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  • Nick Woods

It’s So Joever.



Joe Biden will lose in 2024. The economic signs are clear. Credit card debt eclipsed $1.1 trillion in February, the highest in history. While inflation has slowed, things aren’t getting any cheaper. Costs are high, mortgage rates are the highest in decades, and consumer confidence, a metric that calculates Americans’ perceptions of the U.S. economy, fell from 81.6 to 79.5 in February. A reading under 80 usually predicts a recession. People are growing increasingly worried about the job market and interest rates. The index is about 40% lower than at any time between 2015 and the COVID-19 Pandemic.

 

The president is old and unpopular, according to most voters. In a recent survey conducted by ABC News, a massive 86 percent of respondents said that Biden was too old to serve another term as president. 91 percent of independent voters, a critical voting bloc Biden needs to win reelection, as well as 73 percent of Democrats agreed he was too old. 


Joe Biden is ill-equipped to campaign in a world of misinformation. Until last month, he was barnstorming the country, touting his economic record. ‘Bidenomics’ depicted the President vanquishing COVID and creating jobs. With good reason: America has created over 880,000 manufacturing jobs and 774,000 construction jobs since Biden became president. A massive 10.8 million production jobs have been added. 


Biden’s policies have succeeded, but the perception has not changed. Working class Americans continue to vote with Republicans, sharing their views on social and cultural issues. The Democratic Party coalition has become richer and better educated. It is also getting out of touch with America. College-educated voters are more politically active, more likely to care about issues like LGBTQIA+ Rights and abortion, and are much more socially liberal than their non-college educated counterparts. Working class voters do not want to hear their economy is booming when they disagree. Biden is being punished for it. 



While Biden’s economic policies have created jobs, it hasn’t helped his chances in a potential rematch against Trump. Voters overwhelmingly said in an NBC News poll that the twice-impeached criminal defendant would do a better job at handling the economy by a margin of 55 percent to 33 percent, the largest since NBC began asking in 1992. Trump is ahead by sixty points in the Republican primary. It is hardly a contest, more like a cult of personality. Most primary voters treat him like an incumbent president on the road to an inevitable rematch with Biden. 


Campaigning to stay out of jail, Trump benefits from a lack of coverage. His authoritarian and fascist rhetoric is destructive and insane. To cheers from raucous crowds, Trump has called the United States a “third world country,” said he wanted to “redo” the 2020 election, claimed that “crooked” Joe Biden personally received $5 billion in bribes from foreign nations, called Democrats “guilty as hell and corrupt as hell,” and primed his supporters for election day violence, telling them to “guard” the counting of votes in Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Detroit in 2024. He said if “Jesus came down and God came down” and were going to be the “scorekeeper(s)” in the last election, he would have won all the blue states. That was all in just one speech


With Biden’s reluctance to begin an early campaign, these claims get little coverage. The Democrats cannot simply cross their fingers and hope Trump’s unpopular opinions are enough to push voters away. They will need to work hard to make the election more about Trump and less about Biden. 


While the White House kickstarts a long and brutal campaign, to a good many voters, Trump isn’t terrible. The country survived four years of his administration. Memories are short, and Trump has voters pining for a distorted past. Five years ago, prices were 19 percent lower, mortgage rates were less than one percent, and widespread inflation was a distant memory. Forgotten in the by-the-seat-of-your-pants governing are the insults and the disgrace. People remember peace and the world pre-COVID. Biden downplays Trump’s accomplishments and makes mistakes, playing right into Trump’s hands. 



Recently, Biden held a late night news conference in the White House to address concerns about his mental acuity after a Republican-appointed special counsel released a report on his handling of classified documents during his time as a private citizen. While the report did not recommend criminal charges against Biden, it infamously characterized him as a “sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.” Biden angrily clashed with reporters questioning him about the assumption, and confused the presidents of Egypt and Mexico when referring to the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict. 


Biden’s gaffes notwithstanding, The nightly news coverage depicts an embattled president facing a referendum on his leadership. Most of the news is bad. The president has lost the most ground among young voters. Most people under the age of 29 believe things have gotten worse. 



A Harvard Institute of Politics study illustrates the phenomenon. The gold-standard poll of young voters shows a “substantive majority” (70%) of 18-29-year-olds view the economy as “fairly” (48%) or “very” (22%) bad. When asked about their financial situation, however, most answer “good” or “very good.” While young people think the ‘economy’ is bad, they don’t feel the same about their own economic situation. 


There is a clear divide in personal and national opinion. “Disproportionate doom” is afflicting America’s economic outlook. While economic data remains positive, consumer sentiment shows people are worried about the economy. A new Financial Times article shows a gap between how people think the economy is doing and how the economy is actually doing. The results show a large gap between expected and actual consumer confidence. Biden tried to return the country to normalcy. According to the data, voters don’t think he’s succeeding. 

In his bid for reelection forty years ago, Ronald Reagan famously asked, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” The White House could point to scores of graphs saying ‘yes.’ Right now, scores of citizens shout ‘no.’


 The voters’ answer in November depends on whether they view the nation through a personal lens or a broader one. The answer decides a campaign unlike any other.

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