again in 2024. I still don’t know how I feel about it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d take Trump over Biden 100 times out of 100 in 2024 if those in fact are our options once again. I voted for Trump in 2020 without hesitation, and would do so again in 2024 if Trump ends up running again.
But I don’t know if I really want Trump to run again. Unlike a lot of people on the right, I don’t view him as this godlike savior figure who is the Only Man That Can Turn This Country Around.
I think he was a good president, on balance, and has easily been the best president of the 21st century, but that’s not saying much.
There’s a lot I didn’t like about the Trump Presidency. For one, he didn’t do anything about the dirty tricks in the 2020 election. He knew it was coming and did nothing to stop it. In that regard, he may well go down in history as the man who let American democracy die.
I also don’t like the fact that he did nothing about Big Tech censorship and the incredible power of not only Silicon Valley, but the megacorporations in general.
He never got the wall built.
He let all the rioting and anarchy happen last summer when he should’ve brought in the troops and crushed the miscreants.
He did nothing about the out of control Deep State (i.e. the Intelligence Community) that nearly took him down with the B.S. Russiagate “scandal.”
Trump was behind the “warp speed” push for the vaccine, probably knowing full well that the rushed vaccine would be a joke. I think he only did it to show the media he was “doing something” about Covid. Now we’re left with this dangerous, ineffective and, most importantly, mandatory vaccine, while Trump just goes on Fox News and complains that the only reason people don’t want to take it is because they don’t trust Joe Biden. Everyone would be lining up to get their shots–and boosters!–if he, Trump, was still in office, he tells us.
What a bunch of delusional nonsense.
Face it: Trump had and still to this day has a hard-on for big business.
And most importantly, probably Trump’s biggest failure of all is that he didn’t clean house in the federal government. He got rid of Comey, but that should’ve been the start of his purge. He should’ve fired everybody. He never fired Fauci. He never fired Birx.
At almost every turn, Trump was stonewalled and stymied by his own administration, and it’s because his administration was full of Establishment bureaucrats put in place by Obama and Bush. They were all against him. Sabotage of his agenda by the federal bureaucracy was probably the single biggest reason Trump didn’t accomplish his goals.
While it’s by no means an easy task to clean house in the federal government, nobody ever said being President would be easy. This is not a valid excuse. Trump’s biggest failure is that he allowed himself to be surrounded by people who were working on his downfall.
I always hear the same excuses for why Trump failed at a lot of the things he set out to do: the media would’ve had a cow! He would’ve been impeached! It would harm his reelection!
But the media had a cow over everything he did anyway. He was impeached anyway. He failed to win reelection anyway.
I would rather him have gone on a massive firing spree and done every single thing he promised and only been a one-term president because it was all unpopular with brainwashed voters.
Instead, he did only some of what he promised, and was still a one-term president anyway.
Look, as I said earlier, I would take Trump without hesitation over Biden. I’d take him over any Democrat, obviously. That goes without saying.
But the guy was not perfect.
And one of the biggest problems with Trump is that, whether it’s merited or not, there are simply a hell of a lot of people out there in this country that hate him on a visceral level. He does not have the kind of widespread appeal necessary to be a truly transformative president. There are too many people who hate him, and can’t overlook the fact that they hate him, even if they may actually support a lot of his policies were they to actually gave him a chance.
He evokes such a visceral rage and hatred in so many people that his base of support was always going to be capped. He can win, but Trump is not the kind of president who can re-draw the electoral map.
Perhaps he could’ve been had he delivered on his promises and had the foresight to prepare for the Democratic treachery that was ultimately his downfall a year ago, but let’s be real here: he never won any landslides. He barely won in 2016, and he barely lost in 2020.
Despite Trump always talking about how he won this massive and historic landslide in 2016, he really didn’t. The idea that he did is classic Donald Trump embellishment. He won the three pivotal, tipping-point states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin by a combined 78,000 votes. If those three states and their combined 46 electoral votes went for Hillary, Trump would’ve lost the election. It was a very close election.
While Trump should absolutely be given credit for being the first Republican to win those three states since the 1980s, it’s not as if he won them in landslides and set them up to vote Republican for years to come. Hillary only needed to flip about 39,000 votes across those three states and she would’ve won them and the election.
