The 2020 election is being recycled

Some bill the 2024 election as “the most important of our lifetime.” In reality, it’s a repeat of the last election.

Unless something major and catastrophic happens, it will once again be President Joe Biden vs. former President Donald Trump this November. The matchup may be routine, but the preceding four years have been anything but boring. Both Biden and Trump have a lot going for them, given the sad state of their opponent. 

The latest general election polling shows a tight race between the two men. Some polls show them to be tied. This doesn’t bode well for either candidate. Most of all, it doesn’t bode well for the country, which is in desperate need of an about-face, and the Republican Party, which threw away its chance to turn the page. America is stuck with choosing the so-called “lesser of two evils.” This election cycle isn’t transformative — it’s depressing. 

There are roughly eight months to go before the election. Biden, who has always loved to play himself off as a centrist, is failing. According to Gallup, his approval rating is a historically bad 38%: “just one point shy of his all-time low and well below the 50% threshold that has typically led to reelection for incumbents.” This figure is disastrous for a president seeking reelection.

Biden’s advanced age is troubling to voters. The public also lacks faith in his governance, considering the dangerous problems at the border, rising costs and inflation, and the tenuous situations in Ukraine and Israel (to name a few). Kamala Harris, his vice president and supposed border czar, is wholly incapable as well and is only a heartbeat away from the presidency. So it’s no surprise that Biden is sitting at almost his worst rating ever. 

In an alternate universe, this would mean the Republican challenger has a good shot at upsetting the incumbent. But in this reality, the challenger is Trump. 

In November 2020, Trump lost to Biden, which is true despite claims to the contrary from Trump and his loudest supporters. And then there was Jan. 6, 2021, a major embarrassment. Trump’s refusal to accept the 2020 results just adds to his unfitness for office. The good that happened on his watch is routinely overshadowed by an endless stream of words and actions. He remains popular in the party, though. He’s not needed — he’s wanted. There are other politicians, such as Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) or Nikki Haley, who are better suited in every way. 

Both Biden and Trump face an uphill battle toward securing election night victory, but lucky for each of them, they face a truly dreadful candidate who isn’t even the best option in their respective party. If Biden were younger and more successful on various fronts, he wouldn’t be tied with his ambitious predecessor. If Trump abandoned his claims of a stolen election and focused on his past policy wins and future policy goals, he wouldn’t be tied with an ailing progressive. 


From a Republican perspective, the 2024 election cycle is a missed opportunity. Voters owe no loyalty to Trump. There are far better politicians with experience who operate in a controlled manner. There was no reason to go with him again. It’s not good in the short term, may cost the election, and is undoubtedly damaging to conservatism in the long term. And if Trump ekes out a win, it signals to him and his unwavering supporters that his lies and other abhorrent behavior are fine and forgiven. And that rot is something that will stick with Republicans long after a second term is complete. 

The 2020 election has been recycled. Biden and Trump are evenly matched at the moment, though neither will admit it. No matter which terrible candidate wins, it will, unfortunately, be business as usual. 

Kimberly Ross (@SouthernKeeks) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog and a columnist at Arc Digital.

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