Biden Has A Voter Apathy Problem. Dumping On Protesters Won’t Help.

Most Americans aren't happy with their choices for president, but Biden's going to need to do more than just be the "I'm not as bad as the other guy" candidate.
President Joe Biden speaks Thursday at the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum in Syracuse, New York, about how his policies have boosted the economy and created jobs.
President Joe Biden speaks Thursday at the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum in Syracuse, New York, about how his policies have boosted the economy and created jobs.

Sometimes I wonder if Democrats are intentionally trying to blow the next election.

In a recent interview on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered a flippant response to a problem President Joe Biden is facing in the looming presidential election.

“It’s Biden versus Trump. We know that,” Fallon said. “What do you say to voters who are upset that those are the two choices?”

“Get over yourself. Those are the two choices,” Clinton said. “It’s kind of like, one is old, and effective, and compassionate, has a heart and really cares about people. And one is old and has been charged with 91 felonies.”

As she continued, I was reminded once again how even if former FBI Director James Comey were largely responsible for her election loss to Donald Trump in 2016, she ignored calls back then about her own troubles reaching the voters she needed to win.

“I don’t understand why this is even a hard choice, really,” Clinton said. “I don’t understand it. But we have to go through the election, and hopefully people will realize what’s at stake because it’s an existential question. What kind of country are we going to have? What kind of democracy are we going to have?”

“People who blow that off are not paying attention, because it’s not like Trump, his enablers, his empowerers, his allies are not telling us what they want to do. I mean, they’re pretty clear about what kind of country they want.”

I can’t believe the next sentence I’m about to write, but Stephen A. Smith provided one of the better responses to Clinton’s lecturing.

“I don’t think it was a very wise statement on her part,” Smith explained in a CNN interview. “How did that work out for her in 2016? I think that’s something that we have to recognize. Yeah, she won the popular vote. But at the end of the day, she wasn’t the president of the United States. It was [Trump].”

He was also correct in asserting that “the last thing you need to do is to do anything that could agitate a potential voter in this particular election.”

Most Americans are indeed dissatisfied with their choices for president in the looming 2024 election, but say what you will about Trump, he at least has a personality cult to count on.

By contrast, Biden needs a coalition that includes a significant number of non-white voters, young voters and just enough white people who think the presentation of Trump’s various strains of bigotry are just too loud and tacky for their taste to win.

Though I have noticed the polls are tightening if not tilting in Biden’s favor and Trump is already seemingly flopping in his first criminal trial, the president nonetheless has noticeable problems with young Black male voters and younger voters more broadly.

With the younger Black men, I would imagine that has a lot to do with our current fragmented ecosystem and how conservatives have, sadly but shrewdly, focused on Black men more than have Democrats.

That’s how you get DJ Akademiks being paid handsomely to stream on Rumble to play Drake’s diss record one day and interview Donald Trump Jr. to talk Diddy and Kim Porter next or Candace Owens showing up on “The Breakfast Club.” Gone are the days when a Black celebrity being a Trump booster might ruin their livelihood.

I’m part of the problem because, as disappointed as I am with Sexyy Red’s professions of love for Trump, I’m not going to stop playing “Get It Sexyy.”

I have written for years that Democrats have wasted precious time not asking their rich supporters to buy local and national TV stations and listen to people like Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and update their digital operations.

It’s their fault for not listening.

Then there is the matter of how Democrats are handling protesters.

Recently, some Democrats shamefully joined a Republican-led effort in the California State Legislature to double the fines for protesters.

These Democrats in what’s purportedly the most liberal state in all the nation want to make it harder for folks to protest massive death because they’re tired of their commute being disrupted.

Even more disturbing is how college students are being treated on campuses across the country for protesting the mass killing of civilians in Gaza.

I shouldn’t be seeing college students and journalists slammed to the ground in New York, California and Texas. I shouldn’t be reading about threats to call the National Guard to remove students who pay tens of thousands of dollars each year to be on that campus. Political protest should be encouraged, not criminalized.

After an Earth Day event in northern Virginia, Biden was asked by a reporter about the demonstrations in support of Palestinian civilians that were taking place at Columbia University, among others nationwide.

“I condemn the antisemitic protests,” Biden told reporters.

“That’s why I’ve set up a program to deal with that. I also condemn those who don’t understand what’s going on with the Palestinians.”

Before he could finish, another reporter cut off Biden before he could finish his sentence.

I’m not sure if he needed to finish his thought, though. Nothing will change until the war ends.

I wish some reporter had cut off Nancy Pelosi from once again alleging that the Kremlin is playing a role in the protests. The California Democrat, and past House speaker, sounds goofy and detached when she talks about a “Russian-tinge to it” with respect to young folks being upset about massive civilian casualties.

Hillary Clinton is right to say that Republicans are telling us directly that they find democracy a useful construct in their pursuit of power, but the same might be said of some Democrats.

For a president and a party positioning itself as the only haven from Trump and the GOP’s toppling of American democracy, they have a funny way of showing it in how they are handling the treatment of political protesters.

There is a palpable anger among the electorate about a litany of problems plaguing Americans, but with regard to these specific issues, at one point will more people in government and the media recognize that the view of these college kids is now held by a majority of Americans?

The summer preceding the 2020 presidential election produced the Black Lives Matter protests, considered the largest social movement in American history, in the wake of the May 25 police murder of George Floyd. The movement undoubtedly benefited Democrats that November.

Yet they didn’t provide legislation to stop police brutality, and years later Democrats are discouraging political dissent while saying little about how law enforcement is treating students who are exercising their right to protest.

This does not inspire voters who are justifiably apathetic about the system failing them to come vote for Biden in order to “save democracy.”

Perhaps Trump’s apparent increased support among young voters, which has been showing up in polling, is a mirage, but Trump should not have young voters believing he is the answer to their economic sorrows or their war-weary woes all the same.

Young voters, especially young Black men, may not show up for Trump, but right now it’s hard to see them running out to vote for Biden either.

What I can see, though, is August’s Democratic National Convention in Chicago and its cheers of “Four more years!” being loudly drowned out.

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