A couple of months ago, I made a bold prediction here on American Radio Journal concerning the next Presidential election: that neither Joe Biden nor Donald Trump would be on the general election ballot in November 2024. A friend said that he’d gladly bet against me if I were foolish enough to put real money on the table. He even offered me ten-to-one odds. Nonetheless, I’m even more convinced now than I was then.
Let’s look at each of the two candidates.
Joe Biden at 80 is showing unmistakable signs of mental decline, even if he can summon the strength and focus to appear with it for rather short periods of time. I recently spoke with a now-retired Delaware State Police trooper who spent some time on the Biden protection detail, and he confirmed my concerns that at 80, Biden is definitely slipping. He regularly falls asleep when no one is talking to him, and when he is at the end of a long day, he loses his train of thought repeatedly. This is not dementia, at least not yet, but neither is it the alert thinking that our Commander in Chief needs when trying to figure out how to deal with an increasingly complex world.
A recent ABC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed that 70% of voters under 40 in all parties said he does not have the mental sharpness to serve as President. The same negative view was held by 61% of those 40-64 and 55% of those over 65.
My friend High Hewitt this week told Special Report host Bret Baier that he also expects Biden to exit the race. He drew parallels with Lyndon Johnson’s withdrawal in 1968. He opined that Chinese General Secretary Xi, Russian President Putin and Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini “all think Biden is infirm,” citing a new Gallup poll in addition to the ABC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
If these numbers hold in subsequent polls, Democrats will fear a Biden defeat. If the investigation of Hunter Biden’s influence-peddling schemes becomes clear and undeniable, that could also render Biden so weakened that Democrat power brokers will want to engineer a removal. They’ll then need to deal with the problem of Kamala Harris, who is widely perceived to be a terrible candidate who can’t be forced off the ticket without provoking outrage from the party’s African American voters, but perhaps a soft landing can be found in a judicial appointment like the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, often referred to as the second highest court in the land.
Trump’s greatest vulnerability isn’t the age issue, it’s the several legal issues that face him. There are simply too many cases to reasonably expect him to elude them all. He was found liable for damages in the sexual assault and defamation civil brought by E. Jean Carroll. His announced decision to appeal it will only ensure that it stays in the public’s mind for months longer. This week the Washington Post carried a story headlined “Sexual abuse verdict renews Republican doubts about Trump’s electability.” Even if much of the MAGA base holds, moderates and independents will abandon him and make him unelectable in a general election. The CNN Town Hall with Trump this week was an embarrassment, although it showed that he still has that base. Many Republicans with whom I communicate regularly admit privately that they’d dearly love to find another candidate to support. Even if Trump wins a slew of primaries, it’s a near-certainty that he can no longer attract moderates and independents in the general election. He cannot win, and he hates to lose, so he might fabricate some health issue as the basis on which to drop off the ticket while saving face. It would be an act of political suicide if the Republican party nominates him next summer when the list of legal defeats will be even longer than it is now.
These scenarios will become increasingly plausible as Biden’s mental decline becomes impossible to deny, and as Trump becomes even more stained by the charges against him. Neither party wants to lose, and by nomination time, both will want to move away from Biden and Trump. At least that’s how I see it.
I welcome counter arguments from the loyal listeners to American Radio Journal. But I won’t take actual wagers!