The Republican party has a steep uphill battle for the 2024 presidential elections. The footprint that Trump has left will be hard to erase. That’s how toxic it has been. The fact that Trump is still in the running for the nomination is baffling, but that’s clear evidence of how confused the party is. Immigration is the central issue. Trump seized on it to rally support but couldn’t come up with an answer to the problem. Immigration needs limits. Enforceable limits. We need borders and the means to sustain them. But we can’t do without immigration. The faction of the Republican party who wants to severely restrict immigration would cripple the nation if they had their say. It is true that we need to bolster the opportunities for advancement for Americans now in the lower earning rungs of our society, but we still need to keep open the doors for qualified immigrants to come to this country. This is our advantage over China and Russia. They are closed off to immigration. That is hurting them. The force that immigration is has a transformative effect on any nation. And it is overwhelmingly a positive one. Europe has been struggling with immigration for years and, to their credit, they’re still at it. China and Russia just choose not to deal with the problem. And it is their loss. Looking at the Republican field for the nomination for president, I see little to suggest that a Republican candidate can go up successfully against Biden, if he chooses to run, or another democratic candidate, say Harris or Newsom. Republican candidates are failing on the issues. Overturning Roe vs Wade will do little to invigorate the party. The majority of American women want to keep their right to choose. Had Trump been elected instead of Biden, Putin would by now have annexed Ukraine and invited Trump to the ceremonies. In the press conference that would have followed, Trump would have been asked by a reporter if he thought Putin had the right to take over Ukraine, and Trump would have said, ‘I don’t see why not, he was feeling encircled by NATO. We need to give him his space.’ And then Putin would have walked over and handed him a Cossack hat, as a tribute to his far reaching understanding of how the world works. And Trump would have put it on. Then said, ‘Look, Russia is a great country, and they need their space. By not arming the resistance in Ukraine we have saved many lives, and America’s closer ties with Russia will help us deal with the menace of China.’ Putin would have smiled and thought to himself, ‘We need to get this guy reelected a third term.’ Trump and freedom don’t mix. His legacy of obscurantism will last for some years. Still, there are enlightened sectors in the Republican party who might push forward a sane candidate to run against the democrats. I think that candidate would be John Kasich.
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There are those who criticize him just because of his age. Those who do are envious of the man. For there he is, at 79, leading our nation and doing it well. The skeptics think he won’t last, that he is on the verge of falling apart any moment. But he keeps proving them wrong. Talk has begun about whether he should run again when his term is up. Born on Nov 20 1942, he would be 82 if he were to start a second term. Is that too old to be president? Why not wait for Biden, himself, to tell us? We all age differently, and given his stellar performance, he’s earned the right to tell us whether he feels up to running again. Biden should be judged on his record, not on his age. A man in his position is being scrutinized constantly. We should trust that his team, all those around him, including Jill Biden, would be the first to notice instances of dysfunction that would affect his judgment. Would that team, in the interest of preserving their jobs, be inclined to cover up signs of dysfunction? It’s possible but I don’t think likely. There are two reasons for that: One, that the team is aware of the responsibility to the nation and two, with the public exposure presidents have, any deficit would be hard to hide. Biden is a little over a year and a half into his term. Who’s to say that he won’t become more and more effective as time goes on, with all of us benefitting? He has earned the respect of world leaders for his admirable leadership of the western alliance in confronting Putin. That ordeal is far from over and I don’t doubt that, if he remains in good health, he will continue to deal effectively with whatever comes his way. If we trust his integrity, as I do, why wouldn’t he, or his wife, be the first to tell us, ‘I don’t think I’m up for the job anymore. Thank you for the privilege of leading our nation, but I now must let another person take over.’ Joe Biden would do that. You either believe it or not. I do. As a nation we stand to gain a great deal by trusting that some men have the maturity and wisdom to know their limitations. We are watching, of course, as we should. The more we see of Biden governing, the more glaring the difference with his predecessor. Which is why I think that, as sanity returns to the Republican party, the more remote becomes the possibility that Trump will be nominated again. And Biden would more than stand his ground against any other Republican candidate, man or woman, young or old. Age should not keep us from having Biden run again. Our gauge should be his performance. On that count, he is paving the way for his reelection. In any event, should he choose not to run, for whatever reason, the party has plenty talent ready to step up.
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He riled up Republicans in 2016 with a promise of remaking their world. But he couldn’t deliver. He had overpromised. Rather than speak to his supporters and tone down their expectations, he kept up with the unrealistic notions. Tweeting was a way of avoiding the reflection necessary to engage in a dialogue with the opposition. But he couldn’t muster the political courage. So he tweeted some more. Maybe he reasoned that keeping his followers entertained would suffice. It didn’t. The famous Wall was a distraction. It never got built, but there are patches of it, here and there, like relics in a battlefield. Make America Great Again was a bust In this age of growing interdependence you need allies. But he couldn’t muster the discipline and forethought. Still he kept stirring up partisanship, fostering divisions amongst Americans and eluding the dialogue that sits at the center of any attempt to build bridges amongst ourselves. In foreign policy he could not stand up to Putin. He could not say to the Russian dictator ‘do not meddle in our elections.’ And so Trump’s character flaws mounted and mounted. There was that one time when a female staffer in his administration had quit and then criticized him. He answered by calling her ‘a dog’. And then, to crown his history of misjudgments, he incites a crowd to march on Capitol Hill on January 6th. Testimony emerged during the congressional hearings on the matter that he wanted to personally lead the assault on the capitol, to disrupt the electoral ballot counting. His own staff had urged him to not proceed with his intentions. He even tried to coerce his vehicle’s driver to take him there. But the man objected. In the end, he had to accept that his administration had been a failure. But it’s been rough getting there. He may have started to accept reality but a side of his still fights it. Most painful of all was that he had a chance to make a difference but he botched it. He has trouble living with that. In the face of events, sane Republicans recognize what a disaster Trump has been for the party. But it will take time to process. They are now looking in the mirror and acknowledging that they did elect him and cheered him on. Eventually, those sane Republicans will find their truth and Trump will not get the nomination for president he still hopes for. His time has passed and he has to live with his lament, the opportunity to lead that was botched and botched badly, because he dared not think of all Americans. Sadly, he will go down as the worst Republican president ever. He knows it and it hurts. Sane Republicans’ reckoning with themselves will require time, time to relearn to trust their judgment, which is why I believe they will not win the next presidential election. If Biden chooses not to run, that election will belong to a woman, and the woman will be from the democratic party. Maybe it will be Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar or Cortez Masto, or another person yet to emerge. And history will move us on.
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