Joe Biden Can Still Win in 2024: Standing defiantly at the dais in the United States House of Representatives, slurring and awkwardly whispering through his State of the Union Address back in March, President Joe Biden managed to do something his critics keep assuming that he can’t: managing incredibly low expectations.
In so doing, Biden has shown why he has been in the political game for so long—and why he has risen to the top of the dogpile.
Biden was elected in 2020 because he was seen as the “anti-Trump.” Whereas in 2016, the American people were looking for an outsider to disrupt the stilted political system that had stopped serving the American people, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the American people were looking for calm and stability—two things that President Donald Trump was incapable of delivering to them.
So what happens in 2024? Can Joe Biden win a second term?
Donald Trump the Unstable
American voters were annoyed with Trump’s constant rage-tweeting; they became aggravated that Trump’s presidency was so unstable, what with the constant revolving door of personnel and the continual investigations and spats with the media.
Before 2020, voters had tolerated Trump’s eccentricities because the economy was doing well, once COVID-19 happened the country had been locked down, the economy went into freefall. Trump’s one silver bullet in the 2020 election—the economy’s strength—went away virtually overnight once the pandemic began in earnest in the United States. With that advantage gone, it became a personality contest between the mad fireball Donald Trump and “Sleepy” Joe Biden.
In its moment of crisis, the Americans chose the serenity of sleepiness to the radical uncertainty of rage.
Many pundits today believe that Joe Biden is unelectable. And while I have been a fierce critic of the president, I also recognize that most Americans are not paying attention to politics the way that I do. In fact, that inattentiveness to politics is one of the primary reasons why Biden keeps making it through when he should not.
Republicans insist that Biden is the next Jimmy Carter. That may be.
But, do most voters believe this?
Joe Biden is the Democratic Party’s Gerald Ford
Judging from the way that the 2022 Midterm Elections played out, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Actually, most voters seem more skeptical about Trump and his rising “MAGA” base within the Republican Party than they do with Joe Biden’s sclerotic and listless presidency. Far from being Jimmy Carter, then, most Americans likely view Biden as a Democratic Party version of former President Gerald R. Ford.
Ford was the successor to Richard M. Nixon, who infamously resigned after he was accused of being involved in the Watergate burglary.
In the aftermath of Nixon’s presidency, the Legislative Branch worked assiduously to limit the power of the executive branch—making the Ford presidency one of the weakest in American history. Ford was viewed by his own party as merely a placeholder for someone more conservative and more politically dynamic. This is precisely how many Democrats view Biden today.
Still, that doesn’t mean that Biden will automatically lose.
The Republicans assuming this are making a dangerous and inaccurate calculation. After all, mere polarization alone means that the Democratic Party’s voters will stand by their man no matter what and most Republican voters will oppose him.
Biden’s Record (On Paper)
Whatever the media claims about Biden, it’s important to note that at least on paper, his has been a successful presidency in terms of bipartisan legislation passed. Historians will likely remember him as one of the most effective legislative presidents in American history, given the sheer volume of bills he’s gotten passed since taking office.
Many Americans (myself included) were critical of Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal. Yet, most Americans approved of Biden’s withdrawal (perhaps not the style of the exit but the idea that we needed to leave Afghanistan after 20 years of endless war).
The economy, while not great, has also not totally collapsed. This only works in Biden’s favor if someone like Donald Trump is the Republican nominee running against Biden in 2024. If 2024 is a rematch of 2020, then Trump and the Republicans may be in for it. Because the same moderate voters—many of the so-called “Biden Republicans”—who came out to vote for Biden over Trump in 2020 may do so again.
It isn’t that most voters think Biden is the greatest president or wouldn’t replace him, it’s just that there are no viable alternatives in their eyes. Trump is too unstable and they’d rather the serenity of Biden’s senile stability rather than Trump’s braggadocio.
The State of the Union
Judging from Biden’s State of the Union address months back, he will continue to be competitive.
His speech was workmanlike and not very memorable. What was important, though, was the fact that Biden advocated for almost Trump-like economic nationalist policies. Most Americans liked what they had heard that evening (while the Republicans booed Biden’s calls to save Social Security, a wildly popular social program aimed at helping the elderly).
Even many Trump-supporting pundits noted how Biden’s speech resonated with them and their economic agenda (which deviates from the low-tax-and-low-regulation Republican Party economic orthodoxy). Further, Joe Biden is very much a man for his time. Whereas in 2001, he was described by The Guardian as being on the fringes of the Democratic Party, just 20 years later, he’s the president. This is less because Joe Biden has changed and more because the American electorate has clearly shifted to the Left.
Alas, the Republican Party’s preferred programs will ring less and less true the closer we get to the 2030s.
Bottom line: the Republicans are fools for underestimating Joe Biden. For all his faults, he has consistently upstaged them. Rather than chortling on about how Biden is Jimmy Carter 2.0, Republicans should be honing meaningful attacks on Biden’s actual record and other aspects of the Biden presidency so as to weaken and reduce Biden’s stature in public—making it possible for the Right to get a clearer shot at him. As it stands, however, Biden very well may get reelected because the Republican Party is living in the past.
Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who recently became a writer for 19FortyFive.com. Weichert is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as a contributing editor at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (March 28), and Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (May 16). Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.