As for 2020, I’m working on a separate post about it, but my basic thoughts are that while I think Trump did rightfully win and the election was stolen from him, even if he was able to #StopTheSteal, I don’t think he was going to win this massive, historic landslide election. I never did believe that all. I think he would’ve won by a more comfortable margin than he did in 2016, but by no means was he on pace for a blowout.
The one thing that Trump’s most adoring fans fail to acknowledge is that he really was and is still seriously hated by a really large number of people in this country.
I know for Trump die-hards it’s difficult to fathom why anyone would hate him, but there are lot of people out there that hated him and, while they weren’t exactly fired up for Biden, they were fired up to vote against Trump. They wanted to get rid of him so badly because they thought they’d then be able to return things to “business as usual,” whatever that meant to them. A great many people simply wanted a normal, boring President who wasn’t constantly involved in some controversy or some spat with a celebrity or a reporter or whomever, and they were willing to vote for literally anybody else.
Trump’s legacy is that while he was ultimately able to inspire millions of people to enthusiastically support him, and he earned the lasting loyalty and love of so many people, he also inspired a nearly equal amount of people–perhaps an even greater amount of people–to viscerally hate him and everything he represented.
You simply cannot become a transformative leader if you have just as many rabid and irate haters as you do loyal and adoring supporters.
Maybe a unifying, transformative president is impossible in this day and age. The media has a lot to do with it, as their main goal is to keep the country bitterly divided. The media absolutely convinced millions of Americans to wrongfully hate Trump. I’m not denying that.
But I do think it’s possible for a presidential candidate to transcend all that and render the media’s lies and smears largely ineffective.
We have had past Presidents in this country win massive landslide elections. Reagan did it in 1984. 1984 wasn’t that long ago. Nixon did it in 1972. LBJ did it in 1964, although a lot of that was the public, still grieving over the JFK assassination, rallying around LBJ and the escalation of the Vietnam War.
Eisenhower got over 57% of the vote in 1956. FDR got 61% in 1936 and 57% in 1932. Hoover got 58% in 1928. Warren Harding got 60% in 1920.
It has happened before. There was a time when the country was not as bitterly divided and could rally around a President, vesting him with true, genuine legitimacy. In fact, from the start of the 20th century until the late 1980s, it happened quite frequently.
Maybe it’s impossible nowadays with the media having divided the country so much.
Or maybe it’s just that we’ve not had a truly great Presidential candidate in a very long time.
Since Ronald Reagan, I can think of no Presidential candidate this country has had that I would classify as a great candidate. I’ve been pretty critical of Reagan’s policies on this site, mainly his “pro-business” policies that largely enabled the rise of today’s multinational mega-corporations, but in Reagan’s defense he was only in office from 1981-1989. By the time he left office corporate America and Wall Street were not anywhere near as powerful as they are today; a lot of that growth in their wealth and power, while it started under Reagan, really got out of control under his successors until finally reaching the point it’s at nowadays.
I still think Reagan was a far greater president than any President we’ve had since. That includes Trump, too.
Trump was good, but flawed–too divisive.
Bill Clinton was a really good candidate, but a scumbag and a lot of people weren’t fooled by him.
George W. Bush, I don’t even know how he won the presidency, to be honest (I mean obviously I know how: CIA ties and a wealthy, powerful family. But what I’m talking about is, I don’t know how he actually managed to appeal to any significant number of American voters.)
Look at the others: Biden? A demented, boorish, creepy, angry old fuck who used to be a laughingstock before the media magically transformed him into a Wise Elder Statesman and the Moral Leader of the Nation.
Hillary? The most brazen, shamelessly power-hungry psychopath of the 21st century.
Mitt Romney? A boring, virtue-signaling, empty-suit corporate pussy.
John Kerry? A hollow, uncharismatic, elitist douchebag.
Al Gore? Total fucking nutjob.
The late Bob Dole? Eh, not bad. But boring as shit.
George H.W. Bush? Boring on the surface, but an aristocratic CIA spook who more than likely played a role in the Kennedy assassination (read Russ Baker).
Michael Dukakis? A bone-headed lightweight.
Over the past 35 years or so, we really couldn’t do any better than these clowns (and one old hag)?
I am totally open to the possibility that the media is always going to lie about and smear any Republican candidate so that none can never be truly popular and have widespread appeal in this country. It is entirely possible the media has placed a hard cap on how popular a GOP presidential candidate can actually be.
