Even presidential primaries were intended to give a diverse array of voters the chance to decide if a candidate has the character to be president. They’re also supposed to allow the media an opportunity to vet candidates before they receive the nomination.
None of that is happening so far in the 2024 presidential cycle.
Many Americans think Donald Trump should be criminally prosecuted for trying to overturn the 2020 election and initiating a riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Already under indictment in a fraud case, with more serious indictments likely, Trump also was held liable for sexual abuse in a civil defamation lawsuit this week.
Moreover, Trump now openly embraces the Jan. 6, 2021 attacks, promising pardons and an official apology. Recently, he hugged a convicted rioter who believes anyone who certified Joe Biden as president should be executed for treason.
As for vetting a candidate’s character and temperament, team sport politicians apparently now only care about that issue if it's used as a weapon against the other side.
A main reason that voters rally to Trump is they believe he’s being “treated unfairly” by the system. (He was also the most pro-Isael president ever with actions and not just words, which is another reason ed.) The whiner-in-chief revels in this rationale. He recently repeated the claim that he’s been treated worse than Abraham Lincoln. Put aside the dubious stance, how does someone think being picked on is a qualification for being president?
Then there’s Biden. No matter the mental gymnastics that liberal pundits do, he’s an atrocious president and a global laughingstock.
Biden’s approval rating in a recent poll reached a new low of 36%. Most Democrats do not even want him to be president again.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans think he does not have the “mental sharpness” to be effective. And in some polls, he’s losing a rematch against Trump.
Yet so far, Biden's only competition for the nomination is the conspiratorial lunatic Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and equally batty Marianne Williamson.
The Democrats have proven to be a feckless party that can’t even muster a legitimate primary challenge against a subpar commander-in-chief, who would be 86 when his second term ended. His vice president, picked due to her race and gender, quickly proved to be among the least popular people in Washington.
Biden’s ethical lapses are not trivial. His son, Hunter, is a lowlife, who used family name to take millions from Chinese and Ukrainian interests.
Biden denies any wrongdoing, but only the most insular leftist thinks this is not a political problem for a candidate who struggles to recall details when his integrity is questioned.
We are therefore on track to have a presidential contest between a disgraced septuagenarian and an octogenarian incumbent who almost no Americans believe is capable of doing the job.
Each needs the other, of course, because their best shot at winning is having the other as an opponent.
This is dangerous. There’s still time to avoid a no-win scenario, but that would require party hacks to shut up and Americans to turn off the most noxious media entities and use common sense.
If these two elderly men end up being the nominees again, dishonest brokers will again insist the election is a “binary choice,” as if that cliche excuses their prominent role in promoting this predicament in the first place.
Since 2016, U.S. primaries have proven to be silly exercises in cultish worship; while many may not like the idea of "smoke-filled rooms," it could present better options.
A.J. Kaufman is a correspondent for several U.S. newspapers and magazines from Minnesota and Ohio to Tennessee and Virginia. He taught school and served as a military historian before beginning his journalism career. The author of three books, he also contributes to Israel National News, The Lid, and is a frequent guest on various radio programs.
Ari J. Kaufman is a correspondent for several U.S. newspapers and magazines from Minnesota and Ohio to Tennessee and Virginia. He taught public school and served as a military historian before beginning his journalism career. He is the author of three books and a frequent guest on radio programs, and contributes to Israel National News and The Lid.