While campaigning with Barack Obama in 2008, then-Senator Joe Biden infamously declared that Obama’s top priority was “a three-letter word: Jobs. J-O-B-S.”
While it was a mockable moment, at least job creation got a mention. There are 350 words in President Biden’s 2024 announcement video, and “jobs,” “the economy,” and “inflation” are not among them. Not a single reference to the incumbent president’s economic record or his plans for future growth.
Instead, the video begins with scenes from the January 6 riot and a pro-abortion protester outside the U.S. Supreme Court. There are more mentions of “MAGA extremists” and “book burning” in Biden’s opening bid than rising food costs or falling wages.
Based on Biden’s messaging, it’s clear who he wants on the campaign trail with him in 2024, and it’s not Kamala Harris.
It’s Donald J. Trump.
“When I ran for president four years ago, I said, ‘We’re in a battle for the soul of America,’ and we still are,” Biden says. And who was Biden running against four years ago?
By centering his campaign on “defending democracy” and “giving hate no safe harbor,” Biden’s crafting a campaign specifically to take on Trump. He is betting as much on a Trump victory in the GOP primary as anyone at Mar-a-Lago.
Democrats like Rep. Annie Kuster (D-N.H.) agree. They believe Trump is a guaranteed winner — for them.
“It’s very good for us,” Kuster told Politico, adding that Trump is “unelectable” in New Hampshire. She also believes that with Trump at the top of the ticket, Republicans in Congress representing districts Biden carried in 2020 are doomed.
“I think we’ll win them all,” Kuster said.
Ironically, Trump supporters see the opposite. On Tuesday, Politico featured two headlines about Biden’s announcement:
- “Dems relish Trump-Biden rematch.”
- “Republicans think Biden is an ‘easy target’ to unite their party.”
“He’s such an easy target,” said New Hampshire GOP strategist Dave Carney said of Biden.
In other words, both parties have the same message for the voters: “Sure, our guy stinks — but get a load of their guy!”
So, what happens if events intervene — as they often do — and one of the two frontrunners doesn’t make it to the November ballot? Setting aside the actuarial tables, Biden’s a virtual lock on his party’s nomination.
Not so with Trump. Yes, he is the frontrunner, but his most significant GOP challenger has $100 million and hasn’t even entered the race yet. Trump is already talking about skipping the GOP primary debates, not the sign of a confident candidate.
And so, while Trump is currently the odds-on favorite, it would hardly be a shock if, a year from now, DeSantis was the presumed frontrunner or if the GOP was headed to a contested convention. Or something else.
Whatever that “something else” might be, Biden’s not a candidate who is prepared for it. Sure, January 6 is a great issue to use against Trump, but is it really going to work against DeSantis or Nikki Haley? Or try this: Imagine Biden making his “defend democracy” argument against former Vice President Mike Pence.
Abortion will remain a potent issue for Democrats no matter who Republicans nominate, including pro-choice Gov. Chris Sununu. But without Donald Trump to dominate the conversation, voters will naturally turn to other topics like — just to pick one at random — the wisdom of electing an 82-year-old who already has to spend three days a week at his Delaware beach house and has not done a single interview with reporters from a major newspaper.
A new Morning Consult poll found just 68 percent of Democrats believe Biden is in good health, down from 81 percent when he first took office. “And three in four Democrats say Biden is mentally fit, down from 87 percent two years ago.”
How bad is the age issue for Biden? When White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre was asked Tuesday if Biden plans to serve all eight years if re-elected, her answer was: “That’s something for him to decide.”
Actually, as every American knows, that decision is above Biden’s pay grade.
The only thing stopping voters from pondering this difficult issue and the prospect of a Kamala Harris presidency is Donald Trump. He’s the only political figure big enough to hide all of Biden’s shortcomings.
Democrats may hate Trump, but they need him even more.