But I just believe that a truly great candidate can transcend the media. Trump almost did it. He laid out a blueprint for how to deal with the media. But he also gave them a ton of ammunition that they used to paint him as an unpresidential clown who was a disgrace to the high office of President of the United States.
Certainly the media was responsible for a lot of the public’s negative perception of Trump, but not all of it. He was responsible for a good deal of it himself.
You can be fiery and assertive and self-confident and energetic without coming off as an unpresidential clown.
I get why people love Trump. I like Trump a lot personally myself. I think he’s genuine, funny, no-bullshit, savage and tough. He’s the first Presidential candidate to come around in a long time that didn’t feel like he was fake and scripted, and merely going through the motions of campaigning so that he could get into office and immediately start doing the bidding of all his corporate and Wall Street backers.
But you can be presidential and genuine at the same time. You can be funny and presidential at the same time. Reagan managed to do it.
And Reagan was actually funny, too. It wasn’t that fake, scripted laugh-line politician humor: “I’m the President, but my wife’s the real boss! Hardy-Har-Har, everybody laugh!”
Reagan was funny in a presidential way. He showed that he had a sense of humor, and that is massively important. I am a firm believer that if two people can share a laugh, they can get along just fine. This might just be me, but I honestly don’t think I can be friends with someone until we’ve bonded over jokes and laughed together.
Laughter and smiles are the common, universal human language. Laughter brings people together. This is why I think it’s very important for Presidential candidates to be funny and have senses of humor.
It’s also a great way for people to detect bullshit, too. Maybe more than anything else, they can detect a phony sense of humor. A fake sense of humor is the sign of a fake person, while a genuine sense of humor is the sign of a genuine person. A person with no sense of humor at all is a person people want nothing to do with.
A great candidate has to be funny and genuine while also being presidential. I think the reason a lot of people didn’t like Trump was because he was so unconventional and not anything like the traditional presidents people had grown accustomed to.
I totally get that. There are a lot of Republicans out there who now believe all politicians are Washington Insiders/Deep State and will never vote for another politician again. It’s only Trump for them, because he’s an outsider and he’s Not One Of Them.
But maybe in order to win, and truly win big, we need a candidate that has more of a traditional feel. I’m not saying we need a career politician, but that we need someone who comes off as more Presidential and more normal. People like normal.
Trump was not normal. Even for his biggest supporters, he felt like a usurper who had taken over. It felt like we were living in revolutionary times when he was in office.
I want a candidate that understands and appreciates Trumpism, and will carry the torch, but who also has more of a traditional presidential feel. A more refined Trumpism.
A common mantra on the right is that “You can’t have Trumpism without Trump.” I think that’s true. But that’s not my goal. My hope is that someone can figure out a way to take most of the policy goals of Trumpism and pair them with a clear, coherent and explicit economic appeal to the middle class.
On the economy, all Trump ever really did was brag about how he created the greatest economy in American history. That’s not the kind of talk that appeals to voters. That appeals to people who like Trump mainly because he’s entertaining. I like Trump and even I would roll my eyes every time he’d go on and on about how his economy was the greatest economy, people are saying, you take a look, believe me, folks….
I’m not saying I want some mythical unicorn candidate who can somehow win 80% of the vote, retaining all of Trump’s support while also adding millions more supporters. That’s impossible.
But I do think it’s entirely possible for a candidate in this day and age to win 60% of the vote, which is basically the maximum any Presidential candidate can ever hope to get.
If we exclude the Founding Father Presidents (meaning George Washington through James Monroe), the highest popular vote margins in US history are as follows:
- LBJ in 1964, 61.05% of the popular vote
- FDR in 1936, 60.8%
- Nixon in 1972, 60.67%
- Warren Harding in 1920, 60.32%
- Reagan in 1984, 58.77%
- Herbert Hoover in 1928, 58.21%
- FDR in 1932, 57.41%
- Eisenhower in 1956, 57.37%
- Teddy Roosevelt in 1904, 56.42%
- Andrew Jackson 1828, 55.93%
Somewhere in that range, 56-60%, is about as well as a Presidential candidate can ever be expected to do. Only 4 Presidents have ever gotten 60% or higher of the popular vote.
Let’s not sit here and act like it’s only now in our era where the media is incredibly divisive and dishonest and nasty. There has always been a partisan media in this country. Campaigns have always been ugly.
