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COVID kept then-candidate Joe Biden in his basement for the 2020 campaign, and keeping the former vice president mostly out of sight worked. It appears the increasingly infirm incumbent is going with a replay of the 2020 campaign.
It won’t work.
Gallup tells us, in polling conducted January 2 through 22, that fewer than four in 10 U.S. registered voters say President Joe Biden deserves to be reelected. Only 38 percent of voters who say Biden deserves a second term, which is slightly lower than the 41 percent of Americans who approve of the job he is doing in the same survey. In short, the president’s numbers probably can’t go any lower. He has hit bottom and will bounce along there until November.
Sunday’s NBC poll had woeful numbers for Biden. Only 23 percent thought Biden had greater physical and mental capacity to do the job than former President Trump. That’s the sound of the bell tolling.
The new “border bill” isn’t going to turn things around for Biden. It’s awful. It doesn’t build the wall, and it proposes—really—$1.3 billion in ankle bracelets for migrants entering the country illegally. It was a diversion that didn’t and couldn’t work. Biden’s deep unpopularity has many sources.
Biden’s woeful numbers are in part driven by the president’s awful record on pocketbook issues. Hard facts: overall prices are up more than 17 percent since Biden was elected. Food prices have spiked more than 20 percent. And, oh, the rent is too damn high. It’s gone up 18.6 percent since Joe Biden took office.
Life was easier, the economy better, and the United States more secure under Donald Trump. A percentage of the electorate doesn’t like Trump for any number of reasons. London bookies —it’s legal to accept bets on our election there but not here—have titled “bigly” towards Trump: The front-runner for the Republican nomination is 5/6 to beat Biden. Those odds represent a 54.5 percent likelihood.
By contrast, Biden is now 7/4 (36.4 percent) to secure a second term.
The miserable performance of Bidenomics is primarily to blame for the president’s descent, but close behind is his manifest physical infirmity and his belief he can bluff his was past what every viewer sees when he walks and hears when he talks. He’s very old, older, it appears, than his chronological age. And it shows. Trump, by contrast, looks and sounds much younger than the average 77-year-old.
On top of the economy and the infirmity are three other key issues for 2024.
First, Biden gave a big lift to Israel shortly after the slaughter of 10/7 when he visited the stricken nation. And ever since he (or whoever is running his Administration) has been walking back support for Israel. Enough supporters of the Jewish State in the United States have noticed this to imperil Biden in states like Pennsylvania and Michigan.
Second, the eight million migrants who jumped the border in the first three years of Biden’s tenure is a fixed fact of the Biden era. He threw open the border. Turns out Americans think that’s terrible policy, and they aren’t buying Biden’s excuses.
Next, the appeasement policies of Joe Biden —his abandonment of Afghanistan, his “too little, too late, too long” Ukraine policy and now his tit-for-tat paddy cake with Iran and its many proxies in the Middle East encourages more attacks and endangers more American troops and our allies. Having the always unpredictable Trump back in the Oval will again send the dictator’s league into deep think. Having a president who keeps the bad guys guessing turns out to, well, keep them from attacking, too.
Oh, one more, bonus Trump advantage: Kamala Harris. There won’t be any debates, this fall, but whether Trump’s running mate is Senator Tom Cotton, Joni Ernst, or Dan Sullivan, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Congressman Mike Gallagher or Ambassador Robert O’Brien, each is a serious, smart, and experienced voice on national security affairs, not a word-salad with giggled assembly line.
Nine months to go. You gotta like Trump’s chances.
Hugh Hewitt is one of the country’s leading journalists of the center-right. A son of Ohio and a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Michigan Law School, Hewitt has been a Professor of Law at Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law since 1996 where he teaches Constitutional Law. Hewitt launched his eponymous radio show from Los Angeles in 1990, and it is today syndicated to hundreds of stations and outlets across the country every Monday through Friday morning. Hewitt has frequently appeared on every major national news television network, hosted television shows for PBS and MSNBC, written for every major American paper, has authored a dozen books and moderated a score of Republican candidate debates, most recently the November 2023 Republican presidential debate in Miami and four Republican presidential debates in the 2015-16 cycle. Hewitt focuses his radio show and this column on the Constitution, national security, American politics and the Cleveland Browns and Guardians. Hewitt has interviewed tens of thousands of guests from Democrats Hillary Clinton and John Kerry to Republican Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump over his forty years in broadcast, and this column previews the lead story that will drive his radio show today.