Inside the Beltway: Trump and Biden: The 2024 mystery begins
NEWS AND OPINION:
President Biden had only been in office 65 days when the adoring news media mulled over the future possibilities.
The news rattled through the press. Pollsters stepped up with promising news that Mr. Biden’s approval was strong and sure.
By August, however, even CNN declared that the Biden thrill was gone and the honeymoon was over. COVID-19 woes, inflation and the indecorous U.S. exit from Afghanistan took their toll. The president’s approval ratings sank further — which brings us to November, when Mr. Biden only managed a scanty 38% approval in a USA Today/Suffolk University on Nov. 8.
Strategically friendly media is already stepping in though. A Washington Post headline declared Saturday that “Biden and aides tell allies he is running amid growing Democratic fears” — citing evidence from multiple sources.
“The message is aimed in part at tamping down the assumption among many Democrats that Biden may not seek reelection given his age and waning popularity, while also effectively freezing the field for Vice President Harris and other potential presidential hopefuls,” the Post said.
So political theater continues— fueled by conflicting press reports, speculation, wishful thinking and defensive posturing alike. Then there is the consummate unknown factor. Former President Donald Trump has teased the idea for weeks that he was interested in a repeat run.
“Trump strongly hints at a 2024 run as multiple polls show him beating Biden,” noted Newsweek on Saturday, even as a new Marquette University Law School poll found that 60% of Republicans favored Mr. Trump pursuing a second term.
Which leaves us with a classic cliffhanger, with many voters wondering if mere political theater will soon turn into serious political sport.
WINSOME SEARS, BEN CARSON
An interview of note for Monday: Sinclair Broadcast Group syndicated host and columnist Armstrong Williams will sit down with Virginia Lieutenant Governor-elect Winsome Sears and former secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson.
The discussion will center on Ms. Winsome’s historic victory in the November election, the future of conservatism and the Republican Party.
“Both Sears and Carson have been groundbreaking in their respective fields, each offering something unique to the pantheon of politics. In addition to discussing Winsome’s historic victory, Armstrong will discuss with both Winsome and Carson culturally and politically relevant topics such as race and how both political parties have handled the issue,” advises advance production notes.
THE ‘BIG TURNOFF’
“Independents’ faith in Americans’ voting choices is in a dismal place after the 2020 election, much more pessimistic than the way Democrats or Republicans feel,” says a new Axios-Ipsos poll of 1,273 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 3-14.
“The historically bitter fight between Donald Trump and Joe Biden energized the most partisan voters, but it was a big turnoff to those whose views may align with one major party or the other but who don’t claim allegiance to either,” noted an analysis of the findings.
The poll found that 37% of independents say they have confidence in the wisdom of the American people’s choices on election day, compared to 48% of Democrats and 46% of Republicans.
“Only Democrats gained some confidence after the 2020 election Among the minority of people who say they don’t bother to vote in elections because there won’t be any changes that make their lives better, independents were the only group that saw a significant jump — from 11% in 2019 to 16% now,” the analysis said.
TUCKER CARLSON, KYLE RITTENHOUSE
Fox News prime-time host Tucker Carlson will present an exclusive interview with Kyle Rittenhouse, who was acquitted Friday of all charges in the shooting of three men during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin last year. A portion of the interview will air on Monday at 8 p.m.
The network has already promoted the interview by airing a brief video clip from the exchange Friday night.
“The jury reached the correct verdict. Self-defense is not illegal. I believe they came to the correct verdict and I’m glad that everything went well. It’s been a rough journey but we made it through it. We made it through the hard part,” Mr. Rittenhouse says in the clip.
Fox Nation, the network’s on-demand video streaming service, will also feature a documentary on the case in December which will include additional segments from the interview.
For those now planning their Thanksgiving feast, the Food Network is offering 102 side dish recipes. Among the choices: Brussel sprouts with bacon, Whiskey glazed sweet potatoes, Caramelized vidalia onion and potato gratin with fresh sage, Roasted sweet potatoes with honey and cinnamon; Southern baked mac and cheese, Loaded baked potato casserole and Cinnamon apple cranberry sauce. First lady Jill Biden has also shared a family recipe while White House Executive Pastry Chef Susie Morrison revealed the secrets behind White House Apple Crisp — which uses Honey Crisp apples, by the way. Find all this at FoodNetwork.com.
POLL DU JOUR
• 59% of U.S. voters agree that “people like me will end up paying” for President Biden’s trillion-dollar social spending plan; 84% of Republicans, 60% of independents and 32% of Democrats agree.
• 83% of those who voted for Donald Trump and 35% of those who voted for Joseph R. Biden in 2020 also agree.
• 32% of voters overall believe the wealthy will pay for the plan through “increased taxes”; 11% of Republicans, 23% of independents and 56% of Democrats agree.
• 11% of Trump voters and 54% of Biden voters also agree.
• 10% of voters overall don’t know who will pay for the plan; 5% of Republicans, 17% of independents and 12% of Democrats agree.
• 6% of Trump voters and 11% of Biden voters also agree.
Source: A Fox News poll of 1,003 registered U.S. voters conducted Nov. 14-17.
• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter at @HarperBulletin.