Weaknesses can Strengthen

Dr. Malcolm Cross

Last week I wrote of President Biden’s weaknesses as a candidate for re-election in 2024:  Public dissatisfaction with the economy, and Biden’s inability to see how unpopular his policies really are.  But given the state of today’s Republican Party, Biden’s weaknesses could induce the GOP to renominate former President Trump which, in turn, would strengthen Biden’s own re-election chances.  

The latest public opinion polling data supplied by the Wall Street Journal look grim for Biden:

  • Only 44% of the public approve his overall job performance while 56% disapprove, putting him 12 points under water;
  • 36% approve his handling of the economy while 62% disapprove;
  • 30% approve his handling of inflation while 67% disapprove;
  • 35% approve his handling of immigration policy while 61% disapprove; and
  • 40% approve his energy policy while 56% disapprove.

Normally a president can’t win re-election if the voters dislike his policies and disapprove his overall conduct of his job.  But given Republican attitudes towards Trump, Biden’s current weaknesses could lead to re-election in 2024 anyway.

Biden’s weaknesses should draw Republican challengers as blood draws sharks, and we should soon begin to see a procession of Republicans declaring their candidacies for their party’s 2024 presidential nomination.  Each candidate will no doubt think that whoever the GOP nominates will be the next President. 

Former President Trump has already announced his candidacy for renomination.  Despite his current political and legal difficulties, he retains an approval rating of 70% among Republicans.  This alone should make him a formidable candidate in the 2024 Republican primaries.

And as the parade of Republican challengers in the primaries lengthens, Trump’s chances for renomination may grow as well.  He could pursue a divide-and-conquer strategy to win victory at the GOP presidential nominating convention.  After all, the strategy worked in 2016 as his 16 opponents in the GOP primaries split the anti-Trump vote, allowing him to win most of the primaries and delegates—and the GOP’s presidential nomination itself.

And should Trump win again in 2024, nobody in America will have greater cause to celebrate than Biden himself.  Despite Trump’s approval rating of 70% within the GOP, his overall approval rating among voters in general is only 31%.  In comparison to Trump’s numbers, Biden’s otherwise pathetic numbers look almost respectable.

Of course, neither Trump’s renomination nor Biden’s re-election is inevitable.  Trump’s probable challengers for the GOP’s presidential nomination could unite around another candidate—Ron DeSantis, for example—and thereby deprive Trump of the nomination.  Or the economy could continue to underperform and Biden, failing to see how unpopular his actual policies are therefore refusing to change them, could still bring defeat upon himself, despite Trump’s weaknesses as a candidate.  After all, no matter what the facts seem to indicate, there’s always the unexpected.

Malcolm L. Cross has lived in Stephenville and taught politics and government at Tarleton since 1987. His political and civic activities include service on the Stephenville City Council (2000-2014) and on the Erath County Republican Executive Committee (1990 to the present).  He was Mayor Pro Tem of Stephenville from 2008 to 2014.  He is a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and the Stephenville Rotary Club, and does volunteer work for the Boy Scouts of America. Views expressed in this column are his and do not reflect those of The Flash as a whole.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.