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Is Biden more effective – or distracted – when confronting Trump?


Even many Democrats admit in private, if not in public, that Joe Biden is in the White House today because of Donald Trump.

In a normal election year, Biden likely wouldn’t have gotten the nomination or sworn in at 78. Democrats were desperate, after an impeachment failed and a raging virus, to get Trump to step down.

Biden once told me in the 2008 campaign that he would win “if I’m the right person at the moment.” He was not – although Barack Obama relaunched his career that year – but a dozen years later, what he was proposing was the political moment. And it was as a safe and moderate Democrat who would have the best chance to kick Trump out.

This is why the base was not going with the passion of a Bernie Sanders or an Elizabeth Warren, and why Kamala Harris was going nowhere. Biden was the transitional figure to the next generation.

This is reminiscent of the media’s turbulent relationship with the former president. Major news outlets have turned into anti-Trump operations, but the drama it provided has driven their clicks and ratings to record levels. Now that he’s out of office, their numbers have dropped – and that’s why they keep talking about the Donald, 2020 and January 6, because their audiences love to hate Trump.

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Of course, he also happens to be the dominant figure in the Republican Party and its likely candidate in 2024.

As an example, GOP Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota said on ABC’s “This Week” that after reviewing the evidence, “the election was fair, as fair as we have it. seen. We just didn’t win the election, we Republicans, for the Presidency. “

US President Joe Biden, surrounded by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan and his senior assistant Steve Ricchetti, holds an infrastructure meeting with labor and business leaders at the White House in Washington, States United, July 22, 2021. REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst
(REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst)

Within hours, a statement from Trump appeared in my inbox, saying that Rounds had “woken up” and asked, “Is he crazy or just stupid? … I will never support that jerk again.”

The smackdown has proven two things: Trump will punish anyone, even for the slightest dissent from his “rigged election” rhetoric, and the press is providing a megaphone for his finger-in-the-face style.

Matthew Continetti, in National Review, calls Biden a “fictitious president” and calls his birthday speech on January 6 “angry and determined and on the attack.”

The president has long resisted getting into the mud with his predecessor and pleading the past. Biden is at his best, according to Continetti, when rather than being “apathetic” and “responsive,” he takes on Trump.

But “Trump is on the sidelines. He is absent. He is banned from social media. He is not in the daily life of most Americans. He will not be on the ballot in November. A medium term strategy. White House based on portraying GOP candidates as Q-Anon shamans ready to storm Capitol Hill will not work. ”

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: US President Joe Biden speaks during his Western Front address at the U.S. Capitol January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC.  During today's inauguration ceremony, Joe Biden becomes the 46th President of the United States.  ____ WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 26: President Donald Trump speaks in the Diplomatic Room of the White House on Thanksgiving November 26, 2020 in Washington, DC.  Trump had previously made the traditional appeal to members of the military stationed overseas by video conference.

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 20: US President Joe Biden speaks during his Western Front address at the U.S. Capitol January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. During today’s inauguration ceremony, Joe Biden becomes the 46th President of the United States. ____ WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 26: President Donald Trump speaks in the Diplomatic Room of the White House on Thanksgiving November 26, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump had previously made the traditional appeal to members of the military stationed overseas by video conference.
(Photo by Pool / Getty Images | Photo by Erin Schaff – Pool / Getty Images)

If Biden had pursued a modest agenda, which is all suburban voters who abandoned Trump wanted, he would be in good shape, according to the article. Instead, as experts have repeatedly observed, he tried to go down the FDR path with a 50-50 Senate.

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“Biden’s dilemma is that ‘I am not Trump’ is a winning message only when Trump is on the ballot, in office, or related to a major event like January 6. The message does not work on 364 other days of the year. “

What works, of course, are the results. If the president can possibly make progress against Covid, fix the supply chain, and bring inflation under control, it doesn’t matter what Trump does.

Just because Biden beat Trump in 2020 doesn’t mean he can do it again, if both men show up, as each will carry the baggage of his tenure gaps. But he’ll definitely know what to expect, and “jerk” will be one of the sweetest words used.


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