Ben Shapiro: Why Trump Is Winning

The perspectives and thoughts expressed in this op-ed are the exclusive purview of the author.

So, according to the legacy media, disaster is about to befall America.

Former President Donald Trump is the overwhelming favorite to win the Republican presidential nomination: The latest Des Moines Register/NBC News poll shows Trump at 51% in Iowa, up 8% since October, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in a distant second at 19% and Nikki Haley at 16%. According to analyst Steve Kornacki, there is an enthusiasm gap in favor of Trump: 70% of Trump supporters say their minds are made up. He is currently at 72% favorability with Iowa caucusgoers.

In the general, Trump is also up. And he’s not up by a small margin. He is up significantly.

Donald Trump, if the election were held today, would become president of the United States. According to a Wall Street Journal poll over the weekend, Trump leads President Joe Biden 47% to 43% in the national polls; if third-party and independent candidates enter the mix, that lead jumps to six points, 37% to 31%. What’s more, according to the latest CNN poll, Trump leads Biden by 10 points in Michigan; he leads by five in Georgia.

There are two reasons for this.

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First, Joe Biden is terribly, terribly unpopular. That same Wall Street Journal poll shows that just 23% of voters say Biden’s policies have helped them personally, compared to 53% who say his policies have hurt them. Meanwhile, half of voters say that Trump’s policies helped them versus 37% who say they hurt. Biden’s job performance is at 37% approval and 61% disapproval; just 30% of voters like Bidenomics.

That condition is unlikely to alleviate for Biden before the election. It is, according to The Wall Street Journal, “less affordable than any time in recent history to buy a home, and the math isn’t changing any time soon.” Average new home payments currently stand at $3,322, up from $1,746 at the end of 2020. What’s more, Biden’s supposed soft landing doesn’t look particularly likely to happen, despite the happy talk from the media. November job growth was weak — which is what the Fed was looking for when they raised interest rates in order to tamp down inflation. But that job growth was only even in “weak” territory because of health care, government employment and leisure and hospitality. In fact, those three sectors plus private education employment are responsible for 81% of all jobs created in 2023. Business starts are weak. Gross output — a measure of the entire economy, not merely the spending side that we see in gross domestic product — has flatlined. In the first two quarters of the year, business spending dropped 9%.

Biden’s team keeps trying to whistle their way past the graveyard on his candidacy. The literal graveyard. According to Semafor’s Ben Smith, at the White House holiday party, Biden “strayed into a couple of hazy monologues, which ended only when his wife interrupted him to remind him it was a party. His speech wasn’t terrible, or even noteworthy. But everyone in the room realized Biden had a simple rhetorical job and hadn’t quite pulled it off.”

That’s right: Joe Biden literally couldn’t get through a holiday speech at the White House.

This brings us to the second reason Trump is leading Biden in the polls right now: he’s not in the news. That’s also the reason he’s up in Iowa head and shoulders above the rest of the candidates. Because he’s not in the news, he’s beating Biden — that takes the electability argument away from DeSantis and Haley. And because he’s not in the news, everyone has been able to look away from Trump’s crazy, which has always been his Achilles heel. Ironically, one of the best things ever to happen to Trump politically was his social media ban: it has made him nearly invisible.

So, here’s the question: Will things stay this way?

Biden’s approval ratings are unlikely to recover from where they are now. The economy is in tender shape. The Ukraine war is going badly. Israel is going to have to continue its war not only against Hamas but against Hezbollah and possibly the Yemeni Houthis.

Which means Biden’s only hope is putting Trump front and center. That could happen via Trump’s criminal trials — but that may be largely baked into the Trump cake at this point. Would even a conviction radically shift people’s opinions on Trump?

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Today’s Trump advantage is no mere chimera. It may just be the 2024 reality. Which is why the media and Democrats are panicking, and they should be.

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


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