In 1828, Andrew Jackson’s wife, Rachel, died of a heart attack shortly after her husband won the Presidency on account of all the stress and negativity of the campaign, which made her deeply depressed. President at the time John Quincy Adams learned that Rachel had been married briefly before marrying Jackson, and it was a major scandal during the campaign. They said some awful stuff about both Andrew and Rachel.
Andrew Jackson blamed his political enemies for causing his wife’s death, remarking at her funeral, “May God Almighty forgive her murderers, because I never can.”
Look, if anything the media has never been less powerful than it is today. People have so many more options nowadays. The media doesn’t have a monopoly on the news and the truth anymore. We have social media, blogs, YouTube, memes–the internet has made us more informed than ever before. At least, it has given us the potential to be more informed than ever before. I guess what I should really be saying is that the internet has given us more options than ever before, and that in theory the media’s power should be as low as it has ever been. Unfortunately there are a lot of people out there still hooked on the media and who believe all the lies.
But this means that a Presidential candidate nowadays has the ability to completely sidestep the media. Completely. As long as he knows how to use social media effectively, and has the balls to tell the legacy media to go pound sand. Honestly, if a major presidential candidate did this, it could well be the death blow for the whole corrupted, decrepit legacy media complex.
Instead of daily press briefings, he could have livestreams where he answers questions directly from American citizens. Instead of giving interviews to “journalists” in the media, he could grant interviews to online political commentators and YouTubers.
You could even bypass the entire cable news industry for debates, and just have them on YouTube, choosing your own moderators as you please. This would be so much more productive than having hacks like Chris Wallace “moderate” debates.
You could run polls on Facebook and Twitter to really, truly get a finger on the pulse of the nation.
If a candidate hired a team of social media gurus who really and truly understood both how to market as well as the full potential of what a presidential campaign could be by making use of social media, it would rewrite the whole rulebook on running for President.
By harnessing social media, a candidate could retake the control of the narrative from the media, and render the media largely irrelevant. They’d be fighting over the table scraps, begging for permission to run on their channels clips that millions of people had already seen on YouTube.
If we had a Presidential candidate that spoke honestly, instead of in carefully-crafted teleprompter speeches full of partisan buzz-words; who would level with the American public and not treat them like they’re a bunch of children who can’t wrap their minds around complex issues; and who had the courage to not be paralyzed by rigid partisanship and actually talk about problems that both sides largely agree upon–that candidate could win, and win big.
I think the candidate would have to tap into not only the concerns and feelings of the Trump supporters, but also find a way to bridge the gap with a lot of the Bernie supporters, at least on economic matters. I do actually think there’s a lot of common ground there.
A truly great candidate, who has thought and read deeply on the issues, could thread the needle appeal to a broad, national and even bipartisan audience on so many of the most divisive ones.
Patriotic, but not a warmonger.
Pro small-business, but wary of big-business.
Welcoming of a reasonable degree of legal immigration, but tough on illegal immigration. It must me communicated to the voters that we can’t just keep bringing new people into the country when there are so many Americans out of work.
In favor of equality, but also understanding of the fact that each racial group faces different and unique problems.
Pro-police, but also acknowledging why so many people hate the police.
Sensitive to the fact that a lot of people are still afraid of Covid, but also firm on the fact that we’re not going to devolve into a police state in our efforts to curb the virus.
The candidate would have to be explicitly and steadfastly pro-middle class, and point out that the Democrats are now the party of the rich, with 65% of people with incomes over $500,000 per year live in Democrat-controlled districts. He could point out that 27 of the 30 richest Congressional Districts are represented by Democrats.
The ultimate goal would be to appeal to as many middle class voters as possible, and of all races, too. Monopolize the whole middle class of this country–white, black, Hispanic, Asian, Muslim; everyone. Force the Democrats to own the fact that they have become a party of, for and by the wealthy.
As I wrote earlier today, the Democrats are not going to be able to hold their multi-racial coalition together in the long run because they’re too obsessed with identity politics and race, and now they’ve gotten to the point where they have to play favorites. Eventually it’s going to implode.
But you can hold together a diverse, middle-class party for a long while if you center it on the economy: jobs, wages, opportunity, affordability, lower taxes, etc. No matter what color your skin, everybody wants the same thing: money, and at least enough of it to live comfortably and provide for their family.
