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Biden and Trump
An Unwanted Rematch
Asked which of two American candidates for president would win the presidential election in Pakistan, former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf responded, “They both would lose.” (Believe it was the 2016 election between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.) The clairvoyant Musharraf judged correctly; in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections both candidates lost and the winner emerged as the candidate who lost the least. A record number of 2020 voters flocked to the polls to register anger with one candidate by supporting the other candidate and revealed the extensive animosity the American public had with both candidates.
Heavy rejections of the 2020 candidates continue into the 2024 election. In the 2020 election, the political Parties demonstrated weak strategies and the strategies for the 2024 election are shaping up as showing no improvement. Going by the polls, both political Parties are prepared to nominate two losers when they can nominate plausible winners. Examining some of the misfit behaviors that characterized the previous elections provide guides for the upcoming election. Why aren’t the two political Parties seeking plausible winners? Why are primary voters prepared to nominate the unapproved duo again?
Incompetence of the major political Parties
Incompetence of the major political Parties and helplessness of the electorate are evident in the unfolding 2024 presidential election. Many measures certify Joe Biden’s presidency as successful — record low unemployment, healthy economy, strong stock market, no U.S. troops fighting wars, good relations with allies, and no riots in the streets. The inflation negative is not the president’s fault; Federal Reserve pumping the economy during the Trump administration by increasing the money supply and supply chain problems propelled the inflation. Despite his commendable record, electorate animosity to Joe Biden exists. Overriding voters’ preference that he not run is not commendable. Only Robert Kennedy Jr., son of Robert Kennedy, a controversial non-conformist who never held an elected public office and has no ties to the Democratic Party, challenges Biden.
Despite huge electorate animosity toward Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, his having already lost an election to Biden, and popularity with the electorate undoubtedly reduced due to his farcical behavior and the criminal charges against him, the former president is the leading Republican candidate in the 2024 presidential election. As of August 2023, the thrice indicted ex-president has a lead in the polls, which, if proven true in the primaries, cannot be overcome by any competitor. The case is not closed; the polls express subjective and harmless reflections, in the primaries, voters express a more objective and careful study of how the candidate affects his/her life.
Joe Biden was not a pathetic candidate in 2020; he was an apathetic candidate. Having bowed out to Hillary Clinton in 2016, then VP Joe Biden indicated he had no desire to be POTUS. More aged, still indicating he is uncomfortable with presidential duties, attached to an out-of-favor Eastern liberal establishment and neoliberal policies, Joe Biden carries heavy baggage into the 2024 campaign.
If nominated, will Biden again make his major 2020 campaign error? Meant to balance the ticket, a favored political arrangement and applied to almost everything these days, the selection of Kamala Harris as Biden’s running mate decreased his chance of victory and steered votes to Trump. As a woman, African-American, and considered by GovTrack, a non-partisan organization that tracks bills in Congress, as the “most liberal compared to all Senators,” Kamala Harris provided balance to the ticket. Being “the most liberal” meant being able to appease the more radical members of the Democratic Party and maintain their votes.
The 2020 Democrat’s campaign already had the African-American (Biden’s largest constituency) and women’s votes. Why did Biden need a dubious African-American, who had an Indian mother and a Jamaican father, grew up in an upper-middle-class family, had a questionable record of being a liberal, owed her successful career to her relationship with Willie Brown, former mayor of San Francisco and 31 years her senior, was constantly accused of having a dysfunctional office, and was not presidential? He needed what an electorate, wary of Biden’s ability to govern for four years, wanted — a prominent and well-respected running mate, capable of becoming president. From my perspective, VP Harris has had only scripted speeches, audience disconnects, and fumbles and stumbles during her diplomatic visits to Central America and Southeast Asia. Her preparation for presidential duties has not been successful.
Donald Trump’s attitude and policies during his erratic tenure pleased a wide range of the electorate — outspoken, ferociously against the liberal establishment, halting the continuous foreign interventions, attacking the immigration crisis, reworking economic treaties that are accused of causing a loss of American industrial employment to overseas laborers, and representing the Bible touting, gun carrying, Israel worshiping, lawyering and ordering, welfare despising, supra nationalizing, and 19th-century economics loving populace. On the surface, Trump brought the troops home, arranged deals with Middle Eastern nations and Israel that showed attention to Middle East happenings, and, in his way, modified trade issues and confronted China’s actions that reduced U.S. hegemony. Trump’s base considered him proactive, facing the challenges, and issuing commands, while Biden was considered a continuation of Democratic liberal rhetoric and desultory action.
