Only Bad Choices

Only Bad Choices


Leonard Zwelling

Gail Collins does a good job of encapsulating the downside of Donald Trump returning to the White House in her piece in The New York Times on November 16.

President Biden did himself no favors in his abbreviated news conference after meeting with President Xi of China. It’s not at all clear that the United States made any progress on Taiwan, fentanyl, and China’s aggressive military. Is he really the leader we need right now? I know Xi is a dictator. So does everyone else. Why say it?

If, as seems likely, the Presidential contest of 2024 is a reiteration of the one of 2020, we really have some pretty poor choices. They’re worse than 2020. Everyone is four years older.

Poll after poll indicate that the American voting public—Republican and Democratic–wants different choices. Despite this, Mr. Trump remains way ahead in the Republican race and no one in the Democratic Party of sufficient heft is willing to challenge Biden.

The problems of each candidate are quite obvious.

If Mr. Trump re-enters the White House, he will use that platform to settle old scores with the Justice Department and most of the executive branch of the government. He will get rid of the great majority of dedicated government workers and supplant them with political appointees who will do his bidding. In essence, there will be no check on presidential power. No one will be able to immigrate to the U.S., especially Muslims. Mr. Trump will see to that. Mr. Trump has made his monomaniacal view clear in his many recent speeches. He wants the presidency and he wants revenge.


If Mr. Biden is re-elected we will have an ancient President whose facilities are clearly escaping him. It is not at all likely that he will be able to serve out his whole second term and President Kamala Harris is very hard to even say. What is a thinking person to do?

There are many who support Mr. Trump and would be more than happy to see him assume the role of an American dictator, a role Mr. Trump cherishes.

There are those who point out the competence that Mr. Biden has brought to the Oval Office by passing some key legislation (infrastructure bill, CHIPS bill) and at least not speaking crazy stuff as Mr. Trump did on multiple occasions when he was President. However, every day Mr. Biden seems to shrink. Another four years is out of the question.

There really are only two solutions to the dilemma.

First, Mr. Trump has to be found guilty in a court of law on felony charges and be sent to prison. The speed at which the wheels of justice are turning is far too slow. This is not likely. Can Nikki Haley generate a wave of victories in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina? It’s possible, but she’s still far behind with the Republican faithful. Mr. Trump will never cease campaigning on his own, even from a prison cell. The odds are very long that Trump will drop out. That gets us to solution two.

Mr. Biden has to do what LBJ did on March 31, 1968 and decide not to run and he needs to do it before Christmas. I understand that polls are not votes, but I just do not see Mr. Biden beating Mr. Trump as he did in 2020. The economy is not perceived to be strong. Biden is managing to alienate both Jewish-American and Arab-American voters. Both usually vote for Democrats. Biden’s foreign policy team just does not seem up to the challenge of a Middle East conflict let alone identifying the end game in Ukraine. They will not clearly identify Iran as our enemy and do what is needed to stop this war from spreading globally. There is simply no enthusiasm for a Biden second term, but a new Democrat might have a chance against Trump, as it is unlikely Trump will drop out.

Mr. Biden will go down in history as a good President if he calls it a day at one term and gives someone else a chance to beat Trump. It would be a grand gesture on the part of Mr. Biden and would inject excitement into what is thus far a dull race for the White House.

I don’t know who might run instead of Biden. Gavin Newsome? Andy Beshear? Gretchen Whitmer? Someone else? Whoever tried would have a leg up on Trump just because he or she would be the new thing and people will be attentive to his or her policy issues.

If Mr. Biden wants to go down in history as a great American, he ought to forego another run for the White House and concentrate his last year in office on the problems facing the country—immigration, abortion, guns, foreign policy.

If it is Biden vs. Trump again, I fear many will sit it out and who can blame them? It is a truly unsavory choice. We need more. We need better. We need new choices now.

2 thoughts on “Only Bad Choices”

    1. If that were all Trump would do, you would be right. What I fear is him drifting toward autocracy and that would be dangerous.

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