Also, by the way, this is the surefire way to get reelected. When the economy is good and everybody’s happy, you are overwhelmingly favored to be reelected.
A good economy is also how you turn haters into supporters, and how you ease a lot of the political tensions among the masses. If people are doing well financially, they’re just not going to give as much of a shit about the culture wars and all that stuff. They’re not going to hate the political class as much; they’re not going to turn to conspiracy theories and harbor revolutionary fantasies.
People seem to have forgotten that the economy is the key to everything that happens in the political sphere. Everything in politics is determined by whether the American people are generally satisfied with their financial situations, or if their financial situations suck.
The fact that politics today is so nasty and toxic, and the reason it seems as if we’re heading to a final breaking point as a nation, is because the economy isn’t in good shape, at least as it pertains to the Middle Class. And it hasn’t been in good shape for a long time–at least since before the Great Recession of 2008.
Trump always talks about how he had the greatest economy in US history, but this was patently untrue. Labor force participation even before Covid hit and the lockdowns wrecked the economy even further, was only at about a peak of 63.4%. Prior to the 2008 Recession, it was over 66%.
For the past 15 years now, people have been losing their jobs and never getting them back. And it has only gotten worse after the lockdowns.
According to a Congressional Research Service study conducted in 2019–at the height of the supposedly Booming Trump Economy–real wages of the 50th percentile of Americans had only risen a grand total of 8.8% since 1979. The bottom 10th percentile only saw wages increase 6.5%.
Meanwhile, the 90th percentile (the top 10%) had wage increases of 41.3% over that 40 year span.
This is US GDP growth by quarter dating back more than a decade. Obviously the chart is distorted quite a bit by Covid and the lockdowns, but you can see the Obama economy compared to the Trump economy. See if you can spot any difference:
Sure, there were more bad quarters under Obama than there were under Trump, but it’s not as if the economy just started soaring once Trump took over. And saying you’re a better president on the economy than Obama is like an NFL team bragging about being better than the Detroit Lions this year.
The fact is, unless you’re rich, the economy has been weak for a very long time in this country. Hell, it wasn’t even that great under Bush in the 2000s, but it was still a lot better than it is today. The last time we had a real, legitimate economic boom was the 1990s.
The reason this country keeps going back and forth between Democrats and Republicans and Democrats again is because neither party can deliver true, broad-based economic prosperity.
When a party can deliver broad-based economic prosperity, however, it is set up well for a long time to come. FDR’s New Deal Coalition of voters not only carried him to four consecutive Presidential terms, they also carried Harry Truman to a full term of his own in 1948. From 1932-1948, the Democrats won every election and maintained a large, diverse voter base that consisted of “labor unions, blue collar workers, racial and religious minorities (such as Jews, Catholics, and African-Americans), farmers, rural white Southerners, and urban intellectuals.”
The New Deal Coalition stuck together for such a long time because all the various groups that comprised it each saw it as being in their economic interest to continue voting Democrat. They voted for FDR to get them out of the Great Depression, and when they felt he had sufficiently done that, they remained loyal to FDR and his party:
Journalist Sidney Lubell found in his survey of voters after the 1948 presidential election that Democrat Harry Truman, not Republican Thomas E. Dewey, seemed the safer, more conservative candidate to the “new middle class” that had developed over the previous 20 years. He wrote that, “to an appreciable part of the electorate, the Democrats had replaced the Republicans as the party of prosperity” and quoted a man who, when asked why he did not vote Republican after moving to the suburbs, answered “I own a nice home, have a new car and am much better off than my parents were. I’ve been a Democrat all my life. Why should I change?”
People vote in accordance with their economic interests first and foremost.
Any party or President that fails to bring about broad-based prosperity in the country is on inherently shaky ground. This is the cardinal rule of American politics.
The big thing right now, though–and it might even be bigger than the economy–is that Americans not only want but need a return to normalcy.
Only in very extraordinary times can a message like this resonate with the voters–after or during a major war, or in the wake of a viral pandemic.
Warren Harding is a largely forgotten President nowadays given that he died in office just two-and-a-half years into his term, but in 1920, Harding won 60% of the vote and one of the biggest landslides in history promising a Return to Normalcy. It was his campaign slogan. Americans had just gone through World War I and the Spanish Flu pandemic, and they voted overwhelmingly for the guy who promised them a return to normalcy.
