For Joe Biden, It’s Politics, as Usual, Going Into 2024 – President Joe Biden campaigned on the promise that he was the best suited for the job because he would signify a return to normalcy after the turbulent Trump years.
He was the anti-Trump: whereas Trump was untamed and freewheeling, Biden was disciplined and contained. Trump was perceived as unstable while Biden was a safe bet during what was at that point a national emergency (the COVID-19 pandemic) that many voters believed Trump had exacerbated with his undisciplined and uneven response. Without COVID-19, the chaos caused by the Trump Administration’s haphazard response to the pandemic, and the subsequent economic turmoil, it is likely Trump would have been reelected in 2020.
Biden’s message in 2020 worked like a charm. That he ran as a candidate with both decades of political experience as well as a willingness to embrace Left-wing ideology to keep the Progressive wing of the Democratic Party onboard and galvanized going into 2020 helped Biden immensely in 2020.
This is Biden’s message again in 2024. And, like in 2020, it could work for his reelection.
Caught Between a Raucous Upstart and a Sclerotic Elite
In 2016, the American people wanted someone new to come into Washington and mix things up. By 2020, most voters were apparently looking for someone more conventional. They got Joe Biden.
Since taking office, Biden has governed to the Left-of-center. Although, it is obvious that Biden is moving closer to the center the closer we move to the 2024 Presidential Election.
This is a common process among most American politicians. Biden is choosing to move to the center on key issues that most Americans would support him becoming more of a centrist on.
For example, when he was first elected, Biden was very Leftist on the environment. Yet, as time moves closer to the vital reelection year, Biden will need more than the environmentalist vote to put him over whoever will be his Republican opponent. That is why now the Biden Administration is authorizing new drilling for the first time since taking office.
Biden’s team fully understands that the environmentalists will hate their decision. Still, the Biden brain trust (if that’s even the appropriate tern) has figured that the environmentalists have nowhere else to go (and they won’t sit out the election).
Another key issue that Biden is modulating his position on is crime. Ever since the George Floyd Protests, the Democrats have played the race issue to great effect. The Democrats are insisting on defining deviant and criminal behavior down to the point that the only crime one could be charged with having committed was “Thought Crimes.” All other crimes are to be downgraded and coddled by the society that the criminals terrorized for racial equity…or something.
That, too, is changing.
With an election season upon them, the Biden Administration recognizes that taking such a Liberal position on crime will not endear them to the Middle-American voters, most of whom want to see a national reduction in crime. So, Biden is shifting his position on crime enough to assure voters that he is, in fact, someone capable of maintaining law and order; to signal to everyone that the race riots of 2020 that occurred under his predecessor will not recur under his administration.
You Don’t Change Horses Midstream
Biden, like most professional politicians, is a shifty person. He dreams big, Liberal dreams during off-election years, which keeps his base happy. Biden is himself the most Left-leaning president we’ve had in decades—maybe ever.
But, like Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, when Biden’s job is on the line, the forty-sixth president pares down his Progressivism and tries to appeal to a large enough cross-section of voters that he enjoys a majority going into his next election. Biden will be anything to anyone. Once his job is secured, he will move back to his Left—and if he gets a second term, any semblance of centrism will be gone.
When placed against Trump, despite people being weary of Biden after three years of a masked economic downturn, potential world war, and an overall malaise across the country, most voters might decide to give Biden another term—if things seem somewhat stable. At this point in American history, judging from the 2020 and 2022 elections, most Americans prefer the stability of decline over the instability of Trump’s vow to “Make America Great Again” or Ron DeSantis’ promise to “Make America Like Florida”.
Plus, we already witnessed Biden manipulate voters before. In the run-up to the 2022 Midterm Elections, the president flooded the market with oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). While not a solution to the historically high energy prices Americans have been made to endure since 2020, Biden got what he wanted: a temporary decline in the price at the pump long enough to make voters feel reassured.
Those voters, in turn, decided not to change horses midstream and gave the Democrats much greater support at the ballot box than anticipated.
As soon as the 2022 Midterm elections ended without a total rout of the Democratic Party at the ballot box, Biden turned off the taps, and energy prices have since surged upward again. Once we move closer to Biden’s reelection, should he ultimately decide to run again (which I suspect he will at this point), we can anticipate more reversals.
Biden has been in politics for decades. He understands how to appeal—manipulate—enough fickle voters to give them enough reassurance going into the ballot box that they should stay on the Biden train to oblivion rather than step off and seek a better ride with a more qualified engineer driving the train.
For Biden, after being in politics since the 1970s, “triangulation” of popular issues is par for the course. The sad thing is, given the chaos that the GOP is currently suffering due to its internal politics, many voters just might fall for Biden’s schtick—as they did in 2020. Only time will tell.
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Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who serves as a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive.com. Weichert is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as a contributing editor at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower(Republic Book Publishers), The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (March 28), and Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (May 16). Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.