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Will 2024 be a contest between two lightweights pretending to be heavyweights?

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Some voters in recent elections have complained about being forced to choose between ‘the lesser of two evils.’ In the 2024 election it appears we are heading for a worse choice — the evil of two lessers.

Former President Donald Trump continues demeaning and defaming anyone who disagrees with him. He repeats unproven claims that the 2020 election was ‘stolen.’ A myriad of other inaccurate statements has apparently had a negative influence on President Biden who has joined him in the mud pit. Recall it was Biden who promised to ‘bring us together’ — always an impossibility given the conflicting ideologies of Republicans and Democrats.

In his speech last week near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, Biden invoked George Washington as an example of a selfless man who refused to be crowned a king, resigned his commission as an Army general following the Revolutionary War, and limited himself to two terms as president.

An aside — Washington engaged in an insurrection according to the definition of that word: ‘ an act or instance of rising in revolt, rebellion, or resistance against civil authority or an established government.’ Wasn’t the British government ‘established’ over the colonies, however tyrannical it was? Some insurrections turn out better than others. The insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 – whether one believes it fits the definition or not — was still a rebellion against a legitimately established government with the express purpose of changing the election results. But I digress.

Biden’s Valley Forge speech shows voters that 2024 is shaping up as a contest between two lightweights pretending to be heavyweights. If Trump is elected, Biden said, America will become like Germany in the ’30s. The very future of democracy is at stake, he claimed. This is how Democrats think. Only when they win elections is the country safe.

This isn’t Biden’s first trip into the mud. During the 2012 presidential campaign, Vice President Biden told a Black audience that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney ‘would put you all back in chains.’

Biden apparently thinks his posturing as a pugilist, rather than a pragmatist, will allow him to out-punch Trump. That isn’t likely to happen as Biden has been viewed as a nice guy. No one calls Trump nice.

Where is this corrosive language getting us? Why can’t we have a true debate over the best ways to fix our problems? Claiming your opponent would rule like a Nazi, or that the other is a crook, solves nothing.

When polls show Biden and his policies are increasingly unpopular the president has two choices. One is to change course, which he is unlikely to do because that would mean acknowledging he has been wrong. When was the last time you heard a politician admit error? 

The other avenue is to ignore his failed policies — from the open border, to the national debt, crime, and foreign policy — and claim if he loses to Trump, it will be Armageddon time for the country. That strategy is not working, so far.

Polls also show most Democrats and Republicans prefer neither candidate. If Trump’s upcoming criminal trials result in convictions, that might diminish his appeal except to the Kool-Aid drinkers. Perhaps Biden’s potential impeachment, if the evidence of financial wrongdoing by his family can be proven, might have the same effect on some of the president’s supporters, but this late in the game it seems unlikely.

One scenario that could assuage voter angst: Could the rules be changed at both conventions this summer so that if Trump and Biden win enough of their primaries to claim the nomination of their respective parties, the delegates could vote to replace them? 

One might wish leaders of both parties could get together and offer a deal that promises ‘we’ll not nominate our guy if you agree not to nominate your guy.’ That might sound appealing to some, but it also seems equally unlikely. 

Too bad for America.

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