Week of February 13, 2024

Analyzing the 2024 Presidential Election

 

In 10 months, the US will be holding its presidential election.  And the election looks unusual.  The incumbent is clearly suffering from dementia and senility.  The challenger is facing numerous felony charges.  Despite that, the incumbent and challenger have all but clinched their party nominations.

The incumbent, Joe Biden, has become an embarrassment in public as he gets lost finding his way off stage and has problems saying simple words.  No wonder the White House turned down a CBS offer to speak to the nation just before the Super Bowl, when millions of voters could see him.

The powers that are in the Democratic Party know this and would prefer a candidate that would not be the punch line for jokes.  However, the odds are that Biden will win the nomination and head into the fall as the Democratic nominee.

Biden is the president and holds the key to his future.  Unless VP Harris and the Cabinet rule that he is unable to fill the office of president, he is in until the end of his term.  Even then, there will be a fight in Congress about whether he remains in office.

The fact is that he holds a lot of power in terms of appointments.  He also has considerable power to write regulations.  His “handlers” and many currently in power know that and will continue to support him.  Will people like Jill Biden (or even Obama) be willing let go of power?  Probably not.  And, given the polls, Biden is not in a hopeless position.

No matter what, Biden will be seating on the podium in front of the Capitol on January 20, 2025 –either as a reelected president or as the outgoing president turning power over to Trump.  The Democratic leadership will not want Biden to resign before January 20th.  That leaves VP Harris as acting president and the Republican Speaker of the House, Johnson, as the next in line for the presidency.

If the Democratic leadership manages to convince Biden and his handlers to announce he is not running for reelection after the Democratic Convention, the Democratic leadership will have the power to name a new ticket.

 

So, who will they pick?

Forget VP Kamala Harris.  She is unpopular and incompetent, even to the top Democrats.

There is California Governor Gavin Newsom.  He clearly wants the position, is photogenic, and a good speaker.  But California suffers from financial problems related to significant operating deficits, and high taxes.

The media will like him, but he will have problems in the general election.

Needless to say, there are about two dozen Democratic governors who would like the nomination, but jump starting a presidential campaign in a few weeks would be challenging.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has been mentioned as possible presidential timber in the past and as governor of the tossup state of Michigan, would be helpful in a close election.  She is also a good VP in case Biden dies or becomes even more mentally unstable.

There is the name of former first lady Michelle Obama being mentioned – thus bringing in a third Obama term.  She would bring enthusiasm to several sectors of the Democratic Party, but she has repeatedly stated she isn’t interested in the job.

Of course, Barak Obama would like the job, but since he is prevented from running again, he might try to pressure Michelle to run.

 

Trump

Trump has all but won the Republican nomination and negated the Insurrection clause in the US Constitution.  He still has several trials coming up, but they likely will be postponed until after the election.  Of course, if he wins, expect either a pardon for himself or a new Attorney General who will trash all the indictments.

Trump is actively looking for a VP and he has made several comments about specific Republicans.  Here are several possibilities:

SENATOR TOM SCOTT.  Several analysts have said Trump should pick a minority running mate and Senator Scott could possibly be the choice.  He is one of the leading Republicans in the nation and withdrew from the presidential race in 2023 and endorsed Trump.

Polling shows that Blacks, especially Black males, are moving away from Biden and preferring Trump as time goes along.  Even taking a few Black voters from Biden could make it difficult for the President to win reelection.

VIVEK RAMASWAMY.  Another minority choice for Trump would be billionaire Vivek Ramaswamy.  He is young (38 years old), the son of Indian Immigrants, and has a conservative political view that mirrors Trump.  A young person would help attract younger voters.

GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM.  As the governor of the safe Republican state of South Dakota, Governor Noem won’t be picked for the state’s electoral votes.  She is conservative and articulate.  She also has experience as a state governor.  Proof that she is on the VP short list is that Trump called her “A warrior for American values.”

 

Other Possibilities:

Tucker Carlson.  He is a former Fox News personality with name recognition and conservative stands.  Carlson, however, may have damaged himself somewhat by interviewing Russian President Putin.  Since the US is helping Ukraine, interviewing the Russian leader may tarnish his reputation among some voters.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.  A Trump firebrand, who makes controversial comments designed to upset Democrats.  If she can deliver Georgia to Trump, she may prove valuable.

Senator J.D. Vance.  A freshman senator from Ohio – a traditional tossup state.  Previously a “never Trump” person, he is now close to Trump.  He is a more likely candidate in 2028.

Rep. Elise Stefanik.  She is the senior ranking women in the GOP congressional leadership, and she comes from very Democratic New York.  She is only 39 years old.  Trump may decide she is more important in Congress but expect to see her name mentioned frequently in 2028.

 

Issues

There appear to be two major issues this year – the economy and illegal immigration.  Although Democrats have accused Republicans of using immigration for votes and as an issue to attack Democrats, in a representative government, government decisions should represent the views of the electorate.

According to a Harris poll put out a couple of weeks ago, broad majorities of Republicans and Independents (85% and 71%) want to see tougher border enforcement.  Even Democrats are split on the issue 50-50.  A Pew Poll shows 41% of voters agreeing with Republican policies while only 31% agree with Democratic policies.

Clearly, the immigration issue has hurt Biden’s popularity.  It’s also hurting in states that he needs to win.  With the sealing of the Texas border, the Tucson, Arizonasector is seeing a major jump in illegal immigration as illegal immigrants seek an easier crossing.

In a Marist poll this week, 42% of Americans said the US is too open.

Note that Biden won Arizona by only .3%, so immigration may be the winning margin in a close election.

According to the Harris poll of last month, Immigration was the major problem for 35% of Americans.

Immigration has clearly overtaken economic issues as the major concern.  32% say inflation is their major concern; while 25% said it was the economy and jobs.

Although the election is a long time from now, the issues that will drive voters to the polls favor the Republicans.  No matter the face of the Democratic nominee, the policies will be the same.