Democrats are in dreamland if they think Biden can run and win in 2024
President Joe Biden reportedly told former President Barack Obama that he intended to run for office in 2024. He had wanted to be president for decades, so his desire to keep the Oval Office came as no surprise. But the case for a second term is pretty weak — and voters know it even if Dreamland Democrats don’t.
Inflation is at its worst in 40 years, wiping out wage growth. Crime is increasing in many major cities. Employers are struggling with labor shortages. Illegal immigration could exceed 2 million encounters this year, amid a border crisis that has spiraled out of control since virtually the time Biden took office.
The last time a Democrat ran for office under similar circumstances, he lost 44 states and the party didn’t sniff out the White House for 12 years.
The only numbers worse than these appalling statistics are Biden’s dismal ratings. The RealClearPolitics poll average has the president’s job approval underwater by more than 10 points. Quinnipiac and CNBC have Biden’s approval in the 1930s. On specific issues, such as immigration, his disapproval rating can reach 60%.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll from April found that 61% think the country is on the wrong track compared to just 25% who say it is headed in the right direction. An Economist/YouGov survey conducted around the same time showed a similar split: 60% wrong way, 28% right direction.
It speaks to Biden’s more fundamental failure: He campaigned as an expert legislative tactician who would do great things because he could unify the country and govern skillfully, unlike the erratic chief executive he was running against. Instead, Biden pushed through a small part of his platform, the country remains as polarized as ever, and the major issues he was elected on persist indefinitely.
Biden was supposed to bring back normality. He could not. And on issues like COVID-19 protocols, his administration is fighting almost alone against a return to normalcy, even though some sympathizers like teachers’ unions would prefer to see us even more masked and shut down. The American people stopped ranking Biden on the ‘not Donald Trump’ curve around the chaotic exit from Afghanistan last year, though barely a week goes by without the White House firing the 45th President.
So why would anyone think Biden deserves another term? For many Democrats, Biden is an innocent bystander, a far more unlucky witness to Forrest Gump history. The only exceptions are the falling unemployment and robust GDP growth that would have inevitably occurred after the post-COVID economic reopening. This, they say, Biden’s policies are directly responsible for.
Like the inflation that was meant to be “transient,” Democrats hope Biden’s fortunes improve soon — just in time for the 82-year-old to win re-election, like an old dog learning new tricks. But these are not unfortunate things that happened to Biden. The border is a mess because his immigration policies have made one. Inflation is rising because of trillions of dollars in federal spending, which Biden would like to pile trillions more on. Only his ineffectiveness as a legislative negotiator, one of his main selling points in the 2020 campaign, kept this problem from getting any worse.
Biden has run an adversarial campaign for president. He promised suburban voters he needed to convince that he would govern bipartisanly and keep his distance from the leftist excesses of the Democratic Party. He also vowed to his progressive base that he would sign his wish list into law, with only Democratic votes, as the second coming of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
It was always going to be impossible for Biden to keep his two promises. Instead, he was arguably a failure on both counts. He largely avoided bipartisanship, despite most of his few legislative accomplishments requiring Republican votes. He only got one big Liberal spending bill through reconciliation.
Voters still identify the Democratic Party with masked zealots, wacky scolds, defenders of the police and enemies of religious parents despite Biden’s efforts to distance himself — and often because of his administration’s own policies. Four more years is not something to look forward to. Democrats are cut off from reality if they think most Americans do.
W. James Antle III is political editor of the Washington Examiner and author of “Devoring Freedom: Can Big Government Ever Be Stopped?”