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Trump vs Biden
Articles on the USA published before 2024

  • (january 2024) Trump vs Biden

    I am not scared of Trump winning. I am scared of what Trump will do when he loses again. See below.
    The pundits are predicting a replay of the 2020 presidential race, with Donald Trump and Joe Biden each nominated by his party. I will believe it when i see it. So far the vast majority of US voters does NOT want such a replay. Both candidates have record low approval ratings. One is a scumbag, the other one is over 80. Both have cognitive decline.
    First of all, the temptation for someone else to run as an independent is higher than ever. When the two presumptive candidates are so disliked by the voters, Joe Manchin, Liz Cheney, and many others have a golden opportunity that might never repeat. A (serious) independent will change all calculations. There would even be a serious chance that no candidate wins 270 electoral votes, and the decision moves to Congress (so the constitution says).
    The independent candidate may well be Trump if he loses the nomination. That's the fundamental blackmail, right? Trump is subtly telegraphing to the Republican establishment that he is either their nominee or he runs as an independent, taking his MAGA base with him. That's why Nikky Haley has no chance of becoming president. Were she nominated by the Republican Party, she would beat Biden easily (according to today's polls), but only if noone split the Republican vote. If she miraculously manages to win the nomination over Trump, Trump will do just that: run as an independent and split the Republican vote, which means that Biden can win in every single state (the very "red" states are precisely the ones where Trump will suck away a lot of votes from Republican candidate Haley).
    At the same time, Haley herself could be tempted. Haley knows that she would win the general election if she ran against Trump or Biden separately, and by a big margin: why not run as an independent against both? She would probably get the majority of the independent vote, some disgruntled Democratic votes, and all the "Never Trump" Republican votes. A recent Gallup poll shows that 43% of voters identify as "independent" compared with 27% each for the two major parties. She could win 70% of that 43%, 20% of the Democratic 27% and and 20% of the Republican 27% for a grand total of 41% of the popular vote, with Biden and Trump presumably each getting about half of the remaining 59%.
    Anyway, let's assume that the pundits are right and this will be a replay of 2020: Trump vs Biden. Poll after poll shows that today pretty much any Republican can easily beat Biden... except Trump. Depending on the day of the week, polls predict that Trump beats Biden by a narrow margin, or viceversa. Biden's ratings can only go up (see further down) so Trump is indeed the weakest Republican to run against Biden. That matches my perception: many Democrats and independents, after watching the Republican debates, feel that they could vote for Haley, even for DeSantis, but never for Trump, no matter what. I suspect that the vast majority of independents will again shut their nose and vote against Trump, and that many Republicans (let's call them the Haley-Christie republicans) will not vote at all. Biden will lose votes (especially among Hispanics) but also gain votes (among women). Trump can only win like he won in 2016, by a technicality after losing the popular vote by 3 million votes to Hillary Clinton (and, IMHO, with some voter fraud). Ultimately, the US is not a democracy (See The USA never was a Democracy), so again it will depend on the arcane medieval institution of the electoral college. But, again, that's in the event that it comes down to a Biden-Trump contest, which i will believe only when it happens.
    I am not scared of Trump winning. I am scared of what Trump will do when he loses again. That's the real issue in a Biden-Trump race: Trump is likely to lose again, and then we know what he will say: "I won, the election was stolen again". What will he try this time to overthrow Biden? And will we have four more years of whining? Will the neofascist branch of the Republican Party accept the results or start a civil war, faced with the fact that they can never win an election? The USA is not ready for four more years of Trump terrorism just like it was not ready on September 2001. Even if a judge eventually sends him to jail, Trump will not fade away: he will continue to whine and opine even from jail, and he may run again every four years, and this tragicomedy may repeat itself every four years until he dies. It's a huge price to pay for the USA. Putin's greatest achievement: a permanent thorn in the side of the US democracy, a terrorist attack day after day.
    One thing that most non-Democrats seem to miss: Democrats love Trump. Just like Trump got Biden elected in 2020 and just like Trump helped Democrats in the 2022 midterms, Democrats are convinced that Trump is the best Republican for them to beat in 2024. Which is probably true. Democrats are rooting for Trump to win the Republican nomination or run as an independent. You've probably never seen a compilation of all the incoherent rambling that Trump does when he speaks, but you've seen dozens of Biden's, right? Trump is more senile that Biden but from the media you'd guess the opposite. Trump has fallen, tripped, frozen so many times but you've probably never seen it. On the other hand, you've probably seen countless videos of Biden falling, limping, etc. The "liberal" media are kind to Trump just like Fox News is.
    A recent poll mentioned by the Economist showed that almost 60% of US voters think that the USA is in the middle of a recession and about 50% of US voters think that unemployment is high. That's while economists all over the world wonder how the USA can keep the economy growing so fast and unemployment so low. How many US voters know that the US stock market just hit an all-time record high at the same time that the Chinese stock market is crashing? When is the last time that the US economy was doing better than the Chinese economy? Fox News has only one million viewers: it cannot possibly influence 100 million people. Obviously it's all the media, right and left, including bloggers and social media, who paint that gloomy picture of the economy.