While having a high approval rating with his constituency, Trump showed why the general public should reject him — continually displaying a mendacious, deceitful, egocentric nature, demonstrating little care for the American public, and giving excessive attention to himself. Constantly applauding his administration’s efforts in extravagant terms and taking credit for all accomplishments raised doubt that any accomplishment was actually due to his efforts, especially when he exhibited a lack of basic knowledge on most vital topics, one example being his statement that the Chinese are paying for the tariffs when the importer, and eventually the American people, pay the tariffs.
The Dems have been weak in countering public approval for Trump’s most expressed and unproven accomplishment ─ the economy. How many times a day, and in how many different presentations, did former president Donald Trump suddenly depart from script to exclaim, “This was the greatest economy we ever had, the greatest in the world, the greatest ever, and it all went down because of a pandemic?”
Research the U.S. economy and learn that since 1891, the United States (US) has always had, except for some recessions, the greatest economy in the world. During the Roaring Twenties, the US had half of world production; the Trump administration had only 1/8 of the same.
Except for George W. Bush, starting with Ronald Reagan, every U.S. president saw a substantial rise in the stock market during their administration. The Trump administration only added to existing trends — low unemployment and slow-rising GDP — features of the previous Barack Obama administration.
Trump did not disentangle America from military engagements; he brought the U.S. close to war with North Korea, only to back off and allow Kim Jung-Il to perfect his nuclear arsenal and increase ballistic missile range so his military could threaten America. Leaving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), allowed Iran to return to the development of nuclear weapons, a condition that the JCPOA impeded.
Donald Trump compounded his 2020 loss by a farcical attempt to overturn the election and by getting himself involved in civil cases and criminal charges that would preempt the average citizen from seeking election to a Homeowner Association Board. By continuing to insist, over and over again, that the election was stolen, Trump exhibited a lack of “smarts.” If he aroused doubts about the election and then stopped mentioning it, the ex-president would have left doubts with the electorate and showed himself as a generous person. Instead, he proved his charges were unfounded and showed himself as a petulant, bothersome, and disturbed person.
Two features of the election identified the implausibility of Trump’s charges.
(1) It is ridiculous to believe the Democrats would organize a conspiracy to steal the election. Polls already indicated a decisive Biden victory by several percentage points, Why would Democrats, expecting victory, jeopardize themselves and the anticipated election result by engaging in nefarious activities and risk being caught?
(2) Some irregularities and attempted fraud may occur, but It is impossible to fix a national election. A conspiracy to fix a national election requires an organization that has a central administration and hundreds of people in key states working in several well-coordinated actions. It is exceedingly difficult to gain hundreds of adherents, have them agree to a central authority, and be able to operate without fear of disclosure. The required organization must have several well-planned meetings to arrange activities and assignments. Can these activities — printing hundreds of thousands of false ballots, posting and mailing these false ballots, forging signatures, researching obituaries and voter registration lists — be performed without exposure and remain hidden from extensive intelligent investigation?
Only one ballot can be obtained by a registered voter. Using false names and dead people gathers few ballots. Collecting a multitude of ballots requires counterfeiting, which is a difficult task, logistically and artistically. Ballots feature particular design elements that are difficult to copy. “They are printed on special card stock, with exact page size, color and thickness varying by state, or even county or town.”
Let a host of geniuses manage to print the ballots with names of real or deceased people who would not be voting. How does the conspirator get the fraudulent ballots past the signature identification? Even if there were not 100 percent accurate signature identification, well-trained signature analysts will spot an unusual number of dubious ballots and, afterwards, every ballot will be rigorously analyzed. Each county has its method for ballot verification and most of them use signature identification as one of two secure steps in the voter validation process. San Diego County describes its method.
Returned ballot envelopes are run through an industrial mail sorter that dates and time stamps the ballot return envelope, compares the barcode on the envelope to data from the voter registration database, and captures an image of the voter’s signature on the envelope.
Registrar staff compare the signature from the ballot return envelope to the signature on file for the voter from their voter registration record. If the signature is comparable, the ballot return envelope is accepted. Accepted ballots move on to be extracted from their envelopes and then counted in the tabulation process. During signature verification, the ballot return envelope is checked against the statewide voter database to ensure the voter has not voted anywhere else in California.
