This week’s second GOP presidential debate didn’t produce any breakthrough moments for any of the seven candidates on the stage. For the second time, Donald Trump’s shadow filled the room even though he wasn’t in the building. (And, please, for the umpteenth time, I proudly stipulate that Donald Trump was a very effective president whom I outspokenly supported here, here, here, here, here, and here – among many other instances.)
Trump or no Trump, the occasion nevertheless provides some clarity to those willing to look with open eyes. A couple of possibilities that have been looming for months are now morphing into likelihoods.
The first is that Joe Biden won’t be the Democratic nominee in 2024. In support of that thesis, I offer this.
Look at the man.
He’s failing in real time. Every day he finds it more difficult to finish a spoken thought. He can’t make it up the steps of Air Force One. Just this week, the Biden campaign was forced to admit that they’re taking proactive measures to prevent him from suffering a fall like the nasty tumble he took in June at the Air Force Academy commencement. According to his doctors, he is undergoing therapy called “proprioceptive maintenance maneuvers.” “Proprioception” is a five-dollar word for “being able to stand up on one’s own without falling down.”
Add to all that his terrible poll numbers. The Real Clear Politics average of national polls has Biden with an approval number of just barely over 40 percent. A recent ABC/Washington Post poll put that number at a truly dismal 37 percent.
It’s therefore becoming increasingly likely that the eventual Republican nominee won’t be facing a feeble, failing and scandal plagued Joe Biden next year.
Thus, Democrats have a Plan B.
His name is Gavin Newsom, the governor of California. Did you see him in the debate spin room with Sean Hannity Thursday night running for president by insisting that he’s not running for president? Newsom is a young, good looking, telegenic, articulate and politically skilled politician. His policies are awful, but he’s personally unburdened by Biden’s frailties and scandals.
In the face of an increasingly likely Gavin Newsom candidacy comes the increasing likelihood that Donald Trump will be convicted of one or more felonies by sometime in mid 2024. However unjust – and I’d put the “Unjust Meter” at about 9.7 on a ten-point scale – the chances of escaping unscathed on 91 felony counts spread across four indictments in four jurisdictions are pretty close to zero.
That means that if Trump is the nominee – as current poll numbers strongly suggest – Republicans will be asking independent and moderate voters in must-win swing states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan to vote for a man whose felony conviction would make it illegal for him to vote for himself.
And there the Democrats will be, offering up their Plan B.
If you’re a Republican and this doesn’t concern you, you’re either naïve or not paying attention. And if Republicans don’t have their own ‘Plan B,’ the always present possibility of defeat in 2024 could very well also morph into likelihood.