I don’t know why neither candidate made it their message in 2020, quite frankly. It would have been perfect. It would have resonated so strongly. It’s a message everybody can understand and get behind. People innately understand what it means. They know we are not living in normal times.
The “return to normalcy” slogan goes hand-in-hand with promising a strong economy. You cannot have normalcy without a strong economy, as I went over above.
Maybe we can never have normalcy again. Maybe Pandora’s Box has been opened in America and we’re past the point of no return. Maybe things just get crazier and crazier from here on out before this country finally simply implodes, either in civil war, economic collapse, violent revolution or a combination of the three.
Maybe this country is going the way of the Roman Republic. I don’t know.
There’s lots of violence and unrest and clashes in the streets between political factions. Police are now either too afraid to or forbidden from cracking down on crime, and so crime is running rampant. There’s even talk of civil war brewing.
Plus, there is now near total disdain for any and all politicians, as well as the media. The American people are deeply cynical these days. Not only are politicians distrusted, many view them as outright evil–Satanic, even.
How can things ever get back to normal again?
Well, for one thing, things are probably not quite as bad as they seem. Don’t get me wrong, things are messed up right now, but I think it’s also the case that we all spend a little too much time on social media. If you spend too much time on social media, you’ll be convinced the world is going to hell in a handbasket. We concern ourselves far too much with things that have little to no effect on our lives. I’m guilty of it myself.
We could all benefit from spending less time on social media. We all need to get out more, or at the very least enjoy a nice dinner and a bottle of wine with some close friends.
And second, things have been bad in this country before. The 1960s were crazy–you had not only the backdrop of the Cold War, but massive race riots and the Civil Rights movement and Bull Connor and hippies and assassinations and the Vietnam War and sex, drugs ‘n rock and roll and the moon landing and all that. All in one decade. The 1970s were pretty crazy as well, with Nixon and Watergate and domestic terrorism and inflation and stagflation and the Iranians and everything else. There was a really bad recession in the late 1970s and early 1980s, too. Inflation was out of control–even worse than it is today, and not only that, but interest rates were also sky-high.
All that tumult and upheaval that began with Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 largely came to an end, though, when Reagan took over. Reagan promised to fix the economy, and while it didn’t happen overnight, things did eventually start turning around.
By 1984, his reelection slogan was “It’s Morning Again in America,” a message that things were finally returning to normal after such a long period of abnormality and chaos:
Reagan was selling Americans on the idea that under him, America was again a prosperous and peaceful nation where one could get married, raise a family and earn an honest living once again. Sure, it wasn’t perfect, but things were pretty damn good compared to how they were not all that long ago. Things were getting back to normal again.
That’s the message that won Reagan one of the greatest landslide elections in American history. That’s what people want, at the end of the day: peace and prosperity.
And if you had to define “normalcy,” wouldn’t you say that’s basically what it is–peace and prosperity? Stability? Order?
In Jordan Peterson’s “Biblical Series” on YouTube, he talks about how a central theme in religion is the competing forces of order and chaos. The creation stories of most all the world’s great religions begin with the struggle between order and chaos. Not to get too metaphysical here, but the world itself is always in a constant struggle between order and chaos. We spend much of our lives as individual trying to bring order to the chaos we encounter, or create.
Above all else, it is the primary duty of all leaders–not just of nations, but of businesses, organizations, sports teams, and families–to bring order to chaos. It’s more of a balancing act than anything, and no mortal man can ever accomplish the task with any degree of permanence.
The takeaway, at least as I see it, is that we are living in a chaotic time right now, and we are all, in our own ways, seeking a leader who can bring at least some degree of order about.
What do all of the greatest presidents in our history have in common with one another? They all brought about order amid periods of chaos. George Washington led the nation through the Revolutionary War. Abraham Lincoln led the nation through the Civil War. FDR led the nation through the chaos of the Great Depression and World War II. Ronald Reagan restored order after the chaos of the 1960s and 1970s and the Cold War.
At this moment, the nation is in need of a leader who can bring order to the chaos we find ourselves in. We’re not foolish enough to believe that a President can be our savior, we just want someone who can get things under control and back on track, as best as possible.
