Ben Shapiro: In 2024, Trump Has the Advantage
The perspectives and thoughts expressed in this op-ed are the exclusive purview of the author.
The 2024 election is coming.
And right now, it’s Advantage: Trump.
Former President Donald Trump is leading by 2.2% in the RealClearPolitics polling average. That doesn’t sound like a lot until you realize that Trump trailed Joe Biden in that same average on election day 2020 by 7.2% — and only lost by 4.5%. Or that Hillary Clinton was leading in that same average by 3.2% on Election Day 2016 — and only won the popular vote by 2.1%. Donald Trump almost always outdraws his polling number.
What’s more, Biden is stuck in neutral. Why? The answer is obvious: Biden lied to voters. He campaigned as a moderate in the primaries, capitalized on that image in the general while pushing steadily to the Left, and then governed from the Left. Now, says political scientist Ruy Teixeira, “Biden is polling behind Trump nationally and in every swing state, with the possible exception of Wisconsin. Trump is preferred to Biden by wide margins on voters’ most important issue, the economy and inflation, as well as their second most important issue, immigration and border security and on crime and public safety. Biden’s approval rating at this point in his presidency is the lowest of any president going back to the 1940s, when the era of modern polling began.”
Biden thinks that Trump-bashing will save him.
That’s presumably why he’s going to go on a Trump-bashing tour beginning this week, labeling Trump a racist and a fascist. According to the Associated Press, “President Joe Biden is starting the campaign year by evoking the Revolutionary War to mark the third anniversary of the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and visiting the South Carolina church where a white gunman massacred Black parishioners — seeking to present in the starkest possible terms an election he argues could determine the fate of American democracy.”
This isn’t likely to work. At all.
It’s unlikely to work because everyone knows Trump. Everything about Trump is baked into the cake. Everyone knows that Trump’s 2020 post-election activities didn’t change the outcome of the election — Biden, after all, is president. What’s more, the pitch that Trump is more racist than Biden doesn’t work. Biden is the DEI president, a man who has yammered incessantly in favor of racial carve-outs and staffed his own administration on the basis of intersectional characteristics.
The pitch that Trump is a fascist won’t work either. As even George Will, a Trump opponent, points out, “Joe Biden is, like Trump, an authoritarian recidivist mostly stymied by courts.” Will gives a litany of Biden constitutional violations: “the eviction moratorium, the vaccine mandate, the cancellation of student debt,” among others.
Most of all, Biden’s hope that hatred for Trump will somehow save him is predicated on the idea that heavy turnout against Trump is a foregone conclusion. But… what if it’s not? What if the actual norm is that Trump doesn’t drive Democratic turnout in the way Biden hopes? In 2016, after all, turnout was within historical norms: 59.2% of eligible voters voted in that year, compared with 58% in 2012 and 60.1% in 2004. In 2020, by contrast, a whopping 66.9% of eligible voters showed up. That last number is a massive outlier. 2020 saw a voter increase of 23 million, to 160 million total voters — as opposed to 137 million in 2016 and 129 million in 2012.
That wasn’t because of Trump. It was because of pandemic-era policies that allowed everyone to vote from home months in advance. Do we really think that 2020 turnout number will replicate? If it doesn’t, who will those marginal voters come from: Biden or Trump?
This means that Biden is going to have to actually succeed in order to win.
The only thing that might save him would be… you know, good things happening in America.
But his own policies prevent just that.
Ben Shapiro, 39, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, host of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” and co-founder of Daily Wire+. He is a three-time New York Times bestselling author; his latest book is “The Authoritarian Moment: How The Left Weaponized America’s Institutions Against Dissent.” To find out more about Ben Shapiro and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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