At the New York Times, Carlos Lozada takes a provocative position by arguing that a Biden-Trump rematch may not be the election anyone wants, but it’s the election American needs.
Yes, both men are unpopular, remarkably so. Only a third of Americans view President Biden favorably, and two-thirds of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters want to nominate someone else for the presidency (no one in particular, just someone else, please). Trump is the overwhelming favorite to become the Republican nominee for the third consecutive time, but his overall approval rating is lower than Biden’s. And while 60 percent of voters don’t want to put Trump back in the White House, 65 percent don’t want to hand Biden a second term, either. The one thing on which Americans seem to agree is that we find a Biden-Trump 2024 rematch entirely disagreeable.
Hardly a ringing endorsement for a rematch, but this is the “don’t want” side of the ledger. What about the “need” side?
But it also may signal an underlying reluctance to acknowledge the meaning of their standoff and the inescapability of our decision. A contest between Biden and Trump would compel Americans to either reaffirm or discard basic democratic and governing principles. More so than any other pairing, Biden versus Trump forces us to decide, or at least to clarify, who we think we are and what we strive to be.
Lozada goes on to describe Trump’s plan to “reimagine” America as a petty dictatorship. To be fair, it’s not as if Trump has hidden his plans or tried to smooth them over by claiming some benefit to anyone but Trump.
Trump is running as an overtly authoritarian candidate — the illusion of pivots, of adults in the room, of a man molded by the office, is long gone. He is dismissive of the law, except when he can harness it for his benefit; of open expression, except when it fawns all over him; and of free elections, except when they produce victories he likes. He has called for the “termination” of the Constitution based on his persistent claims of 2020 electoral fraud, and according to The Washington Post, in a new term he would use the Justice Department as an instrument of vengeance against political opponents. We know who Trump is and what he offers.
On the Biden side, Lozada neglects to recognize his middling capitulation to progressive fantasies and massive spending to transfer money from Americans who neither adopt personal pronouns nor make land acknowledgements before digging ditches, trying to survive, if not get ahead, to achieve equity, whatever that means.
Biden’s case to the electorate — for 2020, 2022 and 2024 — has been premised on the preservation of American democratic traditions. In the video announcing his 2020 campaign, he asserted that “our very democracy” was at stake in the race against Trump. In a speech two months before the midterm vote last year, he asserted that Trump and his allies “represent an extremism that threatens the very foundation of our Republic.” And the video kicking off his 2024 re-election bid featured multiple scenes of the assault on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. “The question we are facing,” Biden said, “is whether in the years ahead we have more freedom or less freedom.” That is our choice in 2024.
So on the right, we have Trump promising to undermine democracy and constrain freedom, while on the left, we have Biden promising greater democracy and freedom as long as it’s the democracy and freedom that meets progressive approval. Is this really what we need?
But what if, given these choices, a full and fair election is held and, as it turns out, Trump wins. Maybe it’s just the electoral college, which is the way our system works gripes notwithstanding, or maybe he gets the popular vote as well. What then?
The most serious argument pitched by the Democrats is that they are the party of democracy and the Republicans, more specifically Trump and his MAGA Republicans, are the party of authoritarianism. Assuming that’s true, then what’s the party of Democracy to do should democracy prevail, except that the authoritarian is elected? Will they accept the loss, even though Trump was too puny a person to admit he got beaten and chose instead to push an absurd lie to pretend he wasn’t a disgraced loser? If the Dems are, indeed, the party of democracy, then they must accept the outcome of a fair election, even if it’s not the outcome they want.
Hard as it may be to imagine, it seems quite possible that we will elect a old, vugler, narcissistic, lying ignoramus over an even older man with a vice president nobody wants in the oval who spends promiscuously in massive bills, the contents of which nobody actually knows, with an inclination to pacify the far left by throwing money and law behind racist identity policies under the guise of equity.
And if this wasn’t the case before, it’s certainly the case now that the radical left wing of the Democrats are calling Biden “Genocide Joe” and demanding that he forsake Israel to support terrorism, rape, kidnap and murder, so long as it putatively serves the “oppressed.” It’s not that the woke will vote for Trump, but it’s that they are increasingly less likely to vote Biden or to work for his re-election.
Along with losing black and Hispanic voters, who don’t want some purple-haired kid demanding they put an X at the end of their identity, Biden’s got issues. On the other hand, Biden wins overwhelmingly on the issue of abortion, possibly the best thing Republicans could ever do to help the Democrats’ cause and motivate people to turn out to vote against the GOP.
The problem with being the party of democracy is that democracy has a tendency to bite society in the butt.
Oddly, even as the electorate seems to want little to do with either of these two candidates — let alone with both at the same time — Biden and Trump seem to need each other.
Yet, if these are the only choices presented to the American people, a choice will necessarily be made. The passionate voices for democracy may yet prevail, but that could very well mean that the candidate Trump, despised though he may be, wins fair and square. Will they still be as passionate for democracy then, or will they stare in the mirror and see Trump’s face staring back at them?