    The media are also responsible for spreading the feeling that Biden is senile while Trump is still sharp like a knife, when in fact he is at least as senile if not more. I analyzed Trump's many "lies". Trump has always been a congenital liar, but recently his lies are not only outrageous, they are also... weird. He confused Haley and Pelosi. He frequently confuses Biden and Obama. He mistook his accuser Jean Carrol for his ex-wife. And so on. That's the real reason why Trump avoided the Republican debates: first, so that he would not be held accountable for all the failures of his presidency, and second because his cognitive decline would be obvious. When he talks about foreign affairs, he is often credited with supporting a conspiracy theory when in fact he is just mixing up South Korea with North Korea or China with Japan or Hezbollah with Israel's armed forces IDF. He honestly doesn't remember who is an ally and who is an enemy. Trump said that Hungarian prime minister Orban is the president of Turkey and that Hungary borders on Russia. Trump warned that the world "must not slide into World War Two". DeSantis's campaign was right on target when they posted a thread of several confusing remarks by Trump and commented “this is why his handlers won’t let him debate.” There is wall-to-wall coverage of every Biden gaffe but there is hardly any coverage of Trump’s increasingly erratic behavior.
    On the other hand, Biden's ratings can only go up. So far Biden hasn't basically campaigned at all and the media have largely ignored his achievements and only repeat that he's too old. In reality, there is nothing particularly wrong with his presidency except that he's way too old and that the media dislike him (both right and left). There should be an age limit, ideally 65 (also for senators, but then again the Senate is another institution that needs to be abolished, like the electoral college). Biden has ruled decently both on foreign policy and domestic policy. It should be easy for the Biden campaign to defend him from the most damaging accusations. Inflation? There is inflation in every country except China, and it's usually worse. And the US inflation was also caused by four Trump actions: the 10% tariff on Chinese goods (which is paid by US consumers, not by China, and is de facto just a tax on the middle class), the undoing of the nuclear deal with Iran (which took millions of barrels of oil off the market), the crackdown on immigration (that discouraged potential immigrants and caused wages to increase), and the 7 trillion dollars that Trump added to the US debt (including the $1,200 cheques that Trump sent to every US family). The border issue is a consequence of not having immigration reform, which is not Biden's fault. The withdrawal from (and debacle of) Afghanistan was a consequence of the surrender signed by Trump in Qatar. The fantanyl crisis started skyrocketing under Trump. China became a technological juggernaut under Trump. Russia rebuilt its military status under Trump. North Korea increased its nuclear arsenal and the range of its missiles under Trump. Biden gets blamed for all of these crises but his failure is mainly that he was not able to undo what Trump did. It is Trump who set the USA on course towards all these crises.
    The border issue has become a major rallying cry for Republicans, but that's as unfair as it gets. It is Republicans who have blocked immigration reform for 17 years (ironically it was originally proposed by Republican president George W Bush). The USA needs immigrants to fill a multitude of jobs that US citizens don't want, from picking tomatoes to hospital nurses, but there is no legal way to hire many of such immigrants. Migrants know that there are jobs in the USA for them for the simple reason that many US businesses hire them, and those US businesses who hire illegal immigrants are mostly Republicans. Far-right Republicans excel at doing the opposite of what they preach: Trump's wife got a dubious green card (she had no job at the time but she was granted the "Einstein visa" reserved for top scientists) and then her parents came in as parents of a US citizen and then other relatives came in as close family of such parents, precisely the family-based immigration schemes that far-right Republicans condemn. Last but not least, let's face what caused the economic crises in the home countries of the Hispanic migrants: mostly drugs (purchased by US addicts) and guns (sold by US gun sellers). If we stopped screwing up their countries, maybe they wouldn't think of emigrating in the first place.
    Biden has achieved quite a bit, more than Obama did in eight years: the American Rescue Plan, the infrastructure bill to repair roads, waterways, bridges and railroads, and bring high-speed internet to rural communities, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the confusingly named Inflation Reduction Act, which made health insurance more affordable for many and lowered drug costs, bills to help veterans, the CHIPS and Science Act to support the US semiconductor industry, and bills to reduce greenhouse emissions and promote clean energy. Biden expanded the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") and than 21 million people signed up for it in 2023. Economists kept predicting a recession (even a "depression" according to those interviewed on Fox News): Biden proved them wrong, and keeps proving them wrong. Last but not least, his party keeps winning elections even though he is wildly unpopular. I predict that history will be kind to Biden. If only he rode off into the sunset...
    I strongly disagree with his support for Israel and his appeasement of Saudi Arabia, so Biden would not be my favorite candidate for president, but the point is that his record is way better than most US voters perceive. That's why i argue that Biden's ratings can only go up.
    Biden's biggest liability in 2024 is his vice-president Kamala Harris. If the vicepresident was an issue in 2020 when Biden was 77, that issue is only more pressing now that he's 81 and very likely to become incapacitated in the next four years. His chances of winning reelection would increase if the vicepresident were someone like Amy Klobuchar (my favorite in 2020) or (if it has to be a man) Hakeem Jeffries, or Susan Rice (the Nicky Haley of the Democratic Party) or Gretchen Whitmer or the very competent Gina Raimondo, or, across the aisle, Liz Cheney. Or someone who would galvanize the younger generations, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Plenty of alternatives if Harris did the right thing and bowed out.

    See also: Biden never won

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