“It’s a trap!” – Admiral Ackbar
by Rob Roper
We are just over a week away from the first Republican primary debate, and Donald Trump was out there bragging how he’ll thrash Joe Biden this time around. Candidate Nikki Haley is waving the flag that the real opponent they’re all running against is Vice President Kamala Harris as Biden is likely to drop dead early second term. Respectfully, both are going after the wrong targets.
I’m going to veer away from Vermont politics for a moment and make an observation/prediction about the U.S. presidential election: Joe Biden is not going to be – and was never intended to be — the Democrats’ nominee for president in 2024. So why is he there? To keep Kamala Harris, and perhaps some others, from being able to run at all, and to allow a small group of far-left elites to hand pick the next President of the United States.
Everybody knows Joe Biden is no longer mentally with it (if he ever was). He’s clearly not capable of being president. The Obama cabal is running the White House, and while Biden has been a useful puppet for the extreme Left, they know he’ll be a terrible candidate in 2024. Another run against Trump is a crapshoot at best, and if a different Republican wins the nomination Biden will lose to a fresh face/fresh start candidate for sure. There’s only one possible choice worse than he is: his vice president.
Harris has even lower poll numbers than Biden. She is annoying. Confusing. Incompetent. People don’t like her. She’s associated with the unpopular Biden. And she got blown out of the 2020 primary after garnering about one percent in the polls. She doesn’t have the excuse for gaffs that she’s 138 years old. But as the sitting vice president, in a primary she would be a presumptive nominee, and as a Black woman, the Democrats denying her that spot would look, well, kinda racist and sexist at the same time. Rock/Hard Place.
Moreover a long, open primary could get ugly and unpredictable. There would be debates flush with fringy candidates reminding voters of all the crackpot policies that have destroyed blue states/cities and the country as a whole. Even worse from a Leftist perspective, a moderate like Joe Manchin could emerge as the front runner. Can’t have that!
But as long as Biden is the declared nominee, neither Harris, Manchin nor anybody else who might be taken seriously (sorry RFK Jr.) can begin to build a real campaign. Can’t make speeches about how you’d lead the nation, raise money, hire a campaign team, etc. That would run contrary to etiquette.
Instead, Biden’s fake run sets up a late-game “bait and switch” that will allow a small group of far-left elites to hand-pick the next President. No presumptive nominees. No real primary. Not even a campaign for the candidate; just for the dark money superPACs who will pick (have already picked?) the winner. It’s basically a repeat of The Basement Strategy that worked so well in 2020, but this time for, I’m guessing, California Governor Gavin Newsom.
Here’s the mass-psychological game I think the Democrats are playing….
The national electorate is dreading an inevitable rematch between Biden and Trump. Except for a small minority of hard-core Trump supporters who are salivating for a revenge do-over, voters are looking forward to this about as much as opening day for the Broadway musical version of the movie Ishtar. (Not really a thing, thank God, but given recent theater history you never know.)
An Economist/YouGov poll conducted June 10-13 found 59 percent of voters don’t want Biden to seek reelection, with only 26 percent favoring a run for a second term. Similarly, 56 percent don’t want Trump to run again with just 33 percent in favor. Independents came in with 64 percent against Biden and 59 percent against Trump. Nobody wants this.
The first party to break that sense of impending doom, which will only get more frustrating and intense as time goes on, by putting up someone credible who is not one of the two above mentioned political versions of microwaved leftover fish from last week is going to be rewarded at the ballot box.
So, at some point probably in the summer of 2024, Joe Biden will withdraw from the race for health reasons, or if the charges against Hunter get too hot, maybe citing the legal distractions as being not good for the country or some such thing. Point is he’ll be gone, off eating ice cream and shaking hands with invisible ambassadors in a closet somewhere. The Democrats will “scramble” to find a replacement. “Oh no, what shall we ever do? Who will save us?” The back room elites will push forward their anointed one, and a majority of voters will breathe a collective sigh of relief that election day is no longer a political Sophie’s Choice.
It won’t matter that Newsom (or whomever the Dems put forward, but I’m betting Newsom) has destroyed his state with a litany of inane woke policies. Yes, housing costs in California may be through the roof, homelessness out of control, crime is riddling the state’s cities, there’s an app telling pedestrians where all the human excrement is on the sidewalks, rolling blackouts are a thing, and taxpaying/law abiding citizens are fleeing to other states mostly run by Republicans. But the late bait and switch guarantees a campaign so short none of this has time to get out – and that’s the point — especially with a complicit press running interference.
Newsom (or whoever) will simply be the none-of-the-above option that spared the average, not-very-political voter from having to hold their nose and cast a ballot for one of two octogenarian re-treads facing criminal charges they didn’t like much the first time around. That’s the trap being set, at least as I see it. The question for the debates is, will Republicans step into it?
Rob Roper is a freelance writer who has been involved with Vermont politics and policy for over 20 years. This article reprinted with permission from Behind the Lines: Rob Roper on Vermont Politics, robertroper.substack.com