We need someone who can get a lid on crime, bring down inflation, secure the border, fix the supply chain crisis, rejuvenate the economy, protect jobs from vaccine mandates, and return this country to normal in the wake of the pandemic.
It’ll never be perfect, but peace and prosperity in this country will go a long way toward bringing order to the chaos of our present times.
A Democrat can never do it, because the Democrats are the ones deliberately causing much of the chaos in the first place.
I don’t know that Trump can do it, either, because in many ways he was a part of the chaos.
And so now we finally come to the question of Ron DeSantis, the elephant in the room of Republican politics right now, whose potential candidacy for President has been looming over this entire essay despite not being mentioned until now.
Because if it’s not going to be Trump in 2024, then it will almost certainly be DeSantis. That’s the sense I get, and I think a lot of Republicans would agree with that.
Right now, it feels like the GOP is split between those who want Trump to run again and those who are ready to move on to DeSantis.
As I said above, I was unsure of how I felt about the idea of Trump running again in 2024, but after thinking about it for a while and writing about it (writing about things on this website is often actually how I think about things and work through the questions I feel are important), I guess I’d say I’m more in favor of moving on to DeSantis.
Granted, if Trump were to run in 2024, I don’t think DeSantis would challenge him. I’m not sure any Republican would, for that matter, outside of the fake Republicans like John Kasich and the like.
But if Trump doesn’t run, then I don’t see many Republicans out there seriously challenging DeSantis. He has emerged as the hero of the Republican Party for his leadership of Florida through Covid. There is no other Republican out there who can put his record on Covid up against DeSantis’ record. It’s no-contest. Ron DeSantis has led the way on sane governing in response to Covid. Every other Republican who has been good on Covid has simply been following his lead.
I like Ted Cruz a lot, but I don’t see how Cruz could challenge DeSantis in a primary race. I also think Ted Cruz is a too ideological to really have broad appeal to the nation.
I really don’t see anyone other than Trump who could seriously challenge DeSantis for the GOP nomination in 2024.
And I think that’s a good thing, because a crowded, nasty and chaotic primary fight between a bunch of backbiting candidates would not be helpful at this moment in time.
Is Ron DeSantis the real deal? I don’t know everything about him, but I did see him in person once back when I was working on Capitol Hill and he was a Congressman. I don’t remember where I saw him, probably it was just in passing in the halls of the Cannon or the Rayburn building, but for some reason the way he carried himself always stuck with me. He’s a pretty big dude. He just had this confident, almost swaggering posture. He looked like a guy who didn’t take any bullshit.
I remember thinking, just based off his body language, that he looked like a guy who was going places. He was going to be a guy who moved up the ranks in the Republican Party. It probably would’ve been a good idea for me to go up and introduce myself to him and maybe try to get a job with him, but at the time I was just an intern, and interns generally don’t go and strike up conversations with Members of Congress.
Now he’s the governor of Florida, and he seems to understand the importance of peace and prosperity, and wants to keep life for Floridians as normal as possible. I know he’s saved a lot of people’s jobs down there with his pushback against the vaccine mandate. He’s tough on crime as well, having signed an “anti-riot” bill into law earlier this year.
Not only that, but he was able to overcome attempted Democrat vote fraud in the 2018 election, and after becoming governor, he quickly went to work getting all that Broward County Funny Business under control. On election night 2020, Florida was one of the few key swing states to have all its votes counted and finalized in short order, and no “delays” or funny business whatsoever. So DeSantis knows what he’s doing in regards to all that stuff.
DeSantis appears to be pretty close with Trump, too. He seems to have taken a lot of cues from Trump, but also is more buttoned-down. Sounds like a good mixture to me.
Life in Florida seems pretty normal right now, and tons of people who don’t live in Florida really want to move to Florida.
I think the country would be in a lot better shape if it were being governed the way Florida is currently being governeed.
That’s the best way I can put it.
Is Ron DeSantis the next Reagan or the next FDR or the next Lincoln? I don’t know. It’s way too early to be talking like that.
But I also don’t know that he would really need to be a transcendent president like those guys.
The chaos we find ourselves in now, while bad, is not as bad as some of the chaotic eras of the past.
All we really need right now are common sense policies. It’s not rocket science. Be rational and realistic about Covid. Let the cops do their jobs instead of hampering them. Prioritize jobs and the economy.
It seems like that’s what DeSantis is doing in Florida.
I think he might be the guy.