Donald Trump, Joe Biden, campaigning
Donald Trump (left) and Joe Biden campaigning. Photo credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED) and Gage Skidmore / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED)

Let’s face it, most Americans are not exactly thrilled about the choices for president this fall. It’s tough to blame them.

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In November, tens of millions of Americans will reluctantly head to the polls, hold their noses, and make their crosses either next to Joe Biden’s name or that of Donald Trump. The fact that, barring unforeseen circumstances, those two will be the respective nominees of the two major parties is as much an indictment of Democrats and Republicans as it is of the way presidents are elected. 

Now, before you think that the following will be an example of bothsidesism, stop right there. 

Sure, both men are unpopular and old, but only one is a mentally ill sociopath who would sell out the country in a moment for personal gain (hilariously, Republicans are trying to make voters believe that this person is Biden when, in fact, Trump has made untold millions of dollars from his first term in office). 

However, that doesn’t mean that both of them are not deeply flawed. 

Here is what we are talking about: Imagine you arrive at a town and you have to eat there because it would take four years to get to the next restaurant. The problem is that the only place where you can get food is The Cauliflower Inn… and you hate cauliflower. 

Still, you have to get something, so you take a look at the menu. There are two dishes. One of them is a plate of boiled cauliflower. The other is a plate of boiled cauliflower mixed with small pieces of glass and, if you are dumb enough to order it, the cook will stand next to you and hit you over the head with a ladle after every bite and then steal your wallet.

Obviously, there is only one choice: You have to go with the first dish. 

But you don’t have to like it.

Welcome to the 2024 election. 

As we reported, both candidates got unwelcome news this week: Biden is running well behind his party’s Senate hopefuls in four key states, and Trump can’t even put away an opponent who quit the race a couple of months ago.

Neither news is surprising. 

Voters simply don’t like these guys (at least not as occupant of the White House)… and it’s tough to blame them. 

While Trump has a fervent following of millions who would eat glass-laced cauliflower for him, he is also repugnant to many moderate Republicans. 

And Biden? Well, he is old and not good at campaigning. In 2020, he won on the strength of not being Donald Trump. That may not be enough this time around.

Among Democrats, it’s taboo to talk about that. After all, taking the oath of office at age 82 is not so bad, is it? And at some point in the next few months, Americans must certainly recognize that they are doing better now than they were during Trump’s administration, right?  

If those arguments represent the campaign’s entire strategy, then they are in trouble. 

While Trump is still able to fill a venue with an army of red-hatted acolytes, that’s just not Biden’s style. He is much better in smaller crowds and one-on-one.

That being said, the president greatly outperformed expectations (which were admittedly not all that high) during his State of the Union address when the eyes of the nation were on him. In fact, he did so well that, just this week, Rep. Greg Murphy (R-NC) suggested that Biden must have been “jacked up.”

And while he also has a country to run (and fairly capably even though Democrats have had trouble convincing voters of that), you can’t help but wonder whether his campaign handlers are pretty happy to limit him to a bunch of scripted appearances… ideally events where the president does not have to to shuffle to a podium, give a speech, and possibly say something wrong that Fox News will then seize on for days (while ignoring that Trump can’t distinguish Ronald Reagan from Ronald McDonald).

All of that fits into the GOP’s narrative of a feeble president/evil mastermind who is incapable of running the country/hellbent on destroying it intentionally. Take your pick.

Now there are those who think it is ageism to point out that Biden is really old. It is not. It is, however, hypocritical to focus only on the president’s age when he and Trump could have attended the same elementary school in 1952.

Let that sink in. 

It’s just a fact of life that, at some point, a person’s physical and mental capabilities diminish. For example, you won’t see any 50-year-olds competing in the 100 meter dash in the Summer Olympics this year. 

And if an 82-year-old showed up at your doorstep to tell you that he will be your exclusive Uber driver for the next four years, you probably wouldn’t be overly enthusiastic. 

Objectively, both Biden and Trump seem to be in decline. 

Maybe that’s an unfair assessment, but, in politics, perception is reality. 

The difference between the two is that Trump’s supporters don’t care. After all, it didn’t bother them when he admitted to sexually assaulting women… or any of the other really messed up stuff he has done. So it’s not going to be a big deal to them that he is committing one gaffe after another during his Gaslighting America tour. 

This week, the two agreed to do a couple of debates. 


Who knows if that will really happen. Whenever Trump says that he will definitely do something (like testifying at a trial or making an important policy statement), it’s usually an indication that he will back out at some point.

It’s hard to imagine anything Americans have less of an appetite for than seeing two men they don’t like debate… apart from out of morbid curiosity. 

The only reason people will tune in is to figure out who will screw up more. 

By the way, here is a test for Democrats: If this debate happens, will you be holding your breath that Biden doesn’t look too frail and doesn’t commit too many serious gaffes? If you will, then don’t complain about ageism. 

Trump’s supporters don’t have to hold their breaths because they don’t care.

The bottom line is this: Most Democrats (although some won’t admit it) and sane Republicans would be very happy to see anybody but Biden and Trump on the ballot this fall.

And you can’t blame them. 


  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a writer, editor, former congressional reporter, and director of the WhoWhatWhy Mentor Apprentice Program. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

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