How Biden Can Win In 2024
A brief strategy guide on how the President can turn his campaign around
First, I want to set one thing straight: I never thought any of this was a good idea in the first place.
I never thought Biden should run for re-election. Right before he announced his campaign, I wrote a piece detailing why. My reasoning was simple: Biden’s standing was weak, there were real alternatives, and he wasn’t bringing something unique to the table that justified the immense risk inherent to his candidacy. This wasn’t a judgment on his presidency; just the political situation. And since I published that article in April, that situation has only worsened. Right now, Biden’s approval is nearing its all-time low. In the polls, he’s outright trailing Trump for the first time in his career, both nationally and in the decisive swing states. Neither improved economic news nor Trump’s indictments have managed to turn things around.
All of this would be concerning by itself. The way in which Biden’s team has approached it may somehow be even more alarming. Throughout all of this deterioration, the White House refuses to acknowledge any issues and sneers at anyone who raises critiques or airs concern. When faced with real problems, they’ve failingly grasped at straws and whined that anyone could dare doubt their wisdom. To the extent that there are any dissenting voices, they present ideas that are somehow even worse, such as centering the likes of Rahm Emanuel, the Cheneys and the Clintons. It is a choice between two forms of failure.
It doesn’t have to be this way. While the establishment’s inability to figure out the present situation may give off the impression that our political moment is impossibly complex, it really isn’t. Time and time again, we’ve managed to see Democratic candidates triumph across the under circumstances often far more unfavorable than what the White House faces right now. Success isn’t a faraway impossibility—it’s an immediate reality. If Biden wants to achieve it, he’s going to have to put together an effort that’s a lot more dynamic, a lot more aggressive, and a lot less arrogant than the vanity project he’s forcing through right now.
Step One: It’s Abortion, Stupid
If you read about the current White House for long enough, you’ll eventually hear something peculiar about the president and his party’s best issue. This is that Joe Biden is supposedly uncomfortable about abortion. He personally opposes the practice and does not want to go too hard in favor of the pro-choice side. When talking about it in public, his instinct is to equivocate and seek compromise. And he has been driven by this tendency to shy away from the issue at every critical moment. When Roe fell, his administration gave a deliberately muted response; when it was time to launch his re-election campaign, he sidestepped the social issue in favor of the economy. As those around him put it, he is an 80-year-old Irish Catholic through and through, and he only wants to run a campaign he’s personally perfectly comfortable with.
There are only two words to say to that: grow up.
If anything that Biden has said about the danger Trump poses is right, then this is nowhere near a moment where personal qualms can stand in the way of anything. We’ve had over a year of elections since the fall of Roe, and they show us an incredibly clear picture. There is no single factor that is doing more to keep the Democratic Party alive than the question of reproductive rights. It’s the kind of issue that only comes around once in a generation: both very high salience and extremely lopsided in the favor of one party. Republicans do not have an answer for it. Full stop. The more Democrats press the issue, the more they make it relevant in the minds of voters. And the more relevant it is in the minds of voters, the more Democrats win. This has been demonstrated time and time and time again, from blue states to purple states to red states.
The White House’s obliviousness to this may be the single most concerning thing about Biden’s entire campaign right now. If you want a close look into just how broken their mindset is here, I recommend reading through The Last Politician by Franklin Foer, a new tell-all book on the Biden White House’s first two years. It isn’t a very good book. Foer is downright slavish in his praise of Biden. But it’s in his rosy picture of the administration that he gives us our clearest picture yet of how Biden’s team thinks about itself and the world. And what he reveals is immensely alarming.
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