The Dirty Little Secret of the 2024 Campaign

This week, new polling showed what Democrats have long feared: Donald Trump is now in commanding position to defeat Joe Biden and win reelection in 2024. According to the latest New York Times/Siena poll, Trump is up 48-43 over Biden; what’s more, Biden is actually underwater among Hispanics, earns just two-thirds of Black votes, and has cratered among independents. According to the RealClearPolitics polling average, Trump now leads in every swing state but Pennsylvania and is within the margin of error there, too. Nationally, Trump has not trailed Biden since September 2023.
We all know what’s going wrong for Biden: He’s widely perceived as too old to be running again; Americans remain unhappy with the economy, deeply enraged over border policy and alarmed by the brush fires around the world. Biden came into office promising normalcy, and he has instead delivered chaos.
But there’s something else going on, too.
Joe Biden is losing to Donald Trump because of a dirty little secret: Donald Trump is actually the moderate in this race.
On nearly every issue, Trump is closer to the median voter than Biden. Biden won the Democratic primaries over Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2020 because voters thought he would tack toward the center, away from the insanity of The Squad in Congress — borderline psychotics like Reps. Cori Bush, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar.
Instead, he entered office believing that he had a mandate for transformation, that he could become our age’s FDR or LBJ.
And so Biden abandoned the middle.
And median voters are now abandoning Biden. As election analyst Nate Silver rightly observes, The New York Times poll shows that “only 83 percent of voters who say they chose Biden in 2020 plan to vote for him this year, whereas 97 percent who voted for Trump plan to vote for Trump again. These are swing voters, in other words — people who are explicitly stating to pollsters that they are switching their vote from 2020. There are a substantial number of them.” Because the legacy media are monolithically radical on matters of politics, they keep encouraging Biden to double down on the left-wing base, hoping that by steering toward the radicals, he can boost voter turnout. But that strategy is leaving independent voters behind.
Meanwhile, Trump is winning over more and more vote-switchers. That’s because his positions are moderate. On abortion, for example, he may support a federal 16-week ban. By polling data, 48% of Americans support such a ban, compared with 36% who oppose such a ban. Only 24% of Americans support Biden’s position — availability of abortion without limits. On immigration, Biden is underwater by over 20 points. On inflation and spending, Americans favor lower inflation and lower spending — both propositions that cut against Biden’s preferred policies. On national security, Americans broadly favor Israel over Hamas — and yet Biden’s administration has steered toward the pro-Hamas voters in Dearborn, Michigan.
For some reason, Biden and his team think that their echo chamber strategy — shouting “Jan. 6!” over and over while demonizing their political opposition as insurrectionists and traitors — is likely to jog enough base turnout to overcome their loss of the middle. But that’s a chimerical proposition. Biden, in other words, has been suckered by the very people who want him to win most — the radicals in the media who keep ramming him toward the far left, even as he falls further and further behind in the polling.
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