Who Will Win the White House

Who Will Win the White House

The question mark was not inadvertently omitted from the headline above. Unless one or both political parties still finds a way to change candidates, the winner of the 2024 presidential race no longer is in doubt, at least in my mind, at least right now. To me, the only unknown is the margin of victory for Donald Trump.

Joe Biden eliminated himself from the competition during last Thursday night’s debate. That was the consensus of the commentators following the event, and I don’t disagree. Quoting John Belushi and Yogi Berra, an earlier article of mine had asked, One Year to the ’24 Election, is it Over? (November 7, 2023). Well, now it is over, apparently.

It is well known that I do not think highly of either candidate, so I take no satisfaction in reaching this conclusion. I just call them the way I see them – to use another baseball phrase.

The Debate

As for the debate itself, my expectations must have been really, really low because my initial reaction watching live on TV was surprise that President Biden didn’t seem totally incompetent, and former President Trump didn’t seem completely crazy. Both simply displayed the same levels of “mental challenge” to which I had become accustomed. Or, perhaps I just like to see the good in people, as I noticed some impulse restraint by Trump and some lucid thinking by Biden. Some, I said.

But that is not the national perception, and, in politics, perception is all that matters. The general reaction to the debate is that Biden’s candidacy appears to be as dead as my father’s similar-looking uncle at the first funeral I ever witnessed.

To the Democrats who are now chanting the line that Biden just “had a bad night,” are you really going to make me go back to my funeral analogy two paragraphs in a row? Let’s just say I could, and you know it. You are and have been in deep denial for way too long.

In addition to our sitting president’s embarrassing incompetence, what bothered me just as much about the so-called “debate” was that both candidates focused almost all of their time bragging, calling names, and spewing accusations (or opinions) without facts to back them up. Maybe it is the old lawyer in me, but I can’t picture myself trying to win a case with an argument like this: “The defendant is the worst ever. My client was the best ever. The other side didn’t do a damn thing; he is insane. Everything he does is a lie. I have the best record in U.S. history. If the other side wins, we probably won’t have a country left. And my client is a better golfer. Not so. Am too.”

Unimpressive. Beneath America.

To my Republican friends who commented during and after the event that Trump was “killing it” or “ate his lunch,” you are in denial, too. The former president did look more alert than the current one. If that is your definition of “killing it,” we need to talk. Like Biden, Trump did not appear to be willing or able to articulate policies or facts (not that he would if he could).

Because this blog is named Principle Based Politics, my next paragraph was planned to discuss where I did see the right principles honored in the debate. But I didn’t see any.

I received several good comments either on the website or by direct emails and texts. Thank you. The one I agree with the most concluded, “This is a train wreck.” That was not referring just to Joe Biden’s performance.

The Undebatable

Before Thursday’s debate, the Economist’s prediction model was giving Donald Trump a two out of three chance of winning the election this November. In the key swing states, he was leading Michigan by one percentage point; Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Nevada by two points each; Arizona by three; and Georgia by four. Even the Washington Post, which is part of the media that Trump calls “fake news,” also has Trump leading in six of the seven swing states. After President Biden’s “unmitigated disaster” – according to many on his own side – of a “bad night” (according to his apologists), those odds now look even better for Mr. Trump.

Four years ago, the same Economist model gave Joe Biden an 83 percent chance of winning the 2020 election. He did win, you know.

Now, in the aftermath of last week’s debate, even some in the Democratic Party are putting the figurative political undertaker on notice.

Yes, Donald Trump will win the election, unless: (1) Joe Biden bows out soon, (2) Trump himself becomes unable to run for any reason, or (3) Biden’s name is changed to Lazarus and his friend Jesus reappears before he starts to stink (see John 11:38-44).

Written by Quentin R. Wittrock, founder of Principle Based Politics. 

Look for his posts each week, as this blog will explore and promote the idea of principle in politics, both as to individual elected leaders and our federal government as an institution.

Principle Based Politics does not endorse or support any particular political candidate or party.

  • William Sommers
    Posted at 14:19h, 02 July

    The debate actually made me mad. It was such clear and undisputable proof that Biden is no longer with us, and so many people in the media were in on it, but have just been lying to us. Now, is this anything new? Not exactly. But it’s such a blatant, bold, Orwellian lie that they tried to sneak past the American people I couldn’t help but just feel irritated.

  • Gary Russell
    Posted at 15:00h, 02 July

    Quentin – all you say is correct. However, I think the nature of debates themselves have changed. Candidates and elections too for that matter. The so-called “facts” really don’t matter. We really have entered a new era of culture vision. In this new era, it seems to be more about how the candidates (and maybe even the party) make us “feel” which, as you point out, would never count in the sort of debate or court cases we are used to.

    As I search for better understanding of all this, I think David Brooks (centrist conservative) has it right: We aren’t just looking at one candidate vs. another. The entire election is based on two different sets of rules for the race. In a weird way, the Republican party (or should I say the “new” Republican party) is implementing a very different rule set than they used to have. This is one reason why so many traditional Republicans are anti-MAGA and some Democrats are voting Trump. It’s all changing before our eyes.

    Chuck Todd made an interesting comment about 6 months ago on Meet The Press. He said that the Republican party cannot be changed from within the party. It will have to be returned/reinvented externally. Interesting perspective. Trump and MAGA are not Republicans. This is all different now.

  • Trudy Johnson
    Posted at 15:49h, 02 July

    Well said Gary Russell. Trump and MAGA are not Republicans. Sure wish – hope – we can go back.

  • Annette Beseman
    Posted at 15:56h, 02 July

    This pretty much sums it up Quentin. My thoughts exactly. I couldn’t even watch the whole debate. It was uncomfortable. I was embarrased for Joe Biden and pray that he sees his way clear to do what he should have done in the first place–insist on a fresh, younger candidate. I have come to expect nothing but lies and vitriol from Donald Trump, so no surprise there. –Both of these candidates have got the American people’s eye so off the ball. It is a personality contest and someone needs to shift gears to policy, based on clear plans and facts.

  • Paul Silseth
    Posted at 16:17h, 02 July

    Well said everyone, I am not a worshipper of Ronald Regan or John F. Kennedy (Regan is my guy though). I didn’t hear any of the positive thoughts and challenges for America that you may have heard in their debates, and for sure their speeches. They gave us a lifted moral attitude of “We Can” or “Can Do” attitude, because “We Are” a good people. That is a lost art and something both candidates and parties are lacking.

    On another note, I am sick of hearing how “The American People” need to know this or that. The House, Senate & Administration all use the expression, ” The American People”.
    No we don’t need to know or hear your rant. Ask the question, get an answer or non answer and move on.

    Lead don’t follow!

    Thanks Quentin

  • Doug Fish
    Posted at 18:14h, 02 July

    It was once once said, “When a clown moves into a palace, he doesn’t become a king. The palace becomes a circus.” Well folks…

  • Barb Schramm
    Posted at 03:53h, 03 July

    The debate was disturbing. Trump never actually answered a question. He just puked out his usual unintelligible words. Not answering test questions = F for FAIL. Unfortunatly, Biden got pulled into Trumps trash talk muck and got stuck. Trumps meaness, cruelty, and disrespect was just plain GROSS. I had hopes that Biden could let the taunts roll off his back, but instead his responding to Trumps baiting was sad.