Erick Erickson: Joe Biden Preps Trump Endorsement
The perspectives and thoughts expressed in this op-ed are the exclusive purview of the author.
On Jan. 6, 2024, President Joe Biden intends to address the nation in a campaign kickoff. He will make his focus the “threat to democracy” that is former President Donald Trump. His speech, less than 10 days before the Iowa Caucuses, should be seen for what it is: an endorsement of Trump as his Republican opponent.
Each time the Democrats have taken on Trump, through vilification, speech and indictment, they have provoked Republicans to circle the wagons around him, driving up his polling. In fact, New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg has done more than anyone to undermine the DeSantis campaign and elevate Trump. The moment Bragg indicted Trump, Trump soared into the polling lead, leaving everyone else in the dust, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis who had been leading.
In 2022, Democrats were open and bragging about their strategy. In multiple states, Democrats poured money into Republican primaries to elevate Republican candidates tied to Trump who the Democrats thought were the most vulnerable. The Democrats’ strategy worked.
John Gibbs, a Trump nominee who Senate Republicans would not confirm, ran against Peter Meijer, a moderate Republican congressman in Michigan who voted for Trump’s impeachment in 2021. Democrats openly bragged about putting money into the Republican primary to elevate Gibbs. Meijer had been a fit for his district. Gibbs, most definitely, was not. In the primary, Gibbs won. Then Democrats crushed him. Rep. Hillary Scholten sits in the seat now. This pattern repeated itself around the country.
Democrats are doing the same thing now. Polling that every voter dismisses and every campaign pays attention to strongly suggests Trump is going to win the Republican Primary anyway. However, in several recent surveys about Iowa, DeSantis supporters appear more likely to show up at the Iowa Caucuses than Trump voters and DeSantis has a stronger organization. A DeSantis win could turn the race upside down, particularly with the opinion polling showing Trump is leading.
But the same opinion polling that shows Trump leading also shows that, in a general election, Trump drives Democrat voter turnout arguably more than Republican turnout. The New York Times Siena poll was the most accurate poll of 2022. Now, it shows Trump losing to Biden among voters who voted in 2020 but winning with voters who do not actually vote. Likewise, polling suggests Democrat voters flirting with sitting it out or voting third party would, instead, consolidate around Biden if Trump is the nominee.
Taking all the variables together, Biden addressing the nation to kick off his campaign on Jan. 6, 2024, nine days before the Iowa Caucus can only truly be read as Biden endorsing Trump. He wants Trump to be the nominee. He needs Trump to be the nominee. The other Republicans, particularly Nikki Haley, trounce Biden in the polls and do not radicalize Democrat constituencies the way Trump does.
Attacking Trump from stage as a threat to democracy will cause a lot of Republican primary voters to circle the wagons around him. They will stand by their man and turn out to show up Biden. It is what Biden wants.
It is also what Hillary Clinton wanted in 2016. That year, her campaign also bragged that they were helping Trump, in various ways, in the Republican Primary. As Trump caught lightning in a bottle, Clinton’s campaign treated Trump as the nominee and preyed on Republican sensitivities to Clinton. While Trump most likely would have been the nominee anyway, Clinton put in time and money to make sure of it. To this day, Democrats must mutter “Russia” to avoid confronting the hubris of their decision.
The same holds for Biden. It is true that Trump incites Democrats and will get them to turn out in November if he is the nominee. It is also true Trump is beating Biden in almost every poll — something Trump did not do in 2016 when he won or in 2020. The public does not like Biden. They loathe Vice President Kamala Harris. They remember having jobs, peace and no inflation when Trump was president. Biden might want Trump as the nominee, like Clinton in 2016, but voters just might want Trump in November.
To find out more about Erick Erickson and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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