Joe Biden Could Be History - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Joe Biden Could Be History
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President Joe Biden in Brussels, Belgium, March 24, 2022 (Gints Ivuskans/Shutterstock)

There are lot of things about the Biden presidency that are historically significant, almost none of them in a good way. But here’s something the prospect of which might be at the same time historical, meaningful, and actually good for America.

We come to this discussion as the result of a couple of polls that popped into public view on Tuesday, both of which said the same thing: Biden is toast with the Democrat Party electorate.

First, Issues & Insights commissioned a survey from TIPP in which things are pretty barren for the current resident of the White House:

Yes, it’s very early. But if given the choice right now, which Democrats do Americans want to see run for president in 2024? The perhaps not-so-surprising answer emerging from the latest I&I/TIPP Poll seems to be: “Anyone but Joe Biden.”

In our April opinion poll, we asked Americans of all political affiliations across the demographic spectrum “Who do you want to see run for president on the Democratic ticket in 2024?”

Just 19% of those responding answered “Joe Biden, 46th president of the United States.” The rest of the choices were spread among 18 candidates, along with “other” (6%) and “not sure” (28%). Put another way, 81% of Americans don’t want Biden to run again.

Nobody else has more than 7 percent in the I&I/TIPP poll, but that’s cold comfort for Team Biden. The Harvard/Harris poll isn’t much better:

Only 37 percent of voters want Biden to run in 2024, while 63 percent of voters said they did not want the 80-year-old Biden to run for a second term. Broken down by party, 66% of Democrats thought Biden should run, and 14% of Republicans and 27% of Independents agreed. Biden’s overall approval rating is just 33 percent.

If the 2024 Democrat presidential primary was held today, only 37 would vote for Biden. In contrast, Donald Trump would earn 58 percent of the Republican vote if the GOP primary were held today.

In a head-to-head potential matchup, Trump would defeat Biden. Forty-five percent of voters would vote for Trump, while just 43 percent would vote for Biden. A Redfield & Wilton Strategies poll on Friday also showed Trump with a two-point lead.

This creates that real possibility that Joe Biden, who says he’s going to run for reelection in 2024 (whether you should believe him or not is an entirely separate question), could enter the race only to lose the Democratic nomination.

To whom? Who knows? The D Team bench is just as empty for 2024 as it was for 2020 when the nomination fell to Biden. But he was lucky then, and now he’s just unpopular. Let’s remember that Biden was practically a quadrennial candidate for president before 2020 and nobody ever really voted for him in those previous tries.

That Biden could lose to a Gavin Newsom, Gretchen Whitmer, Cory Booker, or (what’s more likely) somebody Bernie Sanders endorses can’t be ruled out as a possibility.

If it does, it’ll make history. It has been a very long time — 138 years, to be exact — since a sitting American president ran for and lost his party’s nomination.

It was thought that might happen in 1980, when Ted Kennedy ran against Jimmy Carter. Kennedy turned out to be too lazy and incoherent to carry a national campaign, and Carter survived only to be steamrolled by Ronald Reagan in the general election. In 1976, Gerald Ford barely held on against Reagan’s GOP primary challenge. In 1968, Lyndon Johnson dropped out rather than run for the Democrats’ nomination, which he figured he’d lose.

It has been a very long time — 138 years, to be exact — since a sitting American president ran for and lost his party’s nomination.

And in 1912, William Howard Taft survived a three-way primary campaign to hang on to the Republican nomination, only to lose the general election when Teddy Roosevelt ran as an independent and threw the race to Woodrow Wilson.

The last time it actually happened, that someone other than the incumbent president won the primary election over the active campaigning of the incumbent, was 1884, when James Blaine was the GOP nominee over Chester A. Arthur.

Four times prior to that, incumbent presidents — Andrew Johnson, Franklin Pierce, John Tyler, and Millard Fillmore — lost the nominations of their parties after dreadful, ineffective terms in office.

There is context to be had here. It’s something I talk about a good bit in my book The Revivalist Manifesto, which will be out around Memorial Day.

One of the themes in The Revivalist Manifesto, which I picked up from an excellent 2015 book by James Piereson called Shattered Consensus: The Rise and Decline of America’s Postwar Political Order, is that we’ve had three distinct political eras in American history, and the ends and births of those eras share some similarities, which are eerily similar to what’s happening today.

The first era was ushered in by Thomas Jefferson’s Revolution of 1800. That election all but finished off the Federalist Party, and it repudiated John Adams, who wasn’t a terrible president but did manage to make himself hideously unpopular in office. The first era, dominated by the Democrats, devolved after Andrew Jackson’s time in office into a hodgepodge of terrible presidencies as bad Democrats and bad Whigs traded the White House back and forth until the wheels completely came off during James Buchanan’s presidency. And in 1860, that first era died and the second era, dominated by the Republicans, was born with Abraham Lincoln’s election.

The first four incumbent presidents who couldn’t win their nominations all came toward the end of the first era and at the beginning of the second. You’ll recall that Johnson was the cross-party vice president under Lincoln; he selected a Democrat in hopes of bridging the national divide of the time. In that way Johnson was something of a footnote in history; an accidental president if ever there was one. Arthur, also, was an accidental president; he was vice president under James Garfield.

The second era fell apart with the stock market crash and then-President Herbert Hoover’s cascade of maladministration to follow, and it ended with Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s election in 1932 and the birth of the current political era, defined as it is by the welfare state, regulatory state, military-industrial complex, foreign adventurism, and media-political oligarchy the Biden family has so greasily profited as a part of.

Adams, Buchanan, and Hoover had such calamitous presidencies as to make their political parties irrelevant for a generation to follow the transformational elections of 1800, 1860, and 1932. Buchanan didn’t bother to run for reelection in 1860; the other two did but lost decisively.

Joe Biden belongs wholly in that tradition. And he might actually top them by running and losing his party’s nomination.

So the real question isn’t which Hard Left socialist will jump into the race, ride a media-driven wave to the Democrat nomination over Biden and then get annihilated by Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis to key the birth of America’s next political era. It’s whether the GOP is able to transform itself fully out of the Bush-Republican Stupid Party mold and learn to win that next era. (READ MORE from Scott McKay: Threats and Name-Calling: The Democrats’ Midterm Strategy)

There are examples out there that give rise to the belief that the MAGA/revivalist wing of the GOP, as evidenced in Florida and elsewhere, is emerging as competent enough to build the governing majority for a new era. Certainly the horrendous polling numbers for Biden show a public appetite for a GOP good enough to govern.

And maybe, just maybe, the suffering under Biden might produce the historical, transformational change we’re overdue for.

Scott McKay
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Scott McKay is publisher of the Hayride, which offers news and commentary on Louisiana and national politics. He’s also a writer of fiction — check out his three Tales of Ardenia novels Animus, Perdition and Retribution at Amazon. Scott's other project is The Speakeasy, a free-speech social and news app with benefits - check it out here.
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