Biden or Bust (with Cliff Schecter)
Dems would be insane not to want Joe to run for re-election.
There have been 46 Presidents of the United States. Eleven of them have not won re-election as incumbents. Of that eleven, one—Grover Cleveland—was re-elected four years later. Three—William Howard Taft, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush—were the victims of popular third-party candidates siphoning off votes (and, in the case of Carter, shady dealings with Iran on the part of the Reagan/Bush crew). The other seven lost because they were miserable failures, deeply unpopular, or both: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, Benjamin Harrison, Herbert Hoover, Gerald Ford, and, most recently, the twice-impeached criminal Donald John Trump. Bigly losers, all.
Historically, incumbency is an enormous advantage when running for president. Everyone knows who you are. You have a record to run on. You have experience in the job. You have a war chest full of cash. You have the benefit of inertia—people tend not to like change. And unlike your challenger, you don’t have to endure a bruising primary. Unless you completely suck, you’re probably going to win. Heck, even if you do suck, you might still win. (Cut to George W. Bush somewhere in Texas, grinning idiotically.)
Biden is popular. People just like the guy. Obama made him VP because he liked the guy so much. You don’t hear stories about Biden being an asshole because even the rightwing hate machine can’t sell that horseshit. He’s demonstrably not a dick. And after four years of enduring one of the worst humans to ever occupy the Oval Office, the American people are grateful to have him in charge, MAGA with “Let’s Go Brandon” flags on their crappy pick-up trucks notwithstanding.
Joe has also been a hugely successful president. His domestic and foreign policy triumphs have been unmatched in recent memory. As I have argued before, he is the best president of my lifetime. When all is said and done, Biden will wind up in the Eisenhower/Truman tier of historical rankings, behind only the guy on the $1 bill, the guy on the $5 bill, and the Roosevelts.
Cliff Schecter, the political consultant, commentator and writer and my guest on today’s PREVAIL podcast, explains it well: Biden has taken a slim majority, figured out how to give key Republicans what they need when they need it to get them onboard, and managed to pass landmark pieces of legislation. The President got “both the initial covid stimulus bill through—which is why our economy came back, because so many people were able to go back to work suddenly; there was so much purchasing power again—and then, later on, the inflation reduction act.” Joe also rolled out the vaccines quickly and efficiently and, as the Republicans never tire of pointing out, keeps seizing vast amounts of fentanyl coming across the border, keeping us secure.
And Biden’s foreign policy has been even better. He’s handled Putin masterfully, reassembled NATO and important alliances Trump spent four years trying to destroy, and re-established the United States as the leader of the free world. Dark Brandon indeed!
When you have a popular, successful incumbent running, he wins pretty much all the time. It’s as close to automatic as it gets in politics. As long as Biden is alive and reasonably sentient by next November, history says he will trounce whatever two-bit fascist the GOP runs against him. So why on God’s green earth would the Dems jettison him now?
“When you look at his great record, and you look at the fact that he’s an incumbent, we would be crazy not to have him run for re-election,” Schecter says. “It would be insane.”
The Republicans faced this same quandary in 1984: a popular but elderly president facing re-election. Did they swap out Ronald Reagan for someone younger? Of course not. They ran him again, and he secured one of the most decisive electoral college wins ever. The Gipper provides Dems with a template for how to handle Biden’s campaign next year.
“You have a pretty set script there,” Schecter says. “Look at Reagan ‘84, and all the shit Republicans did to us when he ran again. ‘Oh, here he goes again,’ and all that stuff. Just fucking take it. Just steal wholesale. ‘I don’t want anyone to hold it against my opponent that he’s young and inexperienced,’ what he said about Mondale that got a big laugh in that debate. There’s a whole record there of ways to deal with the age issue. They should be studying Reagan ‘84. Do it.”
I get why columnists enjoy writing “what if Biden doesn’t run” stories. They’re fun. They generate clicks. They make for great water-cooler discussions. But they are unserious.
Yes, on Election Day next year, Biden will be 81 years old, significantly older than even Reagan was in ‘84. Yes, covid strains are still out there, threatening more pandemics. Yes, tensions are high with Russia. Yes, many millions of angry Americans have been radicalized to hate Joe’s guts, and a lot of them are well armed. And, as Brynn Tannehill pointed out to me recently on The Five 8, historical precedent isn’t as meaningful in the Information Warfare age. Even so, Joe 1) will run, and 2) gives the Democrats the best chance of winning. To suggest otherwise is malarkey.
“If Biden is healthy, and Biden is our incumbent, and we get the machine up and running,” Schecter says, “I feel pretty fucking good about it.”
Greg Olear is joined by consultant, commentator & writer Cliff Schecter, of the Blue Amp Channel. They discuss the current political climate, Nazis in Ohio, why the Dems would be crazy to not run Joe Biden again in ‘24, and the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. Plus: Evita Without Charisma.
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