Voters dislike Biden and Trump – whose biggest weaknesses?
President Biden held a rare press conference before leaving Japan, and despite his advisers’ obvious strategy of largely shielding him from the media, he did basically well.
Most of the questions centered on the debt ceiling showdown that prompted him to leave the G-7 rally early, and Biden delivered a heavy blow. He said some Republicans in MAGA would welcome a government default “because I’m president and presidents are responsible for everything, Biden would take responsibility for it. And that’s the only way to make sure Biden doesn’t is not re-elected”.
Whether this is a smart strategy, as he tries to compromise with Kevin McCarthy, is debatable. What’s not up for debate is that people got to watch their president answer questions and appear knowledgeable about the issues, including during a separate appearance with Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Biden sometimes stumbles through these Q&A sessions — even if they’re worth doing — and there’s often a sense of anticipation: will he botch someone’s name, have a from memory or say something that needs to be put back?
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In other words, will he act like an 80-year-old president?
Although he appears to be a lock for the Democratic nomination, there are growing concerns among liberals that Biden’s mental acumen or physical stamina could worsen.
And hovering over the landscape of 2024 is, they say, the bleak prospect of a second Trump presidency.
A longtime voice on the left is that of Ruy Teixeira, an analyst and writer who has been telling the truth for decades. Although he is a senior fellow at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute, he is also a co-founder of the Liberal Patriot blog.
And Teixeira sees Biden as “an extraordinarily weak candidate,” stuck in the polls in the 1940s and unlikely to make much progress.
Democrats underestimate the former president: “There is no doubt that Trump has a lot of baggage, including his relentless insistence on the ‘stolen’ 2020 election, which should weaken him as an opponent.” But with Trump a point ahead in the Real Clear Politics average, he writes: “Yes, it’s early days but these results are not nothing.”
Given that Trump is impeached, under investigation for Jan. 6 and other issues, and just lost a sexual assault trial, shouldn’t Biden have a healthy lead?
Moreover, Teixeira says, Biden and the Democrats have drawn no lines “against cultural extremists in their own party.” The growing backlash against crime, illegal immigration and teaching sexual material in schools, among others, will be a drag on Biden’s candidacy.
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The president isn’t exactly Bernie Sanders, but if he had started trying to ease the border crisis two years ago rather than wait for Title 42 to expire – and his plan has facilitated migrant crossings in the short term – it would be much better disabled.
From the right, National Review editor Rich Lowry said Biden was one step away from election disaster.
I have had to argue with Lowry from the start because he used Biden’s meaningless half-stumble as a metaphor. The President lost his balance descending the stairs in Japan for a split second, straightened up with the next step – something we all did without hesitation.
But it is difficult to argue with the following part:
“If Biden were to do a facial plant, even going down a few stairs, it could be very ugly. Enough or not, it would be a symbol of American decrepitude. It’s one thing to have a senior senator from California who obviously should having hung it up several years ago; it’s quite another to have a President of the United States who no longer has the agility to move around easily.”
With Mitch McConnell recently suffering a concussion and a broken rib from a fall, “Biden could stumble at any time, and there’s no guarantee that would happen on any convenient timeline for Democrats, whereas, say, they could still come in. In fact, it could happen on a catastrophic timeline – if anything happened to Biden at the end of October 2024, it could easily start a close race for his Republican opponent, including Donald Trump.
“He would be more likely to look reckless to have taken on, once again, at 80 or 81, the physically, mentally and emotionally taxing enterprise of a national campaign, rather than the victim of circumstances beyond his control.” And that would make Biden, not Trump, the problem.”
So things look bleak for the president if he’s a banana peel away from disaster, don’t they?
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Well, stop hyperventilating if you want Biden to win. We have a discussion group that comes to the rescue.
With a mixed group from Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona and Wisconsin, The Washington Post found no particular enthusiasm for the president, with most of the 15 attendees describing negative emotions when they saw Biden: ‘confused’ , “worried”, “worried”. ‘sad’, ‘sorry’ and even ‘panicked'”.
The situation is getting worse, with many offering “disastrous assessments of Biden’s mental and physical abilities, calling him too old or speculating about the possibility of dementia.”
But 9 of the group’s 15 members said they would vote for Biden.
The reason? “In focus groups and polls, concerns about another Trump presidency are even greater, leaving Biden in a much better position if the two men meet in a rematch.”
Moderator Rich Thau told the newspaper that “deciding between Trump and Biden is like having to choose either a demolition derby car or an old clunker for a cross-country trip. With one or the other choice, they are not particularly happy”.
Yeah, that’s hardly inspiring. Most people don’t want either president running again and will likely be depressed if that happens, with some percentage staying home.
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But we can’t predict the outcome of an election based on 15 unknowns. A different group might say different things in a month or in a year.
So the race might come down to each man’s Kryptonite — Biden’s advanced age relative to Trump’s history of investigations and charges.