Special security personnel handle the ballot transfer process to centers, and conspirators would have had to improvise devious means to bring fraudulent ballots into the secure center, navigate past security personnel, and hope the 360-degree cameras did not spot their illegal entries. Once inside, they would need co-conspirators to stow the ballots in a known location, and, at an opportune moment, have the co-conspirators retrieve and scan them.
Media should have confronted Trump and his followers on Day 1 and shown that it was impossible to fix the national election. No rational person can believe the 2020 election was rigged, and, weirdly, a huge component of the population embraces the concept. This is a disturbing factor in American life and demands study and correction. Having tens of millions of citizens who replace reality with fiction and follow a life of “reality TV” is ominous and dangerous. Equally strange is that both political Parties are intending to nominate “losers” as candidates. Is this the best of all possible worlds?
During primaries, political Parties offer candidates and the voting public has the opportunity to choose the candidate and shape the campaigns. Why, in the past two elections, have they chosen losers and are prepared to do the same in the 2024 election? Examination of these anomalies starts with noting the changed constituencies of the major political Parties.
Once the Party of the union workers and the less fortunate, the Democratic Party is now controlled by the global financial industry, Wall Street Bankers, and entertainment moguls. These makers and shakers fund the Party and favor its neo-liberal, social welfare, environmental, and climate policies, and the promotion of LGBT rights and democratic values. President Joe Biden fits perfectly into their plans; he’s their man and rather than gamble with an untested candidate, they stick with Joe and have sufficient resource strength to convince the Party members to follow their dictates.
The Republican Party has remained the Party of economic and social conservatives but includes workers who are against globalism, robotics, and changes to renewable energy, those sympathetic to white supremacy, supra-nationalists, citizens who feel Democratic social policies labor against them, and a large group that finds the Democratic Party elitist, patronizing, hypocritical, and contemptuous and feels disenfranchised.
The above-mentioned groups are major constituents of the GOP and Trump’s most faithful supporters. Other Republicans in the presidential race — Governor Ron de Santis, Former VP Mike Pence, and Senator Tim Scott offer Trumpism without Trump’s offensive characteristics and the lack of voter attention to their campaigns perplexes political pundits. From attendance at Trump rallies and contributions to his campaign, it seems that his ardent supporters relish his mean-spirited attitude and delight in his insulting and demeaning others. They see Trump as their hero and sharing in their victimhood, which they claim is caused by left-wing conspirators that direct policies specifically against them.
Trump’s constituents neglect Trump’s hypocritical operations — posing as the “law and order” president, massive disorder during several demonstrations in the streets of America (remember the Charlottesville, Virginia Unite the Right rally) and the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capital happened during his watch, the fiscal conservative Trump administration increased the national debt by almost $7.8 trillion, and his federal government awarded the now bankrupt Yellow Trucking corporation $700 million in pandemic-era loans on national security grounds. “A congressional probe concluded that the Treasury and Defense departments ‘made missteps’ in the decision and noted that Yellow’s precarious financial position at the time of the loan, and continued struggles, expose taxpayers to a significant risk of loss.”
Primary campaign winners do not need a majority of the electorate; at the most, they only need a majority of the chosen electors from their party, which may come from less than 25 percent of the voting public. Incumbent presidents have almost always been allowed to seek a second term and making an exception for Joe Biden is a difficult task. With nobody but Robert Kennedy Jr, in the running, Joe Biden is forced to remain in the race.
Trump once said that his supporters would remain with him even if he shot someone dead on New York’s Fifth Avenue. The indictments against him are not as severe as murder but sufficiently serious to make him a losing candidate. There may be a cadre of supporters who envision the super-wealthy Donald Trump as a misunderstood Jean Valjean but the overwhelming mass of the U.S. population takes pride in its justice system and will not be deceived.
GOP leaders refuse to recognize that the Republican Party is not a Republican Party with Donald Trump as its leader; it is a Trump Party with Republicans being used to satisfy his ambitions. Trump is not a viable candidate and the GOP is derelict in not taking action to prevent his nomination.
The 2024 presidential election is shaping as an unwanted Biden and Trump rematch. An aftershock of the election may be unwanted Democratic and Republican political Parties, a demand for their reshaping or the emergence of other political Parties.